Sweden's free-Web Pirate Party has Euro seat

4:24 AM PST 06/08/2009 by Scott Roxborough, AP

Party not related to the Pirate Bay file-sharing Web site

COLOGNE, Germany -- Sweden's Pirate Party, which wants to abolish copyright laws and protect Internet privacy, has won a seat in the European Parliament.

The Pirate Party captured 7.1% of the Swedish vote Sunday, enough to secure it one of Sweden's 18 seats in the Europe's 785-seat parliament. The party wants to deregulate copyright protections, ditch the patent system entirely and greatly restrict government surveillance of Internet users.

Though not connected to Sweden's infamous Pirate Bay file sharing site, the Pirate Party has ridden a wave of popular support following April's conviction of the four Pirate Bay founders.

This is especially true among young voters. According to polls, one in five Swedes under 30 voted Pirate on Sunday.

"We are very strong among those under 30," said Christian Engstrom, the party's top candidate. "They are the ones who understand the new world the best. And they have now signaled they don't like how the big parties deal with these issues."

Launched in Sweden in 2006, there are now officially registered pirate parties Spain, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Poland, and Finland. But only the original Swedish party garnered the necessary votes to make it to the EU parliament.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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