Rickard „Rick” Falkvinge

AAA

Date and place of birth: 1972, Göteborg, Sweden

Living place: Stockholm, Sweden

Theme: copyright law, politics

ECC Participation: panel member

photo: Carl Johan Rehbinder

Rickard „Rick” Falkvinge is one of the founders and leaders of the Pirate Party (Piratpartiet) - a radical political movement that, by acting under the pirate flag, wants to restore the Internet to its original state, when the exchange of information was completely free and the anonymity of Web users was not threatened. Falkvinge also demands the right to free access to intellectual property and the maximum reduction of the copyright term.

„Copyright is not a property right. It is a limitation of property rights.”

Falkvinge graduated in Natural Sciences at Göteborgs Högre Samskola in 1991; he also studied physics at Chalmers Tekniska Högskola. For some time he was a project leader at Microsoft, then he worked in smaller software companies. With the passing of time, Falkvinge devoted himself to public activity only.

In 2006 he formed the Pirate Party. This party fights with privatized monopoles, strives to abolish patents and, first of all, pursues the right to freely copy and use intellectual property for non-commercial purposes, especially in the Internet. It also opposes invigilation of citizens under the pretext of the fight against terrorism. Another field of its activity are efforts to prohibit the use of DRM (digital rights management) technologies that prevent copying music, computer games and films.

Falkvinge led the Party till January 2011. Until then, Pirates recruited more than 40.000 members and built a vivid youth organization, Ung Pirat (Young Pirate). Furthermore, the Party gained seats in the European Parliament – in the election of 2009, it got over 7% of Swedish votes, with 25% support among people under 30 years old. Sister parties have been established in many other countries, including Poland.

Falkvinge is also a supporter of The Pirate Bay (TPB, 2006) website that allows to download video materials, music, software, etc. It was used by more than 25 million users so far. Courts, due to accusations brought by film and record companies, ruled that the site should be taken offline. In response to that, demonstrations of many thousands were held in Stockholm.

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