Pirate Party is a label adopted by political parties in different countries. Pirate parties support civil rights, direct democracy and participation in government, reform of copyright and patent law, free sharing of knowledge (open content), information privacy, transparency, freedom of information, free speech, anti-corruption and net neutrality.
The first Pirate Party to be established was the Pirate Party of Sweden (Swedish: Piratpartiet), whose website was launched on 1 January 2006 by Rick Falkvinge. Falkvinge was inspired to found the party after he found that Swedish politicians were generally unresponsive to Sweden's debate over changes to copyright law in 2005.
The United States Pirate Party was founded on 6 June 2006 by University of Georgia graduate student Brent Allison. The party's concerns were abolishing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, reducing the length of copyrights from 95 years after publication or 70 years after the author's death to 14 years, and the expiry of patents that do not result in significant progress after four years, as opposed to 20 years. However, Allison stepped down as leader three days after founding the party.
The Pirate Party of Finland was founded in 2008 and entered the official registry of Finnish political parties in 2009.
The 2009 European Parliament election took place between the 4 and 7 June 2009, and various Pirate Parties stood candidates. The most success was had in Sweden, where the Pirate Party of Sweden won 7.1% of the vote, and had Christian Engström elected as the first ever Pirate Party Member of European Parliament (MEP). Following the introduction of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Pirate Party of Sweden were afforded another MEP in 2011, that being Amelia Andersdotter.
In April 2010, an international organisation to encourage cooperation and unity between Pirate Parties, Pirate Parties International, was founded in Belgium.
In the 2011 Berlin state election to the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin, the Pirate Party of Berlin (a state chapter of Pirate Party Germany) won 8.9% of the vote, which corresponded to winning 15 seats. John Naughton, writing for The Guardian, argued that the Pirate Party of Berlin's success could not be replicated by the Pirate Party UK, as the UK does not use a proportional representation electoral system.
In the 2013 Icelandic parliamentary election, the Icelandic Pirate Party won 5.1% of the vote, returning three Pirate Party Members of Parliament. Those were Birgitta Jónsdóttir for the Southwest Constituency, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson for Reykjavik Constituency North and Jón Þór Ólafsson for Reykjavik Constituency South. Birgitta had previously been an MP for the Citizens' Movement (from 2009 to 2013), representing Reykjavik Constituency South. As of 2015, it was the largest political party in Iceland, with 23.9% of the vote.
The 2014 European Parliament election took place between the 22 and 24 May. Julia Reda was at the top of the list for Pirate Party Germany, and was subsequently elected as the party received 1.45% of the vote. Other notable results include the Czech Pirate Party, who received 4.78% of the vote, meaning they were 0.22% off getting elected, the Pirate Party of Luxembourg, who received 4.23% of the vote, and the Pirate Party of Sweden, who received 2.19% of the vote, but lost both their MEPs.
Reda had previously worked as an assistant in the office of former Pirate Party MEP Amelia Andersdotter. On 11 June 2014, Reda was elected Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. Reda was given the job of copyright reform rapporteur.
The Icelandic Pirate Party was leading the national polls in March 2015, with 23.9%. The Independence Party polled 23.4%, only 0.5% behind the Pirate Party. According to the poll, the Pirate Party would win 16 seats in the Althing.
In April 2016, in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, polls showed the Icelandic Pirate Party at 43% and the Independence Party at 21.6%, although the Pirate Party eventually won 15% of the vote in the 29 October 2016 parliamentary election.
In April 2017, a group of students at University of California, Berkeley formed a Pirate Party to participate in the Associated Students of the University of California senate elections, winning the only third-party seat.
While parties vary insofar as specific policies go, common themes of the Pirate movement include:
- Defend the freedom of expression, communication, education; respect the privacy of citizens and civil rights in general.
- Defend the free flow of ideas, knowledge and culture.
- Support politically the reform of copyright and patent laws.
- Have a commitment to work collaboratively, and participate with maximum transparency.
- Do not support actions that involve violence.
- Use free software, free hardware, DIY and open protocols whenever possible.
- Politically defend an open, participative and collaborative construction of any public policy.
- Direct democracy/E-democracy
- Open access
- Open data
- Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing
Copyright and censorship
Some campaigns have included demands for the reform of copyright and patent laws. In 2010, Swedish MEP Christian Engström called for supporters of amendments to the Data Retention Directive to withdraw their signatures, citing a misleading campaign.
Pirate Parties International
Pirate Parties International (PPI) is the umbrella organization of the national Pirate Parties. Since 2006, the organization has existed as a loose union of the national parties. Since October 2009, Pirate Parties International has had the status of a non-governmental organization (Feitelijke vereniging) based in Belgium. The organization was officially founded at a conference from 16 to 18 April 2010 in Brussels, when the organization's statutes were adopted by the 22 national pirate parties represented at the event.
European Pirate Party
The European Pirate Party (PPEU) is a European political party founded in March 2014 which consists of various pirate parties within European countries.
Pirates without Borders
Pirates Without Borders is an international association of pirates. Unlike Pirate Parties International (which accepts only parties as voting members and organizations as observing members), Pirates Without Borders accept individuals as members. The PWB see themselves as a basis for international projects. Through global cooperation, they strive to reveal the impact of multinational trade agreements on all people on Earth, and foster freedom and democracy. PWB originates from an independent committee for the coordination of Pirate parties in German-speaking countries, known as DACHLuke (DACHL = Germany-Austria-Switzerland-Luxembourg).
Since the Pirate Parties International Conference 2011 on 12 and 13 March 2011, PWB is an "observing member" of Pirate Parties International. The previously independent project "pirate streaming" has become a part of Pirates without Borders since 3 May 2011.
Parti Pirate Francophone
In Parti Pirate Francophone, the French-speaking Pirate Parties are organized. Current members are the pirates parties in Belgium, Côte d'Ivoire, France, Canada, and Switzerland.
European Parliament elections
|Sweden||7 June 2009||7.13||2|
|Germany||7 June 2009||0.9||0|
|Croatia*||14 April 2013||1.13||0|
*Held in 2013 due to Croatia's entry into EU
|United Kingdom1||22 May 2014||0.49||0|
|Netherlands||22 May 2014||0.85||0|
|Austria2||25 May 2014||2.1||0|
|Croatia||25 May 2014||0.39||0|
|Czech Republic||25 May 2014||4.78||0|
|Finland||25 May 2014||0.7||0|
|France||25 May 2014||0.32||0|
|Germany||25 May 2014||1.45||1|
|Greece3||25 May 2014||0.90||0|
|Estonia4||25 May 2014||1.8||0|
|Luxembourg||25 May 2014||4.23||0|
|Poland||25 May 2014||0.02||0|
|Slovenia||25 May 2014||2.58||0|
|Spain||25 May 2014||0.24||0|
|Sweden||25 May 2014||2.23||0|
1Party only participated in North West England constituency
2PPAT is in alliance with two other parties: The Austrian Communist Party and Der Wandel. The alliance is called "Europa Anders" and also includes some independents in their lists
3with Ecological Greens
4PPEE are campaigning for an independent candidate (Silver Meikar) who supports the pirate program
|Sweden||17 September 2006||0.63||0|
|Germany||27 September 2009||1.95||0|
|Sweden||19 September 2010||0.65||0|
|United Kingdom||6 May 2010||0.35||0|
|Netherlands||9 June 2010||0.11||0|
|Finland||17 April 2011||0.51||0|
|Canada||2 May 2011||0.02||0|
|Switzerland||23 October 2011||0.48||0|
|Spain||20 November 2011||0.14||0|
|Greece||6 May 2012||0.51||0|
|Greece||17 June 2012||0.23||0|
|Netherlands||15 March 2017||0.34||0|
|Israel||22 January 2013||0.05||0|
|Iceland||27 April 2013||5.10||3|
|Iceland||29 October 2016||14.48||10|
|Australia||7 September 2013||0.31||0|
|Australia||2 July 2016||0.00009||0|
|Norway||8–9 September 2013||0.34||0|
|Germany||22 September 2013||2.19||0|
|Austria||29 September 2013||0.77||0|
|Luxembourg||20 October 2013||2.94||0|
|Slovenia||13 July 2014||1.34||0|
|Sweden||14 September 2014||0.43||0|
|Israel||17 March 2015||0.02||0|
|Finland||19 April 2015||0.85||0|
|United Kingdom||6 May 2015||0.43||0|
|Germany||24 September 2017||0.4||0|
|Czech Republic||20–21 October 2017||10.78||22/200|
|Iceland||28 October 2017||9.20||6/63|
- Christian Engström, MEP for Sweden from 2009 to 2014
- Amelia Andersdotter, MEP for Sweden from 2011 to 2014
- Birgitta Jónsdóttir, MP for Reykjavik Constituency South from 2009 to 2013, and for Southwest Constituency from 2013 to 2017
- Jón Þór Ólafsson, MP for Reykjavik Constituency South from 2013 to 2015 and for Southswest Constituency since 2016
- Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, MP for Reykjavik Constituency North from 2013 to 2016 and again since 2017
- Björn Leví Gunnarsson, MP for Reykjavík Constituency North from 2016 to 2017 and for Reykjavík Constituency South since 2017
- Halldóra Mogensen, MP for Reykjavík Constituency North since 2016
- Smári McCarthy, MP for Southwest Constituency since 2016
- Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir, MP for Southwest Constituency from 2016 to 2017 and for Reykjavík Constituency South since 2017
- Ásta Guðrún Helgadóttir, MP for Reykjavík Constituency South from 2015 to 2017
- Einar Brynjólfsson, MP for Northeast Constituency from 2016 to 2017
- Eva Pandóra Baldursdóttir, MP for Northwest Constituency from 2016 to 2017
- Gunnar Hrafn Jónsson, MP for Reykjavík Constituency South from 2016 to 2017
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- Pirate Parties International - official website