how we began


Why are you called the Pirate Party?

Our name might seem silly at first, but you should remember everyone has been labelled a “pirate” at some point in the last few decades. Movie studios and recording companies place their propaganda in front of us at every chance they get, they waste your time with warnings on DVDs you’ve legitimately purchased or movies you watch at the cinema. They’ve told us over and over that home taping on to cassettes would kill the radio, that recording a TV show on to the VCR would bring an end to free-to-air TV, or sharing an MP3 music song with a friend will cause the end of musicians’ careers. The list goes on but here’s the important point: at every turn, at every change in technology, the rights-holders always say the same thing: ‘no, we don’t want you doing that’.

Internet freedom rally, Stockholm Sweden 3rd June 2006.

Internet freedom rally, Stockholm Sweden 3rd June 2006. CC-BY Jon Åslund

These rights-holders donate to our major political parties, they’ve lobbied for and changed our laws to protect their profits and their outdated distribution monopolies. They’ve had their hand in writing trade agreements and international law, all in a failing attempt to control how you access your culture online. This is how the Pirate movement began; as a reaction to the corrupt corporate, political, and rent-seeking encroachment on a free and open internet, and our democracy.

We’re about ending corruption and the return of politics by the people, for the people

Democracy benefits from transparency, discussion, and participation. We exist to campaign for a free society where civil liberties are respected and the rule of law is something citizens can trust will protect them. We believe in the right to privacy for individuals and the need for transparency for governments and organisations. Our government exists to serve the people and by fighting for these principles we believe it can.

When we think about the internet we don’t imagine a shopping mall first, we imagine a library. Humanity has reached the point where the cost to distribute the entirety of our knowledge, culture, and information is almost zero. So we have a choice: is this the moment we privatise and carve out for rent-seekers and profiteering our collective creativity? Or do we instead find a fairer way to reward creators while setting free our world’s knowledge, culture, and information so that everyone has a right to discover, learn, share, adapt, remix, and create anew? You can probably guess our answer, what’s yours?

We in the Pirate Party have simply decided that if sharing a love for culture, knowledge, and information with our friends and family makes us pirates, then that’s what we are and we’re proud of it. We’ve adopted as our own the very term used by rights-holders intended to demonise generations for the completely natural impulse to share discoveries with those around us.

We’ve claimed the Pirate name in the fight for a free, open and renewed democracy in the US. We hope you’ll join us.

Around the world

The first Pirate Party was founded in Sweden in 2006 by Rick Falkvinge, largely in response to a toughening of copyright laws and the raiding of the Pirate Bay website in June 2006. Pirate Party membership rapidly increased across Sweden and shortly Europe, with Pirate parties then spreading all over the world.

The Swedish Pirate Party went on to win two seats in the European Parliament election of 2009. 15 seats were won for Pirate Party Germany’s first Berlin state election in 2011, along with a number of other local electoral successes. The first national Pirate parliamentarian arrived in the Czech Republic Parliament in 2012.

Over in Iceland something amazing has been happening, the Icelandic Pirate Party formed in 2012 by Birgitta Jónsdóttir and won 3 seats in 2013 elections. In 2016 elections the Party more than tripled its seats, now holding 10 seats it is the equal 2nd largest party in Iceland’s parliament.

Pirate parties are now active just about everywhere, at last count Pirate movements have sprung up independently in over 45 countries around the world.


The text of this page was taken from the Pirate Party of Australia