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Pirate Party of Sweden

Pirate Party
Leader Vacant[1]
Secretary-General Vacant
Founded 1 January 2006 (2006-01-01)
Youth wing Young Pirate
Ideology Pirate politics
Freedom of information
Green liberalism
International affiliation Pirate Parties International
European affiliation European Pirate Party
European Parliament group The Greens–European Free Alliance
Colours Purple
0 / 349
European Parliament:
0 / 20
Politics of Sweden
Political parties

The Pirate Party (Swedish: Piratpartiet) is a political party in Sweden founded in 2006. Its sudden popularity has given rise to parties with the same name and similar goals in Europe and worldwide, forming the International Pirate Party movement.

The Pirate Party was initially formed to reform laws regarding copyright and patents. The party agenda includes support for strengthening the individual's right to privacy, both on the Internet and in everyday life, and the transparency of state administration.[2] The Pirate Party has intentionally chosen to be bloc independent of the traditional left-right scale[3] to pursue their political agenda with all mainstream parties. The party originally stayed neutral on other matters, but started broadening into other political areas in 2012.[4][5]

The Pirate Party participated in the Young Pirate (Swedish: Ung Pirat), was, for a part of 2009 and 2010, the largest political youth organisation in Sweden by membership count.

The Pirate Party came 5th in the 2009 European Parliament elections with 7.13% of the vote and 1 MEP (increasing to 2 after ratification of the Lisbon Treaty).[9][10] Christian Engström became the first MEP for the party, and Amelia Andersdotter took the second seat on 1 December 2009.

Rick Falkvinge, founder of the party, stepped down on 1 January 2011 after five years as party leader, making vice leader Anna Troberg the current party leader.[1]

On December 1, 2014, Anna Troberg announced that she would not be available for reelection in 2015 after her term ended on December 31, 2014.[11]


  • Declaration of principles 1
  • History and foundation 2
    • Media attention first week after founding 2.1
    • 2009 2.2
  • Political impact 3
    • National 3.1
    • International 3.2
    • Free software 3.3
  • Election results, voter base 4
    • 2006 Swedish general election 4.1
    • 2009 European Parliament election 4.2
    • 2010 election 4.3
    • Parliament (Riksdag) 4.4
    • European Parliament 4.5
  • Relations to other Swedish pirate organizations 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8
    • Official sites, documents 8.1
    • Interviews 8.2
    • Speeches 8.3
    • Media coverage 8.4

Declaration of principles

The Pirate Party believes that people with an access to free communication, culture and knowledge grow, feel better and create a more enjoyable and humane society for everyone to live in. We see modern information technology opening up possibilities for people to take action for their own lives and participate in affecting the development of society. We see how a freer flow of information enables thoughts, cultural creation and the economy to grow.
— The Pirate Party's 4th declaration of principles [12]

The party advocates a severe reduction of economic sole right of copyrighted works, which today exist for 70 years after the creator's death. They also advocate releasing all non-commercial sharing of copyrighted material, which means that all films, phonograms and programs can be shared freely as long as the operation isn't run commercially.

The party also has personal privacy as a core value, and is critical towards laws such as ACTA, IPRED, the Telecoms Package, and the change in legislation regulating the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA).

The party advocates strengthened individual privacy, are against the Data Retention Directive, wants to elevate secrecy of correspondence to general secrecy of communication, and create a constitutional right to privacy. The party also seeks to modify the laws of intellectual property (copyright and patent), but doesn't want to change the laws of trademarks or industrial design rights. The party views itself as a defender of the individual's civil rights especially with regards to surveillance, government accountability and political and business corruption.

Before the Swedish general election of 2010 the party stayed neutral in all other political matters, and could be considered a single-issue party. After 2010 the party started opening up for a broader political agenda. A new declaration of principles was formed in 2011,[4] and at the spring member meeting of 2012 several new political standpoints were decided on areas such as school, research and health care.[13][14]

Works related to Pirate Party Declaration of Principles at Wikisource

History and foundation

Rickard Falkvinge, founder and party leader from 2006 to 2011

The website for the Pirate Party was launched on 1 January 2006 (at 20.30 CEST), marking the foundation of the Party. Six phases were presented on the website, with phase one being the collection of at least 2,000 signatures (500 more than required) to be handed over to the Swedish Election Authority before the 4th of February (the deadline for registering being February 28), so that the Party would be allowed to participate in the upcoming 17 September general election. In less than 24 hours after the opening of the website, the Party had collected over 2,000 signatures (2,268 at 16.05 CEST).

By the morning of the 3rd of January, the Party closed the signature collection. In about 36 hours, they had gathered 4,725 signatures. As signatories are required by Swedish election law to identify themselves when giving support for a new party, international media reported this as a significant feat, given the nature of the Party. However, signatures presented to the election authorities are required to be handwritten. The goal of at least 1,500 handwritten signatures was reached February 10 and the final confirmation from the authorities was presented three days later. The Party claimed to have recruited 900 members within the first month, each member paying a membership fee of 5 Swedish kronor (approx. US$0.69, c.2006), payable by SMS (The Party has since changed to free member registration).[15]

Phases two to five included registering with the Election Authority, getting candidates for the municipalities of Sweden with a population in excess of 50,000, which in 2005 meant 43 municipalities. During this phase fundraising was also started, with an initial goal of raising 1 million SEK ($126,409).

The sixth and final phase was the election itself. The Party, which claims that there are between 800,000 and 1.1 million active file sharers in Sweden, hoped that at least 225,000 (4% of all the voters in Sweden) of those would vote for the party, granting them membership in Parliament.

On 31 May 2006, Swedish police raided a facility hosting BitTorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay was a board member of the Pirate Party.

On 3 June 2006, the Party performed a "pirate demonstration"[16] in Stockholm and Gothenburg. The demonstration was in collaboration with the youth sections of some other political parties (the Young Liberals, Young Greens and Young Left). Within a few days the file sharing issue had become the focus of national debate, followed by national as well as international media. Along with criticizing the approach to restricting Pirate Bay's file sharing by the Minister for Justice Thomas Bodström, the right to free information and rule of law became the Party's main standpoints.

In April 2009, after The Pirate Bay trial verdict, the Pirate Party gained 3,000 members in 7 hours, making it larger than 3 of the 7 parties in the Parliament of Sweden, by member count.[17] One week later it reached 40,000 members – compared to 15,000 members before the verdict – and now has more members than 5 of the 7 parties in the Swedish Parliament, with over 50,189 members as of 15 September 2009 making it the 3rd largest political party in Sweden.

On 18 May 2010, The Pirate Bay started hosting its site through bandwidth delivered from the Pirate Party.[18]

On 17 August 2010, it was announced that the Pirate Party will be hosting and managing many of Wikileaks' new servers. The party donates servers and bandwidth to Wikileaks without charge. Technicians of the party will make sure that the servers are maintained and working. [19]

On 1 January 2011, the party celebrated its five-year anniversary with a Bambuser live broadcast with party leader Rick Falkvinge and vice party leader Anna Troberg. Live in the video, Falkvinge sent a tweet saying he stepped down as party leader, and he announced that his successor would be Troberg. Falkvinge now works as an evangelist, spreading the politics of the Pirate Party in and out of Europe.[1]

On December 2011, the party launched Free & Social, a social networking/microblogging service.[20]

Media attention first week after founding

A Pirate Party banner at the demonstration held in Stockholm 3 June 2006.
Crowd at the 3 June demonstration.

Media quickly picked up on the movement. On Monday 2 January 2006, a large Swedish financial newspaper, Dagens Industri, produced a story on what was happening. By 3 pm, the media seemed irritated that no owner of the website was listed or easy to track down; some reports listed the website as not serious and a PR stunt. However, the largest Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, managed to track down the Party leader Rickard Falkvinge at work. Falkvinge, however, was unable to explain the Party's positions while at work, bringing this information gathering effort to an abrupt end.

On 3 January 2006, all the major Swedish news outlets had produced stories on the Party. Aftonbladet posted an online poll indicating that its readers gave the Party a 61% approval rating,[21] and IDG produced a longer front page interview with Falkvinge in the afternoon. IDG also posted an online poll similar to the first, with similar results.[22] The Party website was also slashdotted.[23]

The Pirate Party's web server received a million hits on its first day of operation, two million the next.

On 4 January, international media and radio stations picked up the story. A major Swedish radio station broadcast an interview with Falkvinge about the unexpected amount of attention the initiative received. More attention followed on Thursday, including coverage by the BBC World Service, the first global radio station to produce a story on the Pirate Party initiative.

At the end of the first week, the Pirate Party platform had been covered by over 500 English-language and over 600 Swedish-language media outlets.


Annotated graph showing membership dating back to the founding of the Swedish Pirate Party in 2006[24]
1: Police raid on The Pirate Bay servers
2: 2006 General election
3: FRA bill passed the Riksdag
4: Events related to the trial of the founders of The Pirate Bay
5: Swedish torrent tracker Tankafett is shut down, referring members to the Pirate Party website
Sharp declines can be attributed to a one-year renewal period, causing inactive members to be automatically removed

As of mid-2009, the Party had over 49,000 members, making it the third largest party in Sweden in terms of members.[25] Large increases in membership were associated with the controversial legislative change regulating signals intelligence, IPRED law regarding copyright holder access to ISP subscriber information and the trial against The Pirate Bay. On 17 April 2009 the court reached a guilty verdict in the Pirate Bay trial and on the same day and the day after a total of over 9,000 new members joined the Party.[24]

Since 17 April 2009, the Pirate Party has more than doubled in size, having over 50,000 members as of 1 August 2009, and is now the third largest political party in Sweden by member count. Pirate Party's youth organisation,

  • Coverage on Slashdot (1 2 3)
  • Article in The Inquirer
  • Piratbyrån's speech at Reboot

Media coverage

  • Rickard Falkvinge speaks at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention 2007 (27 July 2007)
  • Rickard Falkvinge speaks at Google (31 July 2007)
  • Rickard Falkvinge speaks at Stanford Law School (31 July 2007)
  • Rickard Falkvinge speaks at the party congress 2007 of the German Pirate Party Part 2 Part 3
  • Rickard Falkvinge speaks at the PPI Conference Friedrichshafen, Germany (13 Mar 2011)


  • Interview with founder in The Local by Agence France-Presse
  • YouTube Interview with Founder Rick Falkvinge
  • Google Video Interview with Founder Rick Falkvinge, in Swedish (with English subtitles).


  • (English) Pirate Party official site
  • (English) Declaration of Principles PDF (68.8 KB) Declaration of Principles
  • (English) 2006 Election Manifesto 2006 election manifesto
  • Site for demonstrations following the May 31 2006 raid on The Pirate Bay

Official sites, documents

External links

  1. ^ a b c Falkvinge, Rick. "After five years I'm stepping down as Party Leader". 
  2. ^ — Ledarredaktionen, Dagens Nyheter. "The Pirate Party | Piratpartiet". Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  3. ^ "Vågmästarställning" from, accessed on August 28, 2006
  4. ^ a b "Nu breddas Piratpartiet!". Piratpartiet. 
  5. ^ "Sakpolitik". Piratpartiet. 
  6. ^ Result of Verdict, for the Pirate Party. Blog Pirate. April 17, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Medlemsantal" from, accessed on May 28, 2009
  8. ^ Comparisons of membership numbers may not be considered fair by some, as the Pirate Party does not charge a membership fee, which is commonplace for other parties
  9. ^ "Röster - Val 2009". Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  10. ^ Stockholm TT (2009-06-04). "Piraterna in i EU-parlamentet | Inrikes | SvD" (in Svenska). Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  11. ^ "Ajöss och tack för fisken" (in Svenska). Anna Troberg. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2014-12-18. 
  12. ^ Piratpartiets principprogram 4.0 (in Swedish), Piratpartiet
  13. ^ "Vårmöte 2012". Piratpartiet. 
  14. ^ "Tapiren #6". Piratpartiet. 
  15. ^ "Välkommen till Piratpartiet och Ung Pirat". PirateWeb. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  16. ^ "Pictures from the piracy demonstration", by Ulf Sjöström, Pirate Watch, June 3, 2006, accessed on June 5, 2006
  17. ^ "Announcement on the official website, in Swedish". Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  18. ^ "Pirate Party hosting Pirate Bay in pro-P2P political gesture". Ars Tehnica. 2010-05-18. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  19. ^ TT (2010-08-17). "Piratpartiet sköter Wikileak-servrar" (in Svenska). Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  20. ^ "Free & Social: About". Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  21. ^ "Would you consider voting for the Pirate Party?", poll by Aftonbladet, at 61% yes in early January of 2006 with 50,000 responding; at 57% on 30 July 2006 with 99,000 responding
  22. ^ "Would you consider voting for a pirate party?", poll by IDG, active January 3–9, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2006.
  23. ^ "Swedish Filesharers Start 'The Piracy Party'" from, accessed on July 14, 2009
  24. ^ a b Member Count History from the Pirate Party's official membership systems
  25. ^ "Medlemsantal" from, accessed on April 5, 2007
  26. ^ "M tappar opinionsstöd " from (Swedish), accessed on May 25, 2009
  27. ^ Släpp filerna fria!, by the Swedish Greens
  28. ^ Larger parties bend to support file-sharing under political pressure from P2P Consortium, accessed on June 9, 2006
  29. ^ Nu vänder v och m i piratfrågan from Expressen, accessed on June 9, 2006
  30. ^ a b "Upphovsmän kan få jaga fildelare", Dagens Nyheter, February 4, 2007
  31. ^ "Piratpartiet har lyckats", published by PC för Alla
  32. ^ "Bara mp vill ändra lagen", Dagens Nyheter, February 4, 2007
  33. ^ Bodström: "Jag har inte ändrat ståndpunkt" from Aftonbladet, accessed on June 9, 2006
  34. ^ Swedish prosecutors dump 4,000 legal docs on The Pirate Bay Ars Technica, accessed on August 5, 2008
  35. ^ Ståhl, Henrik (14 July 2009). "EU-valet avgörande för Piratpartiets tillväxt".  
  36. ^ PPInternational. "PPInternational". PPInternational. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  37. ^ """Stallman, Richard "How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  38. ^ "Voters Keelhaul Pirate Party" from, accessed on September 20, 2006
  39. ^ "Unga väljare kan ge Piratpartiet EU-mandat" from, accessed on May 6, 2009
  40. ^ "Pressmeddelande: Piratpartiet får 5.1% i EU-valet" from, accessed on May 6, 2009
  41. ^ "Pirate Party Sweden's third-largest: poll" from, accessed on May 30, 2009
  42. ^ "Piratpartiet får två mandat i ny mätning" from (Swedish), accessed on May 30, 2009
  43. ^ "Analysis by Member State" from, accessed on June 5, 2009
  44. ^ "Pirate Party Wins and Enters The European Parliament" from, accessed on June 7, 2009
  45. ^ "European election results 2009 for Sweden" from, accessed on June 7, 2009
  46. ^  
  47. ^ Carp, Ossi (2009-06-09). "Piratpartiets framgång internationell nyhet".  
  48. ^ "EU Parliament Elections 2009 poll results for Germany". 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  49. ^ [2]
  50. ^ a b "Val till Europaparlamentet - Röster". (in Swedish).  
  51. ^ "PPSE Becomes Pirate Bays New Host". TorrentFreak. 


See also

There are three major pirate organisations in Sweden: the political Pirate Party, the now-defunct NGO Piratbyrån (Pirate Bureau), and the BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay. Of these three, Piratbyrån and The Pirate Bay share a common history but are now separate, whereas the Pirate Party developed on a completely separate and parallel track, founded by Falkvinge, and was initially unrelated to the other two. This was until 18 May 2010, when the Pirate Party became The Pirate Bay's ISP in response to an injunction that temporarily shut down access to The Pirate Bay, with the Pirate Party stating that “It is time to take the bull by the horns and stand up for what we believe is a legitimate activity.”[51]

Relations to other Swedish pirate organizations

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
2009 225,915 7.1 (#5)
1 / 18
2 / 20

2014 82,763[50] 2.23 (#10)[50]
0 / 20

European Parliament

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
2006 34,918 0.6 (#10)
0 / 349
2010 38,491 0.7 (#9)
0 / 349
2014 26,515 0.4 (#10)
0 / 349

Parliament (Riksdag)

In the 2010 general election, the Pirate Party increased their percentage of the vote by 0.02%, bringing it to a total of 0.65%, remaining under the required amount to gain a seat, but becoming the biggest party outside of Parliament.

2010 election

The Pirate Party of Germany also participated in the European Parliament elections, which was their first participation in a nationwide election, and achieved 0.9% in Germany, getting 230 000 votes. They missed the 5% barrier by a wide margin but qualified for public funding.[47][48][49]

The Pirate Party got enough votes for at least one seat of the 18 available seats Sweden has at the European Parliament,[44] getting 7.1 % of the Swedish votes.[45] Following the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, a second seat was given to Amelia Andersdotter on December 1, 2009. The Pirate Party joined The Greens-European Free Alliance group.[46]

A model-based prediction for the 2009 European Parliament election by political scientists estimated on 4 June 2009 that the Pirate Party could be the third largest party from Sweden, gaining 2 seats.[43]

By 22 May 2009, a Demoskop poll showed a 7.9% support amongst Swedish voters, making the Pirate Party the third largest party.[41] A week later this had grown to 8.2% and a projected two seats in Parliament, with 21.8% support amongst people aged 18–29.[42] The party's top two candidates are Christian Engström and Amelia Andersdotter.

In the first pre-election poll [39] before the 2009 European Parliament election, the Pirate Party registered at 5.1%, which would be enough to get a seat in the parliament. The support for the party was concentrated to younger voters, especially those of ages 18–29 (where it is the second largest party) and 30-44 (where it is the fourth largest).[40]

2009 European Parliament election

The Pirate Party attracted 34,918 votes in the Swedish general election of 2006, their first participation at an election for parliament since the founding of the party less than 9 months prior. With 0.63% of the overall votes, it became the 10th biggest party of more than 40 participating. However, a voting result of less than 4% of the total votes does not qualify the party for seats in the Swedish Parliament. Getting more than 1% of the vote would have granted the party financial assistance from the state for printing ballots which is costly in Sweden, while at least 2.5% would grant them state funds for campaigning in the next election. Despite the setbacks, Falkvinge began planning for the Swedish general election in 2010.[38]

2006 Swedish general election

Election results, voter base

Richard Stallman has expressed concern that the Pirate Party’s goal of reducing copyright term to 5 years could harm the free software movement.[37] Many free software licenses, mainly the GPL, are based on long-term copyrights. Stallman argues that if copyright terms are reduced to 5 years, proprietary software vendors would be able to take free software and use it in proprietary software once the copyright expires. But proprietary software is restricted by EULAs in addition to copyright, and the source code is not available, rendering the proprietary software unusable for free software developers even after its copyright expires. Stallman suggests that under this new copyright law, proprietary software developers should put their code in escrow when the software's binaries are released and then release their software into the public domain immediately after their copyright expires.

Free software

The Pirate Party of Germany gained seats in the city council of Münster and Aachen in August 2009, and in the federal election a month later they received 2.0% of the party list votes, becoming the biggest party outside the Bundestag. In the election to the Abgeordnetenhaus in Berlin in September 2011, the Pirate Party received 9% of the votes and - for the first time in Germany - gained seats in a state parliament.

Outside Sweden, pirate parties have been started in some 33 countries,[35] inspired by the Swedish initiative. They cooperate through Pirate Parties International (PPI).[36]

  Officially registered pirate party
  Active, unregistered pirate party
  Discussed within PP-International
  No pirate party


After the 2006 elections, the issue faded from the public debate.[30] In January 2008, seven Swedish members of parliament from the conservative Moderate Party, senior member of the governing Alliance coalition, authored a piece in a Swedish tabloid calling for the complete decriminalisation of filesharing. The Swedish members of parliament wrote that "Decriminalising all non-commercial file sharing and forcing the market to adapt is not just the best solution. It's the only solution, unless we want an ever more extensive control of what citizens do on the Internet."[34]

Less than a week before the 2006 elections, the Green Party shifted their stance on copyright reform.[27] Additionally, both the Moderate Party and the Left Party changed their stances on internet downloads,[28][29] and both prime ministerial candidates stated publicly that it shouldn't be illegal for young people to share files.[30] Several influential analysts have credited the Pirate Party and its rising popularity for this shift in the political climate; these include a panel of senior editors at International Data Group[31] and political analysts at the largest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter.[32] Additionally, the then Swedish Minister of Justice Thomas Bodström, announced on 9 June that he was willing to negotiate a possible revision of the law introduced in 2005 that made unauthorised downloading of copyrighted material illegal, introducing a new tax on broadband Internet access, but he later denied having changed his stance on the issue.[33]


Political impact

On 30 April 2009, a newspaper election poll reported the Pirate Party vote to be 5.1% for the upcoming European Parliament election. Another more recent poll conducted by polling organization Demoskop for newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning gave the party 7.9%.[26] The party eventually received 7.1% of the vote in the 7th June election, and won a seat in the European Parliament.


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