Thank goodness for the Swedish Pirate Party. In the middle of a depressing political landscape across Europe that has seen far-right parties make some significant headways, the always-progressive Swedes have given one of their 18 European Parliament seats to the defenders of all things piratical. The Pirate Party advocates the legalisation of file-sharing, more online privacy, and extending freedom of speech online. How very cyber-libertarian of them.
There is not much to add to the news. I do not assume that this is the beginning of the end for copyright law, or believe anything other than this is a minor electoral blip. If the Swedish Pirate Party can repeat this performance, then I will be very impressed indeed. Nonetheless, it is important to point out that there are now UK, German and American counterparts. Who knows, Pirate Parties may be the new Greens.
One thing that may be happening is that some portion of the population are getting tired of hyperbolic and often patently false statements from the music industry. Just last Friday Ben Goldacre, the always excellent Bad Science columnist, scrutinised several claims from the music industry which calculated the loss due to piracy in the UK ran into billions, yet he found those claims unfounded. When the technological sophisticated sectors of the public are presented with blatantly fabricated information such as the one unearthed by Goldacre, then donning the tricorn hat, the eye patch and the obligatory parrot may seem like a good idea.
A final word of advise. If you google “pirate party UK”, you will get to a site with some interesting piratical party costumes.
… and some final trivia. Did you know that someone patented the tricorn hat in 1975?