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Archived updates for Friday, August 18, 2006

TGIF for Pirate Parties

The Pirate Party wants to "fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected. With this agenda, and only this, [they] are making a bid for representation in the Swedish parliament in the upcoming national elections in September." They currently have 8136 members, a Declaration of Principles, and a proposal for an alternative to pharmaceutical patents.

According to Wikipedia, the party was initially against trademark rights, but did an about-face in that question when the first party programme was accepted. It also contained changes to what the party thought about copyright and patent, amongst others. After around a month of existence, the party had gained 900 members, paying the membership fee of 5 Swedish kronor (approx. US$0.65, c.2006), payable by SMS. The current board of the party consists of Rickard Falkvinge (founder), Christian Engström, Fredrike Lantz, Balder Lingegård, Mika Sjöman, and Joakim Lundborg. Former board members include Mikael Viborg (known as the legal adviser of the BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay).

The Green Party, the Moderate Party and the Left Party all changed their policies on copyright to prevent losing votes to the Pirate Party.[4][5] It was also announced by the Minister for Justice, Thomas Bodström on June 9 that he was willing to negotiate a possible revision of the law introduced in 2005 that made unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material illegal (before that only uploading was illegal), introducing a new tax on broadband Internet access.[6] The response from the Pirate Party was negative, claiming that such a law is not an acceptable solution and that current politicians still have not grasped the issue.[7]

Officially registered pirate parties are also reported to exist in Spain and Austria, while those in the USA, France, Germany, Poland, Italy and Belgium are "currently unregistered, but active." Additionally, there are discussions on Pirate Party International about forming parties in the Netherlands, Brazil, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Thank Goodness It's Friday,

--Bill Heinze
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