French 'pirate party' formed to oppose copyright law

Out-Law News | 06 Jul 2006 | 8:01 am | 1 min. read

A French 'Pirate Party' has been formed. Modelled on Sweden's Pirat Partiet, the Parti Pirate has been founded to fight for a loosening of copyright law in France.

"We, French Internauts, presently observe the confiscation, by a few partisan and powerful groups, of the French Internet Domain, therefore leading to a prejudice for the vast majority of Internauts," says a statement on the party launch at "The party demands the legalisation of P2P networks for non-lucrative use."

The party is modelled on the original Pirate Party in Sweden, which now claims to have over 7,300 members there. That party will contest September's general elections in Sweden and hope to reach the 4% of the vote which will entitle it to representation in parliament.

The French Pirate Party has made six demands at launch: total freedom of speech; the end of author's rights as currently constituted; the right to use the internet anonymously; the legalisation of peer to peer networks when not used for profit; the removal of taxes on blank media such as CDs; and free internet access for the entire population.

The party statement asks supporters to ignore in their everyday lives any laws which run counter to the party's beliefs. "We demand the abrogation of the whole set of laws that define intellectual property on the French soil and encourage the internauts to forget these notions in their everyday lives," it said.

The party opposes the DADSVI (Loi sur le droit d'auteur et les droits voisins dans la société de l'information) law currently awaiting signature by the French president. The law (which translates as 'the law on authors' rights and related rights in the informaiton society') was approved by both houses of parliament in France on June 30 but has not been signed into law yet by the president of France. A constitutional challenge to the law is still outstanding.

Sweden's Pirat Partiet says that it almost doubled in size following a controversial raid on the Pirate Bay site, which hosted links to sites containing copyrighted music for illegal downloading. The party was covered in the international press after that event, and in the aftermath, when legitimate companies claimed to have been damaged in the raid on a server farm.

There are pirate parties also currently operating in Italy, Belgium and the US.