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Here come the buttkickers
Sweden’s pro-piracy party won its first seat in the European Parliament last night. It will take a second seat once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force as Sweden’s representation in the Euro-parliament will then increase from 18 to 20.

Set up to promote internet piracy and reform privacy and copyright laws. the Pirate Party is now Sweden’s third largest political party.  It came into being amid a wave of revulsion at heavy-handed tactics by the big entertainment brands cracking down on file copying.

A German Pirate Party also took part in the European elections, and “there’s no reason why similar parties should not be launched in the UK and other countries, where the government appears to have little interest in protecting people’s privacy,” says the Guardian newspaper.

Part of the Pirate Party’s platform is to increase people’s privacy on the web, and to protect freedom of speech, says party leader Rickard Falkvinge.

Falkvinge is reported as saying that the establishment and politicians have “declared war against our entire generation” .

“Our politicians are digital illiterates,” he added. “We need politicians that will not let themselves be bullied by foreign powers.”

The Pirate Party was founded in early 2006 and strives to reform laws around copyright and patents, as well as strengthening the right to privacy. When the owners of the Pirate Bay site were arrested in May the same year, the party’s membership began to soar.

In related news, the ongoing appeal by the Pirate Bay founders against their prison sentences took another twist as the judge assigned to review the case, Ulrika Ihrfelt, was removed to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

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It was revealed that the judge in the first trial, Tomas Nortström, was a member of the Swedish Copyright Association and the Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property, as were some members of the prosecution.

After defence lawyers lodged an appeal, a new Ihrfelt was appointed to review whether there had in fact been a conflict of interest on the part of Nortström. But it has now been revealed that she is affiliated to exactly the same pro-copyright organisations as the first judge.

The four founders of Pirate Bay face a year in jail and a fine of 30 million kronor (£2.4m).

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