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Keep Sweden's Pirate party at bay | Helienne Lindvall | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

It's been two weeks since the people behind the Pirate Bay were convicted of facilitating illegal filesharing in the Swedish courts, and were sentenced to a year in jail and a $3.6m fine. Since then, the Swedish Pirate party has reported that it has more than doubled its membership to more than 30,000 - and its youth party is, it says, now the biggest of any party's in Sweden. But who are they and why should we care?

I've had a look at the manifesto published on their site, and it makes for interesting reading. "Private monopoly is one of society's most dangerous enemies," it says. "Patent is an officially sanctioned monopoly on ideas." Hence, they say, they want to abolish patents - in particular for pharmaceuticals.

They also want to change the copyright laws so that it only applies to commercial use - which makes their support for Pirate Bay a bit confusing, since it is an ad-funded venture that also charges users €5 a month to stay anonymous when uploading copyrighted material. It also begs the question: is using music for political propaganda considered commercial use, since it's not, in effect, a money making scheme? According to the Pirate party's manifesto, copyright for commercial use should last for only five years and DRM (digital rights management) should be forbidden.

by Fran on Sat May 2nd, 2009 at 12:16:13 PM EST
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