Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde to run for EU parliament

Sunde wants to reform current EU copyright laws

Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde is planning to run for the European Parliament in 2014.

The Pirate Bay co-founder wants to run as a candidate for the Finnish Pirate Party, he said in a blog post on Tuesday announcing his candidacy to the European Union's directly-elected legislative body.

"I am doing what I can to help solve the problems we have today just as well as the ones we will have in the future. That's why I've decided to participate in the election for the E.U. Parliament 2014," Sunde wrote, adding that he wants to reform todays copyright regime.

Sunde wouldn't call himself a politician but referred to himself as a socialist, a green and a pirate. "With my quite varied background as (among other things) a hacker, activist, artist and a DJ I don't really fit in to a normal political party. That's why I've decided to put in my candidacy with a party that, with being focused on few issues, fits what I want to achieve," he said of the Finnish Pirate Party, adding that he thinks that there is a huge opportunity to affect the E.U. which he would like to take part in.

Sunde's home country is Finland and he is a Finnish citizen, said Raoul Plommer, the Finnish Pirate Party's board member for international affairs, who added that Sunde also a Norwegian passport. "We approached him as well as a couple of other big industry names," Plommer said.

Kim Dotcom, who ran Megaupload and currently runs the new Mega file-storage service, was one of the other proposed candidates, said Plommer. Dotcom lives in New Zealand, but could be a candidate for the E.U. parliament because he is also a Finnish citizen and has German citizenship too, Plommer said. "But he declined to take part because he said he's too busy," Plommer added.

Dotcom faces an extradition hearing scheduled for August because the U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing him on charges of criminal copyright infringement, money laundering, racketeering and fraud relating to his role in the filesharing site Megaupload.

Besides Sunde, nobody else approached decided to be a candidate, Plommer said.

Sunde still has to serve an eight-month prison sentence in Sweden for his involvement in the torrent search site The Pirate Bay.

According to Plommer, Sunde's outstanding prison sentence is no problem for his candidacy. "It doesn't take a physical presence to run as a candidate. He just has to sign some paperwork," Plommer said, who added that he believed Sunde is living in Sweden at the moment.

Sunde's Pirate Bay conviction is not seen as a problem by the Finnish Pirate Party, Plommer added. "It underlines the problems we have with the current system," he said. Sunde and the Finnish Pirate Party both want to reform copyright laws in the E.U. "We are not against copyrights, we just want to make them more sensible," Plommer said.

According to Minna Ollikainen, European Parliament press officer in Finland, there are no problems with Sunde's candidacy plans. "Formally he's eligible," she said in a text message. Any Finnish national can be a candidate to represent Finland in the European Parliament (MEP), she said, adding that other E.U. nationals would have to live in Finland to do so.

"And the jail sentence is not a problem," she said, adding that if Sunde goes to jail now, he will be out before the elections.

To date, the Pirate Party has two Swedish members in the E.U. parliament: Christian Engström and Amelia Andersdotter.

Engström called Sunde's plans "very good news" in a blog post on Wednesday.

If Sunde is elected that would mean a big boost for a positive digital agenda in Europe, and it could help reform copyright, Engström wrote. It might be possible to get a majority for legalized file-sharing in the European Parliament next term, with the help of extra Pirate Party colleagues, he said.

The Finnish Pirate Party still has to vote on Sunde's proposed candidacy, said Plommer. That will probably happen in the last week of June or the first week of July.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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