Yesterday the Swedish “Pirat Partiet” (“Pirate Party”) actually made it into the European Parliament with 7.1 percent of the vote (see press release). According to exit polls, the Pirat Partiet got 19 percent of the votes cast by young voters (18-30 years of age). This is remarkable for a single-issue party. But while the Swedish results can to a large degree be explained by the enormous attention for copyright issues around the Pirate Bay trial, the German “Piratenpartei” got nearly 1 percent (about 230.000 votes), as well. There, the pirate party reached its best results in urban areas with large universities such as Bremen, Frankfurt or Gießen (read about the results of the German pirate party at (German) or in Google English).

Given the fact that the Swedish Pirat Partiet as the first pirate party was founded not before 2006, the global proliferation of pirate parties is impressive: Currently, the international pirate party site ( lists 23 countries “where you can find a Pirate Party, or where one is starting up”. All pirate parties share a principle opposition towards the prevalent copyright regime in general and criminalization of peer-to-peer file-sharing in particular.

As was mentioned by Teppo Felin at, pirate parties obviously are “an interesting setting to study organizing and movements.” Elsewhere (PDF), Sigrid Quack and I have also mentioned pirate parties as one important part of a broader, copyright related social movement. Still, this movement lacks a name. Suggestions and self-descriptions range from “free culture” and “access to knowledge movement” to “cultural” or “digital environmentalism”.

Independent of its labeling, some points can be made about this movement gathered around copyright related issues: First, it is the first social movement of a new generation of “digital natives”. This explains, second, why (free and creative) usage of the Internet is both means and ends of the different groups of actors carrying the movement. Third, it is probably the first social movement that was “born transnational”. Free and open source software, peer-to-peer file-sharing and Internet neutrality are inherently transnational – if not global – phenomena. And as the movement’s constituents are digital natives they are seemingly very open to and fast in adopting and adapting ideas and concepts developed elsewhere.