Digital pirates are officially recognized by European governments with their own political party, fighting against the entertainment industries and what the Pirate Party’s leader, Rick Falkvinge, calls “copyright monopoly.”
Founded in Sweden in 2006 by Falkvinge, a Swedish entrepreneur-turned-politician, the party rapidly became the most popular political affiliation in Sweden for people under age 30. The Guardian calls it “the youngest, boldest, and fastest growing political movement” in Europe.
“In three years, they gained their first seat in the European parliament (they now have two) and became the largest party in Sweden for voters under 30. Since then they’ve gained political representation in Germany and swept large parts of Europe,” reports the Guardian.
The party fights against what it views as a “copyright monopoly” held by the record industry and Hollywood. What corporations call “IP theft,” Falkvinge and the Pirates see as an “infringement on a monopoly.”
“If it was theft and it was property, we wouldn’t need a copyright law, ordinary property laws would suffice,” Falkvinge told the Guardian in a recent interview.
Issues of online piracy in the United States also resonate strongly among young adults, often called “digital natives.”
A study conducted this month by the Pew Research Center found that while coverage of the 2012 elections was most popular with adults over the age of 65, and coverage of the Mediterranean cruise ship disaster was most closely followed by adults between the ages of 30 – 49, adults between the ages of 18 and 29 most closely followed coverage of the SOPA and PIPA battles in Congress.
Attempts to pass SOPA and PIPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate, were recently shelved by Congress after supporters of the legislation suffered massive blowback from online demonstrations that included protests by major websites and cyber attacks from hacktivist collective Anonymous.