Friday, September 12, 2008

Sweden: a great place to be a pirate

Today I learned something refreshing: there are countries where the party of the free market doesn't support intellectual property laws. I was reading today about the Pirate Bay – the infamous giant Swedish aggregator of pirated music, movies, software, and more – and it led me to read this very interesting and copiously cited Wikipedia article on the Swedish Pirate party. It was founded in 2006 on a single issue: pro-piracy, anti-intellectual property. The party didn't do as well as expected, with under 1% of the parliamentary vote in 2006, but it brought the issue to the foreground of Swedish politics for a little bit a few years ago. After heavy reporting on the issue, one Swedish paper found that 61% of Swedes had a positive image of the pro-piracy movement. Earlier this year, six MPs from the Moderate Party – a free market party that has been included in governing coalitions – wrote a letter calling on the government to "decriminalize all non-commercial file sharing and force the market to adapt." Can you imagine the same in America – the Republicans, the supposed party of markets, telling the RIAA and MPAA to fuck off, because pirates are just part of the free market? Maybe if Naomi Klein had heard of the pro-piracy movement, she wouldn't idiotically mistake intellectual property with free market ideology.

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