Sweden’s Pirate Party has just won at least one seat in the European Parliament, and possibly two if Sweden’s delegation to the assembly expands (through ratification of the Lisbon treaty).
This is great news for European civil rights. The Pirate Party’s platform spells out the link between copyright restrictions, censorship, and surveillance. If the government is watching your downloads to make sure you don’t “pirate” anything, the crucial fact is: the government is watching your downloads. And when copyright law prevents information and culture from flowing freely, well, that’s censorship. You can’t enforce copyright restrictions without infringing on civil liberties. The Pirate Party gets this, and apparently a lot of voters in Sweden do too — thanks to the Pirate Party’s relentless campaigning on these ideas over the last few years.
Congratulations to the Party and to Rick Falkvinge, who has been working hard for this for a long, long time. The decisive popular lift came from the conviction in Sweden of four operators of the Pirate Bay filesharing site, but it was the Party’s careful preparation for this moment that allowed them to take advantage of it.