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Pirate Party is a label adopted by political parties around the world. Pirate parties support civil rights, direct democracy (including e-democracy) or alternatively participation in government, reform of copyright and patent laws to make them more flexible and open to encourage innovation and creativity, use of free and open-source software, free sharing of knowledge (open content and open access), information privacy, transparency, freedom of information, free speech, anti-corruption, net neutrality and oppose mass surveillance, censorship and Big Tech.
Their libertarian philosophy is based on the idea that the Internet is a public space and that everyone should have the right to access it equally, they argue that interference by governments and IT big business violates the right to live as one wishes, without fear or coercion, and that the citizens should have the right to express their opinions freely and without restraint, even if those opinions are controversial or unpopular.
The Pirate Party's focus on these ideas aligns well with the principles of civil libertarianism and cyberlibertarianism, making it a strong ally in the fight for individual freedoms.
While the name pirate party originally alluded to online piracy, members have made concerted efforts to connect pirate parties to all forms of piracy, from pirate radio to the Golden Age of Pirates.
Pirate parties are often considered outside of the economic left-right spectrum or to have context-dependent appeal.
The first Pirate Party to be established was the Pirate Party of Sweden (Swedish: Piratpartiet), whose website was launched on 1 January 2006 by Rick Falkvinge. Falkvinge was inspired to found the party after he found that Swedish politicians were generally unresponsive to Sweden's debate over changes to copyright law in 2005.
The United States Pirate Party was founded on 6 June 2006 by University of Georgia graduate student Brent Allison. The party's concerns were abolishing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, reducing the length of copyrights from 95 years after publication or 70 years after the author's death to 14 years, and the expiry of patents that do not result in significant progress after four years, as opposed to 20 years. However, Allison stepped down as leader three days after founding the party.
The Pirate Party of Austria (German: Piratenpartei Österreichs) was founded in July 2006 in the run-up to the 2006 Austrian legislative election by Florian Hufsky and Jürgen "Juxi" Leitner.
The Pirate Party of Finland was founded in 2008 and entered the official registry of Finnish political parties in 2009.
The Pirate Party of the Czech Republic (Czech: Česká pirátská strana) was founded on 19 April 2009 by Jiří Kadeřávek.
The 2009 European Parliament election took place between the 4 and 7 June 2009, and various Pirate Parties stood candidates. The most success was had in Sweden, where the Pirate Party of Sweden won 7.1% of the vote, and had Christian Engström elected as the first ever Pirate Party Member of European Parliament (MEP). Following the introduction of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Pirate Party of Sweden were afforded another MEP in 2011, that being Amelia Andersdotter.
On 30 July 2009, the Pirate Party UK was registered with the Electoral Commission. Its first party leader was Andrew Robinson, and its treasurer was Eric Priezkalns.
In April 2010, an international organisation to encourage cooperation and unity between Pirate Parties, Pirate Parties International, was founded in Belgium.
In the 2011 Berlin state election to the Abgeordnetenhaus of Berlin, the Pirate Party of Berlin (a state chapter of Pirate Party Germany) won 8.9% of the vote, which corresponded to winning 15 seats. John Naughton, writing for The Guardian, argued that the Pirate Party of Berlin's success could not be replicated by the Pirate Party UK, as the UK does not use a proportional representation electoral system.
In the 2013 Icelandic parliamentary election, the Icelandic Pirate Party won 5.1% of the vote, returning three Pirate Party Members of Parliament. Those were Birgitta Jónsdóttir for the Southwest Constituency, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson for Reykjavik Constituency North and Jón Þór Ólafsson for Reykjavik Constituency South. Birgitta had previously been an MP for the Citizens' Movement (from 2009 to 2013), representing Reykjavik Constituency South. As of 2015[update], it was the largest political party in Iceland, with 23.9% of the vote.
The 2014 European Parliament election took place between the 22 and 24 May. Felix Reda was at the top of the list for Pirate Party Germany, and was subsequently elected as the party received 1.5% of the vote. Other notable results include the Czech Pirate Party, who received 4.8% of the vote, meaning they were 0.2% off getting elected, the Pirate Party of Luxembourg, who received 4.2% of the vote, and the Pirate Party of Sweden, who received 2.2% of the vote, but lost both their MEPs.
Reda had previously worked as an assistant in the office of former Pirate Party MEP Amelia Andersdotter. On 11 June 2014, Reda was elected vice-president of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament. Reda was given the job of copyright reform rapporteur.
The Icelandic Pirate Party was leading the national polls in March 2015, with 23.9%. The Independence Party polled 23.4%, only 0.5% behind the Pirate Party. According to the poll, the Pirate Party would win 16 seats in the Althing. In April 2016, in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, polls showed the Icelandic Pirate Party at 43% and the Independence Party at 21.6%, although the Pirate Party eventually won 15% of the vote and 10 seats in the 29 October 2016 parliamentary election.
In April 2017, a group of students at University of California, Berkeley formed a Pirate Party to participate in the Associated Students of the University of California senate elections, winning the only third-party seat.
Czech Pirate Party entered the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament for the first time after the election held on 20 and 21 October 2017 with 10.8%.
Czech Pirate Party, after finishing at the second place at the 2018 Prague municipal election, held on 5 and 6 October 2018, with 17.1%, formed a coalition with Prague Together and United Forces for Prague (TOP 09, Mayors and Independents, KDU-ČSL, Liberal-Environmental Party and SNK European Democrats). The representative of the Czech Pirate Party, Zdeněk Hřib, was selected as a Mayor of Prague. It is probably for the first time, when any pirate party has a mayor in one of the major cities of the world.
At the 2019 European Parliament election, three Czech Pirate MEPs and one German Pirate MEP were voted in and joined the Greens–European Free Alliance, the aforementioned group in the European Parliament that has previously included Swedish Pirate MEPs and German Julia Reda.
While parties vary insofar as specific policies go, common themes of the Pirate movement include:
Some campaigns have included demands for the reform of copyright and patent laws. In 2010, Swedish MEP Christian Engström called for supporters of amendments to the Data Retention Directive to withdraw their signatures, citing a misleading campaign.
Main article: Pirate Parties International
Pirate Parties International (PPI) is the umbrella organization of the national Pirate Parties. Since 2006, the organization has existed as a loose union of the national parties. Since October 2009, Pirate Parties International has had the status of a non-governmental organization (Feitelijke vereniging) based in Belgium. The organization was officially founded at a conference from 16 to 18 April 2010 in Brussels, when the organization's statutes were adopted by the 22 national pirate parties represented at the event.
Main article: European Pirate Party
The European Pirate Party (PPEU) is a European political party founded in March 2014 which consists of various pirate parties within European countries.
Pirates Without Borders is an international association of pirates. Unlike Pirate Parties International (which accepts only parties as voting members and organizations as observing members), Pirates Without Borders accept individuals as members. The PWB see themselves as a basis for international projects. Through global cooperation, they strive to reveal the impact of multinational trade agreements on all people on Earth, and foster freedom and democracy. PWB originates from an independent committee for the coordination of Pirate parties in German-speaking countries, known as DACHLuke (DACHL = Germany-Austria-Switzerland-Luxembourg).
Since the Pirate Parties International Conference 2011 on 12 and 13 March 2011, PWB is an "observing member" of Pirate Parties International. The previously independent project "pirate streaming" has become a part of Pirates without Borders since 3 May 2011.
In Parti Pirate Francophone, the French-speaking Pirate Parties are organized. Current members are the pirates parties in Belgium, Côte d'Ivoire, France, Canada, and Switzerland.
|Sweden||7 June 2009||7.1||2|
|Germany||7 June 2009||0.9||0|
|Croatia*||14 April 2013||1.1||0|
*Held in 2013 due to Croatia's entry into EU
|United Kingdom1||22 May 2014||0.5||0|
|Netherlands||22 May 2014||0.9||0|
|Austria2||25 May 2014||2.1||0|
|Croatia||25 May 2014||0.4||0|
|Czech Republic||25 May 2014||4.8||0|
|Finland||25 May 2014||0.7||0|
|France||25 May 2014||0.3||0|
|Germany||25 May 2014||1.5||1|
|Greece3||25 May 2014||0.9||0|
|Estonia4||25 May 2014||1.8||0|
|Luxembourg||25 May 2014||4.2||0|
|Poland||25 May 2014||<0.1||0|
|Slovenia||25 May 2014||2.6||0|
|Spain||25 May 2014||0.2||0|
|Sweden||25 May 2014||2.2||0|
1Party only participated in North West England constituency
2PPAT is in alliance with two other parties: The Austrian Communist Party and Der Wandel. The alliance is called "Europa Anders" and also includes some independents in their lists
3with Ecological Greens
4PPEE are campaigning for an independent candidate (Silver Meikar) who supports the pirate program
|Czech Republic||24 May 2019||330,844||4.8||3|
|Finland||26 May 2019||12,579||0.7||0|
|France||26 May 2019||30,105||0.1||0|
|Germany||26 May 2019||243,302||0.7||1|
|Italy||26 May 2019||60,809||0.2||0|
|Luxembourg||26 May 2019||96,579||7.7||0|
|Spain||26 May 2019||16,755||0.1||0|
|Sweden||26 May 2019||26,526||0.6||0|
|Sweden||17 September 2006||0.6||0/349|
|Germany||27 September 2009||2.0||0/622|
|Sweden||19 September 2010||0.7||0/349|
|United Kingdom||6 May 2010||0.4||0/650|
|Netherlands||9 June 2010||0.1||0|
|Finland||17 April 2011||0.5||0|
|Canada||2 May 2011||<0.1||0|
|Switzerland||23 October 2011||0.5||0|
|Spain||20 November 2011||0.1||0|
|Greece||6 May 2012||0.5||0|
|Greece||17 June 2012||0.2||0|
|Netherlands||15 March 2017||0.3||0|
|Israel||22 January 2013||0.1||0|
|Iceland||27 April 2013||5.1||3/63|
|Iceland||29 October 2016||14.5||10/63|
|Iceland||15 September 2017||9.2||6/63|
|Iceland||25 September 2021||8.6||6/63|
|Australia||7 September 2013||0.3||0|
|Australia||2 July 2016||<0.1||0|
|Australia||18 May 2019||TBA||0|
|Australia (as Fusion Party)||21 May 2022||TBA||0|
|Norway||9 September 2013||0.3||0|
|Germany||22 September 2013||2.2||0|
|Austria||29 September 2013||0.8||0|
|Luxembourg||20 October 2013||2.9||0|
|Slovenia||13 July 2014||1.3||0|
|Sweden||14 September 2014||0.4||0|
|Israel||17 March 2015||<0.1||0|
|Finland||19 April 2015||0.9||0|
|United Kingdom||6 May 2015||<0.1||0|
|Germany||24 September 2017||0.4||0|
|Czech Republic||21 October 2017||10.8||22/200|
|Iceland||28 October 2017||9.2||6/63|
|Slovenia||3 June 2018||2.2||0|
|Sweden||9 September 2018||0.1||0|
|Luxembourg||14 October 2018||6.5||2/60|
|Israel||9 April 2019||<0.1||0|
|Finland||14 April 2019||0.6||0|
|Belgium||26 May 2019||0.1||0|
|Czech Republic||9 October 2021||15.68 (in coalition with Mayors and Independents||4|
Representatives of the Pirate Party movement that have been elected to a national or supranational legislature.
Since the 2021 Czech legislative election, only the following 4 MP are in office:
The following served as MPs from 2017 to 2021
Main article: List of Pirate Parties
Outside Sweden, pirate parties have been started in over 40 countries, inspired by the Swedish initiative.