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Sweden's Christian Engstrom and his Pirate Party have scored a seat on the European Parliament. The party's stated objective is to abolish copyright, patents, and internet monitoring.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
This development should help spice up boring Parliament sessions

Not only is Sweden home to the world's largest Torrent site (despite its recent legal woes), pirates in the country also have their own political party, aptly titled the Pirate Party.  The party lists deregulating copyright, abolishing the patent system, and reducing surveillance on the internet as some of its objectives.

Late last week, Europe held election for the European Parliament, the legislative branch of the European Union.  The Pirate Party apparently appealed to Swedish voters, as it scored 7.1 percent of the vote, enough to snag a nice bounty -- a seat in the Parliament.

Christian Engstrom, the party's top candidate, cheered the news, stating, "This is fantastic!  This shows that there are a lot of people who think that personal integrity is important and that it matters that we deal with the Internet and the new information society in the right way."

Ironically, reports are indicating that it was the conviction of the leaders of Swedish torrent site the Pirate Bay that catapulted the party into the public eye.  The ringleaders of the site were sentence to a year in jail and over $3M USD in fines; however, it was later revealed that the judge on the case was a member of copyright protection organizations and should have recused himself.  An appeal is ongoing.

The site and the party are not officially linked.  However, the two entities share similar philosophical views on many topics.  The Pirate Party was founded in 2006 and had in the past received less than 1 percent of the vote.

Sweden has 18 seats on the EU's 785-seat Parliament.  While the single Pirate seat will be unlikely to be able to enact sweeping change, party leaders believe it will give the party a voice and means to fight decisions it views as corrupt.

Mr. Engstrom thanks younger voters for the election success, saying, "We are very strong among those under 30. They are the ones who understand the new world the best. And they have now signaled they don't like how the big parties deal with these issues.  We will use all of our strength to defend personal integrity and our civil rights."

There have been attempts to launch a similar Pirate Party in the U.S., but they have thus far gained little traction.

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RE: Further more...
By MrBlastman on 6/8/2009 11:09:55 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention individual citizens who come up with ideas on their own time. The last thing you want to see is a person spending all their personal savings to come up with something and invent it - only to see it all pissed down the drain because some large corporation decided to steal their idea and profit off of it due to their superior economies of scale.

Reform the laws if needed, but by all means do not abolish them. While there is a tremendous open source movement for software (especially in Europe) the sad fact is we all still have to work for a living and until an economic and sustenance system is in place which negates the need for currency, individual ideas should have some form of protection so they can make money off of them. This isn't a world of free peace and love with hippies everywhere. It is a savage pack of animals trying to eat each other.

RE: Further more...
By barrychuck on 6/8/2009 12:18:48 PM , Rating: 3
Your idea of how the system works is poetic. Unfortunatley, that scenario doesn't happen. Average Joe is not goign to patent some "new" great idea. He searches the existing patents and comes up with a wording that is a hybrid of existing ideas. He pays his fees, and gets an obscure BS patent. He then does nothing to develop a product or market it. Company A is in the business of making high tech products. They spend thousands of dollars and employ lots of engineers, and change a product to compete in the market based on market research. In the background, the engineers develop the technical means for the product to function which just so happens to be somewhat related to the patent Joe put in. The engineers never saw any of Joe's work. Joe didn't help them in any way. The widget created is hugely successful and so much so, it open a whole new market and other companies now compete with widgets. Joe now gets a high priced lawyer and sues all three companies making widgets. Again Joe is not an engineer, and did not expend any money developing his patent, other than the fees. His patent was based on previous patent searches with enough wording change to be granted his own BS patent.

Tell me again how this helps out the general public? Other than the lawyer and Joe, we all lost money.

Do I need to even mention the patent on the FAT filesystem. I seem to remember just about everyone being sued that made mp3 players,GPS, cameras, etc, becuase they used fat on the flash memory so a computer could read the data back off. Creative and apple get around this by using proprietay file systems.

Patents are the legal way of stealing from you and me.

RE: Further more...
By MrBlastman on 6/8/2009 12:35:03 PM , Rating: 1
Your sardonic view of copyright and patents is quite troubling. With your modus, it would perhaps lead me to assume you are in complete favor of the abolishment of all these protections outright.

That is a rather extreme viewpoint, don't you agree? Most probably not. Your world view is clear when you state "how this helps out the general public," however, you fail to see the true aim of these protections.

They are not to protect the public, our government is not the people's keeper nor should the system dictate a pure utopia. No, these laws are to protect intellectual property so those whom created the ideas receive the opportunity to profit off of them as they deserve.

There will always be unscrupulous miscreants whom try to abuse the system (SCO anyone?), the fact is quite simple and the question asked quite direct:

Would you rather there be ZERO protections to negate any and all shenanigans thus affording no protection to any ideas and pitting all creations as public domain?

Please fancy me your enlightenment further and shower us with an elaborate excuse for destroying all protections that fertilize creativity - thus creating a world where people are too afraid to spend time and money on anything simply because their ideas will be stolen by someone else who can profit off of it better.

What a blissful utopia that would be, now wouldn't it?

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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