Sweden's Pirate Party, riding a wave of discontent among voters who want a more unregulated internet, has won a seat in the European Parliament, according to early results from Sunday.
The Pirate Party captured 7.1 per cent of votes in Sweden in the Europe-wide ballot, good for at least one of the 18 seats Sweden holds in the 785-seat European Parliament.
The party wants to reduce government surveillance, deregulate copyright and abolish the patent system.
The party gained only 0.63 per cent of the votes in Swedish parliamentary elections in 2006, the year the party was founded.
Its popularity surged after the conviction in April of the four men behind The Pirate Bay, a website that connects BitTorrent networks to allow users to swap music, video or game files.
The four men were found guilty of "assisting making available copyrighted content," but they have since called for a retrial.
The party and the website are unaffiliated, but the website's legal troubles helped make file-sharing and copyright a political cause in Sweden. The Pirate Party is now Sweden's third-largest party by membership.
Copyright law also an issue in Canada
The trial attracted international attention to the issues of how copyright law is enforced and who is responsible when copyrighted works are shared contrary to those laws.
Copyright law has become a hot topic this year in a host of other countries, including Canada, France, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The last version of the Canadian federal government's copyright bill, which could have imposed serious penalties for illegal downloading, died when the government dissolved Parliament before last fall's election, but the Conservatives have said they will reintroduce copyright reform.
In May, the Conference Board of Canada recalled three reports advocating tighter copyright rules after University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist charged that the reports borrowed heavily from, and in some cases plagiarized, previously published material by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a music, movie and software lobby group.
The board had promoted the reports in a release in which they said Canada had "an unwelcome reputation as the file-swapping capital of the world."
In recalling the reports, the board said an internal review showed the reports "did not follow the high-quality research standards of the Conference Board of Canada."