Pirate Party swashbuckles into Finnish politics

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 19, 2009 at 2:31 PM EDT

The Pirate Party, which first rose to prominence in Sweden during June's European elections, has now been officially launched in Finland, the group's leader said on Wednesday.

Finnish Pirate Party Chairman Pasi Palmulehto told AFP that the organisation, which like its Swedish counterpart calls for more relaxed laws on Internet downloading, has successfully gathered the required support to legally create a political group in the Nordic country.

"We are delighted to have been able to collect the necessary 5,000 signatures," Palmulehto told AFP, adding that it would now feature in the official party register of Finland's Ministry of Justice.

He said the party would call for "a reform of copyright laws, protecting privacy and freedom of speech as well as transparency in politics."

Palmulehto said the Finnish Pirate Party would look to stand in future local, national and European elections in Finland.

Copyright holder organisations in Finland were outraged at the news of the group's formation.

"We are absolutely against the idea that any political party can give their support to the idea of free use of protected content," said Arto Alaspaeae, the director of IFPI Finland (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry).

According to their website, the Finnish Pirate Party wants to decriminalise illicit filesharing, drastically cut the length of copyright protection and abolish software and pharmaceutical patents.

Sweden's Pirate Party stood on a similar platform in June's European elections, picking up 7.1 percent of the popular vote.

Following that success, copycat groups sprang up in Britain, the Czech Republic and Australia among other countries.




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