Thursday, February 09, 2006

NEW SWEDISH POLITICAL PARTY FORMED ON ANTI-IP PLATFORM: In preparation for September's general election, 34-year old IT engineer Richard Falkvinge decided to start a political party on New Year's Day. After setting up an online support site, his initial goal was to muster 2,000 online suporters by February. In 36 hours he had 4,700, and had to temporarily shut the site.

Thus was born the Pirate party, Sweden's newest political organization. The move came just seven months after Sweden passed a law banning the sharing of copyrighted material on the Internet without payment of royalties, in a bid to crack down on free downloading of music, films and computer games. On the party web site, it states that its sole campaign issue will be "abolishing intellectual property" and decriminalizing Internet file-sharing.

According to Falkvinge, "[t]hirty years ago, the cost of production of music was astronomical. Now anyone can do it in their basements. The multinationals are no longer needed and are fighting back. Citizens are being criminalized." As for patents, "companies innovate because of the market and because they have to . . . by abolishing patents, we will free Swedish firms to innovate."

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