Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 12:24 UK

Swedish pirates capture EU seat

Pirate Party supporters
Pirate Party supporters celebrate their win in the European elections

Sweden's Pirate Party has won a seat in the European Parliament.

The group - which campaigned on reformation of copyright and patent law - secured 7.1% of the Swedish vote.

The result puts the Pirate Party in fifth place, behind the Social Democrats, Greens, Liberals and the Moderate Party.

Rickard Falkvinge, the party leader, told the BBC the win was "gigantic" and that they were now negotiating with four different EU Parliamentary groups.

"Last night, we gained political credibility," said Mr Falkvinge.

"People were not taken in by the establishment and we got political trust from the citizens."

The profile of the Pirate Party and issues surrounding copyright law have dominated headlines in Sweden over the past few months.

Rallying cry

In April, a court in Sweden sentenced the four men behind The Pirate Bay, the world's most high-profile file-sharing website, to a year in jail and ordered them to pay $4.5m (£3m) in damages.

Mr Falkvinge said it had played a significant role in getting them the vote.

Many people just don't see illegal file-sharing as a crime, however hard the media industries try to persuade the public that it's just as bad as shoplifting
Rory Cellan-Jones
BBC technology correspondent

"The establishment is trying to prevent control of knowledge and culture slipping from their grasp.

"When the Pirate Bay got hit, people realised the wolf was outside the front door.

"That happened one month before the ballot opened, so it had quite a rallying effect," he said.

Parties within the European Parliament tend to join one of the big voting blocs, otherwise their MEP can become marginalised.

Mr Falkvinge said they were still considering their position.

"We're looking at four different EU Parliament groups," he said.

"However, we're probably going to join either the Green block or the ALDE group."

The biggest loser in Sweden's election was the eurosceptic June List party, which saw its share of the vote fall by more than 10 points to 3.6% of the vote. The Left Party also saw its vote halved to 5.6%.

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