The Pirate Party political movement owes its early success to sticking up for The Pirate Bay, following a raid in Sweden. In recent years Pirates have delivered many excellent politicians and Marcel Kolaja, one of the new MEPs, has just been elected as a
Vice-President of the EU Parliament.
4 Pirate MEPS were elected at the last European Election with one from Germany and three from the Czech Republic.
During the last term, the excellent Julia Reda was at the forefront of many lawmaking
discussions, particularly with regard to the new Copyright Directive. While Reda recently left Parliament, the new MEPs obviously have similar ambitions.
With 426 votes, Marcel Kolaja was elected with an absolute majority in the second voting
round. He will serve as one of the fourteen Vice-Presidents tasked with replacing the President as chair of the plenary if needed, as well as a variety of other tasks.
For the first time in history, a Pirate Party has managed to enter a state parliament. With an estimated 9% of the total vote the Pirate Party exceeded the 5% floor needed to enter the Berlin parliament with several seats. For the international Pirate
Party movement this is the second major success after the European elections of 2009.
9% of the votes will translate into 15 parliamentary seats.
The initial results show that the Pirates received the most support from younger voters. 15%
of people under 30 voted for the Pirate Party, but even among voters aged 60 years and up, a few percent voted for the Pirates.
TorrentFreak asked Sebastian Nerz, Chairman of the German Pirate Party, what this success means for the party. He told
us that due to an increase in funds and influence the Pirate Party will have a greater chance to make its mark.
At the moment the Pirate Party of Germany does not have any paid employees, Nerz says. Everyone working for the party --
including myself -- is working in an honorary capacity. In contrast, Members of Parliament are paid for their work. In addition they receive state money to pay for assistents and co-workers. This will enable those Pirates to work full-time for the party,
thus giving us much more work force.
Another very important benefit is, that citizens and media are taking parties with access to the parliament much more seriously. A number of times I've heard, Your party is not relevant because it
does not have members of parliament. Following this weekend's successes, in this respect the party's position will be greatly improved.
In addition the Pirate Party expects that their heightened profile will lead to an increase in
members and more people working for the party. As for the party's ideals, they want to be as transparent as possible, secure the privacy of citizens, abolish patents and limit the ever growing control of copyright exploiting organizations.
Andrew Robinson has resigned from his position as the leader of the UK's Pirate Party, slightly over a year since the party was founded and in the wake of relatively weak results in 2010's general election.
He made the announcement in a blog
post listing the achievements of the party over the last year, including an invitation from OfCom to work with them on the implementation of the Digital Economy Act, and formation of a political party from what began as a subforum of Pirate Party
The party stands for three main issues: significant reform of copyright and patent law including the legalisation of non-commercial filesharing, increased privacy and reduced surveillance from both the government and
businesses, and a guarantee of free speech for everyone.
In a blog post, Robinson said: When the party started out we needed someone who was prepared to do everything that wasn't being done by someone else, and to be a peacemaker between
different internal factions. Now we need a leader who can consolidate on the work we've done so far, and do a job that involves a lot more dealing with the media and talking to the membership on the forums, and a lot less time smoothing out internal
management issues, designing adverts, sourcing suppliers and so on.
The party has now opened up nominations for the position on its messageboard.
A Norwegian court has rejected a record industry appeal against telecoms operator Telenor for refusing to block access to popular file sharing website The Pirate Bay, a plaintiff has said.
The Oslo court of appeal said that it is not currently
possible, under Norwegian law, for a judge to order an Internet service provider to halt traffic to websites from which illegal downloading happens.
In the spirit of the law on intellectual property, Telenor does not contribute to behaviour
that is reprehensible or could be subject to awarding compensation by letting its customers access The Pirate Bay.
Before the case was first heard in November last year, Telenor argued that it refused to implement what it called censorship:
You cannot sue a ladder manufacturer because someone used one of his ladders to commit a burglary, Atle Lessum, a spokesman for Telenor, told the newspaper Verdens Gang before the hearing.
Following a lengthy legal procedure the Court of Bergamo has once again ruled that Italian ISPs have to censor their networks and prevent customer access to The Pirate Bay.
Millions of Italian Internet users will be denied access to the
popular torrent site in an attempt to prevent copyright infringement.
The Pirate Bay was first censored in Italy in the summer of 2008, when ISPs were ordered to prevent millions of Italians from accessing the world's largest BitTorrent
The Pirate Bay chose to appeal the decision and eventually won the court case. The Court of Bergamo ruled that no foreign website can be censored for alleged copyright infringement and the block was lifted temporarily as the case was
appealed once again.
A few weeks ago the Supreme Court reviewed the case and ruled that ISPs can be forced to block BitTorrent sites, even if they are not hosted in Italy or operated by Italian citizens. According to the decision by the Supreme
Court, sites offering torrent files that link to copyrighted material are engaging in criminal activity.
This week the case once again appeared before the Court of Bergamo where it was decided that all Italian ISPs will have to deny their
customers access to The Pirate Bay.
According to their lawyers The Pirate Bay is still considering whether to appeal this decision or not. Aside from appealing to the Supreme Court, the Pirate Bay's legal team is also considering bringing the case
before the European Court of Justice.
The Pirate Bay team has announced that the world's largest BitTorrent tracker is shutting down for good. Although the site will remain operational for now, millions of BitTorrent users will lose the use of its tracker and will instead have to rely on
DHT and alternative trackers to continue downloading.
In the fall of 2003, a group of friends from Sweden decided to launch a BitTorrent tracker named The Pirate Bay . It soon became one of the largest BitTorrent trackers on the Internet,
coordinating the downloads of more than 25 million peers at its height.
Now that the decentralized system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down! It's the
end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well, the Pirate Bay crew write on their blog.
Norwegian ISP Telenor and other ISPs shouldn't be forced to decide which sites or services should be blocked, that only authorities can make that determination.
A Norwegian District Court ruled in favor of ISP Telenor recently in its battle with
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the Norwegian videogram association (Norsk Videogramforening) and the Norwegian Film Distributors Association over demands that it prevent customers from accessing Swedish BitTorrent tracker
site The Pirate Bay.
The Court ruled that Telenor is not illegally contributing to any copyright violations by The Pirate Bay and that there is subsequently no legal basis for forcing it to block the site.
Telenor and other Internet
providers, including private companies, may have to do an evaluation on whether an Internet page or service shall be blocked or not, reads the ruling. This is an evaluation normally assigned to the authorities, and in the court's view, today's
situation makes it unnatural to assign such responsibility to private companies.
Telenor believes that the best way of ensuring sustainable revenues for copyright holders is to develop business models and services that make websites like The
Pirate Bay less attractive.
The Stockholm District Court has taken action against two founder members of The Pirate Bay. Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij are now banned from operating the site and will have to pay fines of $71,000 each if they continue.
This, despite the
fact that they nor the site remain in Sweden.
In August the bandwidth supplier to The Pirate Bay was ordered by a court to disconnect the world's largest BitTorrent tracker from the Internet. Within hours the site had relocated to a new host,
which immediately received similar threats. After periods of downtime, the Pirate Bay eventually regained stability in recent days. Although these attempts failed, the authorities weren't about to give up in their quest to shut down the site.
Ex-Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde, who appears to be excluded from the decision, is notably annoyed, noting that neither the founders nor the site are located in Sweden. He argues that the Swedish court has no jurisdiction in this case:
Frederick and Godfrid live outside Sweden, even outside the EU. The Pirate Bay is outside the EU, he told SR earlier today: How then can the Stockholm District Court, Sweden, get to decide that people abroad must not work on a site in another
Another issue that complicates the ruling is that it is pretty much impossible to check whether or not Fredrik and Gottfrid are complying to the demands. Thus far the Pirate Bay website is still up and running and the two founders are
not essential to keep it that way.
The Pirate Party has opened up a branch in Australia and plans to contest the next federal election.
The party, which will campaign on a platform of anti-internet censorship and the decriminalisation of non-commercial file sharing, has already
signed up 550 members, enough for it to register as a party with the Australian Electoral Commission.
It plans to hold internal elections for leadership positions - president, general secretary, treasurer and their deputies - on October 7.
But party spokesman Brendan Molloy was quick to point out that free file sharing was only one aspect of the overall mission, which was to
bolster our nation's Democratic conventions . We've here to actively change the landscape of Australian politics forever, by advocating freer copyright and protection of our civil liberties, especially against [Communications Minister Stephen]
Conroy's censorship regime, which is not welcome in Australia.
We also have a strong stance for the reform of the patent system to be much fairer, especially in regards to pharmaceuticals and software.
The party has branches in
35 countries and they all co-operate via a collective called Pirate Party International.
The Australian branch is headed by a University of Sydney law student, Rodney Sarkowsky.
New Pirate Parties are popping up all around the world, putting copyright, censorship and privacy issues on the political agenda. The Canadian Pirate Party is eager to join in. They are currently seeking federal approval and need just a few more
members to become registered as an official political party.
In Canada the Pirate Party is currently trying to get federal approval, in order to become recognized as an official party and get involved in Canadian politics. The goal is to gain
at least one seat in Parliament, Pirate Party spokesman Jake Daynes told TorrentFreak.
As soon as the party is officially registered with Elections Canada, we hope to gain a bit more of the mainstream media's attention; let Canadians know
we are out there and build a community, Jake added.
Among other things the Canadian Pirates will push for copyright and patent reform, Net Neutrality and freedom of culture, Jake said.
Canadians interested in helping the party to get
federal approval should fill out the membership form listed on the site and send it in. The Pirates need another 140 paper forms (how old-fashioned) to be sent in to get approval from the authorities.
Sweden's Pirate Party, which wants an internet file sharing free-for-all, is one of the surprise entrants to the European Parliament after winning 7.4% of the vote.
The party, which also wants to beef up internet privacy, was founded in January
2006 and quickly attracted members angered by Swedish laws that criminalise file sharing and authorise the monitoring of e-mails. Its membership shot up after a court in Stockholm sentenced four men in April to a year in jail for running one of the
world's biggest file sharing sites, the Pirate Bay. Voters had their revenge last night by electing at least one of the Pirate Party as an MEP.
They have been very lucky because the Pirate Bay verdict came at the same time as the start of the
election campaign, but I think the Pirate Party had the potential to grow anyway, said Ulf Bjereld, a political scientist at Gothenburg University: The Pirate Party has taken advantage of a new cleavage in Swedish politics, about civil liberties,
about who should have the right to decide over knowledge, and that's not a left-right cleavage. The traditional parties have been sleeping, they have underestimated the political potential in these issues.