Across Europe people have been voting in the European Parliamentary elections, and it looks likely that a pirate or two will have got elected in Sweden.
I voted nice and early this morning, with candidates representing the three main political parties here in the UK as well as a rather long list of somewhat oddball ones representing many diverse religious and political viewpoints. However, there were no pirates on the ballot paper. But that is only because I do not live in Sweden where the Pirate Party has been gathering momentum during the last month.
The Swedish Pirate Party is expected to do well enough to win at least one seat when the votes are counted, which is pretty impressive for a political party that was only founded three years ago and stands on a platform championing better privacy for Internet users in the face of entertainment industry moves to clamp down on illegal file sharing with laws such as the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive. It is believed that as many as ten percent of Swedes use peer-to-peer services for sharing copyrighted music and videos.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, membership and support have been bolstered tremendously by the April 17th court verdict that found the Pirate Bay founders guilty and imposed a large fine along with prison time for their part in aiding the illegal sharing of copyright material. In order to win a seat at the European Parliament, the Pirate Party would need something above 4 percent of the vote. Opinion polls are showing it to have twice that.
I guess anything that helps get the younger generation interested in politics and actually out there at the ballot box has got to be a good thing, although I am not sure that the Swedish authorities will see it quite in that light if Sweden does send a pirate or two to Parliament.