The Increasing Role of the Pirate Parties
A survey published on March 13, 2015 in Iceland has revealed that if the parliamentary elections would be held now, the Pirate Party of Iceland would get 22 percent of the total number of votes. The Pirate party would have 14 members of the Parliament, the Independence Party would have 19 members. This means that only one two-party government would be possible. Astonished by the results, Helgi Hrafn, a member of the Parliament for PP said, “You can just hope that the reason is that people like what you have to say.” Iceland has represented so far the biggest election victory for Pirate Parties receiving in the national election of 2013, 5.1 percent of the electorate votes.
Relatively new phenomena, Pirate Parties originated in 2006 when former creators of “The Pirate Bay” founded Swedish Piratpartiet. The Party has set a precedent of values to other Pirate Parties across the world which include: free sharing of information, the reform of copyright and patent law along with the advocacy of civil rights and direct democracy system.
This example inspired the creation of Pirate Parties firstly in Austria and later in Germany. The Swedish initiative quickly spread across borders with Pirate Parties being started in more than 40 countries around the globe. In 2010, the Pirate Parties International (PPI) organization was established to further enhance their participation in international politics. It’s role is to improve the communication between national parties and organize forums that would facilitate the recruitment of new members.
An increasingly important actor in the European Copyright Law is the European Pirates (PIRATES), an association of pirate parties of European countries, which advocates for the revision of the European Copyright Law and for an increase in internet freedom. Julia Reda, Pirate Party MEP claims that the EU legislation on copyright has been adopted before Facebook or YouTube even existed, thus it needs to be updated to the new digital age.
Whether the reform will succeed or fail will be clear after the vote in the Legal Affairs Committee on April 16, and a big parliamentary vote on May 20. Nevertheless, the increasing support for the Pirate Parties across the EU in such a short timespan could represent a birth of the new movement of “digital” politics. Like the appearance of “green” parties during the last decades, the spread of the internet which has become a vital necessity in every aspect of life, calls for a stronger representation on the global political arena.
We might argue how the politics would look like in the future, but we must agree that with the technological advancement comes a need for a greater implication of Pirate Parties in the continuous attempts of the government to regulate the internet. We must be sure that the internet remains a platform where people can communicate freely and anonymously.
This article was prepared by Maxim Bilevici from the Political Science Club at AUBG.