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Pirate Party comes to the UK

File-sharing proponents target Westminster

A political party which aims to legalise file swapping for non-commercial reasons has been officially registered in the UK.

The Pirate Party has already won a seat in Sweden, home to controversial BitTorrrent search engine The Pirate Bay, after it gained 7.1 percent of votes. Now the party is recruiting members and seeking funding in a bid to gain a seat in the UK's next general election, which must take place by June 2010.

UK party treasurer Eric Priezkalns told Sky News: "The reason for launching a party is to give those people an opportunity to express their concerns about piracy, about privacy, and about how the mainstream parties aren't responding to that agenda."

The Pirate Party hopes to change copyright law, to decriminalise the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks to share music and video while still giving artists a "fair deal".

"With 21st Century technology and the way the laws are now there is no room for sharing. It's either you are buying or you are stealing. There is no middle ground," added Priezkalns.

The party also said it plans to campaign against the government's Digital Britain proposals that plan to tackle internet piracy by allowing Ofcom to request ISPs warn offenders of their illegal actions and possibly even suspend their internet access.

Other issues supported by the party include free speech and a stop to "excessive surveillance".

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See also: Pirate Bay to become a legal file-sharing site

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