The UK now has its own anti-patent and pro-file-sharing party which has its sights set on Parliamentary seats
Following the success of the Swedish Pirate Party in the recent European elections, the international group which campaigns against excessive surveillance and restrictions on file-sharing has now registered in the UK.
In a statement this week, Pirate Party UK announced that it had been registered as a UK political party and will have candidates ready to stand at the next general election. So far the party appears to consist of little more than some founding members and a web presence but it has ambitious plans to expand.
“Now the party can really start. It’s time for us to tell the world that we exist, to recruit members, raise funds and gear up to fight the General Election. The officers and web team have built the framework that the party needs to get going, now it’s time for you to make things happen,” the groups stated in a blog posting.
The party lists its three main aims as:
- Reform copyright and patent law. We want to legalise non-commercial file sharing and reduce the excessive length of copyright protection, while ensuring that when creative works are sold, it’s the artists who benefit, not monopoly rights holders. We want a patent system that doesn’t stifle innovation or make life saving drugs so expensive that patients die.
- End the excessive surveillance, profiling, tracking and monitoring of innocent people by Government and big businesses.
- Ensure that everyone has real freedom of speech and real freedom to enjoy and participate in our shared culture.
“Following on from the wildfire success of our sister parties in other countries, the Pirate Party UK offers a new way to tackle society’s problems, by releasing the potential of ideas, at the expense of corporate monopolies and the interests of a controlling state,” the group states.
Speaking to PC Pro this week, UK Pirate Party leader Andrew Robinson explained why the organisation has set-up a UK arm. “If you look at what’s proposed in the Digital Britain report, there’s a £50,000 fine for sharing files. There’s approximately 7 million file sharers in this country – you’re branding a huge percentage of this population criminals for doing something that doesn’t have any proven implications. It’s a ridiculous state of affairs,” he said.
In June, the Swedish Pirate Party won a seat in the EU parliament after winning more than 7 percent of the vote in the country’s European election – spurred in part by the recent controversy surrounding the prosecution of the founders of The Pirate Bay file-sharing website.
In a statement , Rick Falkvinge, chairman of the Piratpartiet said that the victory showed that there was support – particularly from young voters – for issues around digital freedom. “We have just written political history,” he said.”Politicians have learned that doing what the lobby asks will cost them their jobs. We’re the largest party in the segment below 30 years of age. That’s building the future of liberties.”
In April a Swedish court handed down a guilty verdict and a year in prison to all four defendants in a copyright test case involving The Pirate Bay. The four defendants are appealing the verdict.