Pirate Party is a label adopted by political parties in different countries. Pirate Parties support civil rights, direct democracy and participation, reform of copyright and patent law, free sharing of knowledge (Open content), information privacy,transparency, freedom of information, free education, universal health care and a clear separation between church and state. They advocate network neutrality and universal, unrestricted access to the Internet as indispensable conditions to some of this.
The Swedish Piratpartiet, founded on 1 January 2006 under the leadership of Rickard Falkvinge, was the first pirate party. The party’s name was derived from Piratbyrån, an organization opposed to intellectual property. Members of Piratbyrån had previously founded the BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay. Piratbyrån is the Swedish version of the Danish organization PiratGruppen, so named because it was founded to oppose the lobbyism of the Danish anti-piracy group AntiPiratGruppen. The “pirate” label, which had been used by the media and film industries in campaigns against copyright infringement, is therefore a reappropriation of the word.
Parties in other countries, such as the Pirate Party of Austria (founded in July 2006) and the Pirate Party Germany (September 2006), were inspired by the Swedish example. In October 2006, Pirate Parties International was founded as an umbrella organization. In the European Parliament election of 2009 the Swedish Pirate Party received 7.1 percent of the votes, winning two seats and achieving the first major success of a Pirate Party in an election. The German Pirate Party managed to win 8.9 percent of the votes in the Berlin state election, 2011.
Historically, the ideals of the Pirate parties are partially based on groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Chaos Computer Club, representing the hacker culture and values centered around freedom of information and free exchange of knowledge.
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