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Friday, June 5, 2009

European Greens Want to Legalize File-Sharing

Written by Ernesto

Hundreds of millions of Europeans will cast their vote in the European elections this week. In Sweden, The Pirate Party is confident that it will get at least one seat, but they are not the only party aiming to legalize file-sharing for personal use. The Green parties in Europe are also known for their pro-sharing views.

The European Greens, which consists of many national Green political parties throughout Europe, currently hold 42 seats in the European parliament and aim to increase this number for the next term. While the Pirate Party in Sweden received much press coverage for defending The Pirate Bay and sites alike, the Greens were already doing the same thing in the European Parliament.

In 2008 the Greens launched a pro-filesharing campaign named “I Wouldn’t Steal”. The campaign clip they created (see below) was uploaded to The Pirate Bay. Their goal was to counter the anti-piracy propaganda put forward by the entertainment industry, and encourage people to download and share.

Greens “I Wouldn’t Steal” Campaign

This view is also reflected in the party’s principles and actions during the last term of the European Parliament. The Greens were one of the parties that managed to block legislation that would make it easier to implement “three-strikes” and disconnect alleged pirates from the Internet. In addition, they opposed the controversial and draconian IPRED legislation that would criminalize forms of copyright infringement.

“Greens fought against IPRED, which attempted to generalise the use of criminal sanctions in all cases of intellectual property infringements. Greens helped to make sure that criminal sanctions only apply in case of violation of intellectual property rights on a commercial scale and not for personal use,” they write in their Green Book.

The Greens have a clear picture of what the future “information society” would look like. Less copyright, more Open Source software, no software patents, a neutral net, no three strikes, open access to science and the legalization of non-commercial file-sharing, to name a few of their key points.

“Greens support an active vision of the Web as a platform for the exchange of information, with peer-to-peer groups in which each user can upload or download content and applications of choice. The non-commercial use of the Internet must be excluded from all sanction systems,” the Greens write.

On the other hand, the Greens oppose “any systematic surveillance of the net, because it is incompatible with the right to privacy.” So no spying on your download behavior by the entertainment industry or even your Internet provider, and thus no “three strikes” legislation.

For all the European TorrentFreak readers out there, whatever your choice may be, please go out and vote.