STUDY: Sweden’s Pirate Party to Win 2 Seats in EU Parliament

Outrage over conviction of BitTorrent tracker site the Pirate Bay continues to rise.

The entertainment industry may have won the first phase of its copyright infringement case against Swedish BitTorrent tracker site the Pirate Bay, but in the end it’s file-sharers who’ll surely win.

Many of the country’s youth have been angered over what they see as an intrusion by foreign, primarily US-based, entertainment industry conglomerates into the private affairs of a sovereign country. They understand that copyright laws were essentially written in a world before digital content that no longer exists, and that ultimately paralyze the ability of citizens to freely communicate and interact with one another.

“It is definitely something that has put the spotlight on our issues,” said Christian Engstrom, the party’s top candidate for the European Parliament.

“And it has demonstrated why it is so important, because the legal machine, if it’s allowed to continue, is going to crush the internet, starting with the Pirate Bay and then continuing on to other enterprises.”

Adding fuel to the fire was the recent disclosure that the presiding judge in the Pirate Bay trial, Judge Tomas Norström, is an active member of several pro-copyright groups, rendering his decision anything but unbiased in the eyes of many.

Enter the Pirate Party, which has already seen its membership rise from below 10,000 pre-trial to some 43,783 today.

The numbers are important because for each 4% threshold of voter support it achieves it wins a Swedish seat in the EU Parliament. It was already predicted to win at least 4%, but a new, more accurate study by researchers at the London School of Economics and Trinity College in Dublin now predicts the Pirate Party will command at least 8.5% of Swedish voters, and thus 2 MEPs for the EU Parliament.

Founded in 2006, the Pirate Party and won only 0.6% of the vote in the Swedish general elections that year.

“It’s carried out by known and well-regarded researchers. As far as I can tell, this is the most credible forecast carried out ahead of EU elections,” said Ulf Bjereld, a Gothenburg-based political science professor.

“Opinion surveys before the EU elections usually overestimate large governing parties and underestimate small, critical parties. That’s why in their forecast for Sweden the authors give less weight to the Moderates and add weight to the Pirate Party.”

That means the Pirate Party would become the 3rd largest political party in Sweden behind the Social Democrats and Moderates.

“We’re seeing a shockwave of new repressive legislation that is seriously jeopardizing the core of our civil liberties,” said leader of the Pirate Party, Rick Falkving. “People are starting to wake up to that fact.”

With the Pirate Party possible sending 2 MEPs to the EU parliament the entertainment industry may have got more than it bargained for.

Copyright law reform here we come!

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