In a fascinating challenge to the establishment, the Swedish Pirate Party will be fielding 20 candidates in this summer’s European elections. The controversial party is running on the platform that the restrictive laws concerning copyrighted and patented material are creating a negative environment of citizen monitoring.
Christian Engstrom, the primary candidate for the party, told the Politiken newspaper “If the politicians want to prevent ordinary citizens from sharing films, music and other forms of culture, they have to constantly expand the ability to monitor – because as soon as the authorities close down one culture-sharing facility, another pops up very quickly.”
Engstrom feels this monitoring has already exceeded public limits, adding: “There is a law on the way in Sweden which is already in force in Denmark. Rights owners to a film, for example, can demand the name of the person who pays for an internet connection if they are able to track a person uploading or downloading films illegally.”
In 2006, the Pirate Party fought the national election, but gained just 0.63 percent of the votes. The party does not want to terminate all forms of copyright, just categorise them between commercial and non-commercial use. But it knows the battle will be fought and decided in the European arena, and is ready for the fight.