French Pirate Party Will Fight for Parliamentary Seat

The French Pirate Party will present a candidate in an upcoming interim election for a vacant seat in the National Assembly, it announced Tuesday.

Parti Pirate, the French affiliate of Pirate Party International, sees the election as a way to raise the issue of France's so-called three strikes law, which will return to parliament again later this month after parts of an earlier draft were ruled unconstitutional.

That law, also known as Hadopi for the French abbreviation of the High Authority for the Distribution of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet that it created, calls for ISPs to first warn, and then disconnect, customers accused of downloading copyright works without authorization. It has been widely criticized -- including by the country's highest legal authority, the Constitutional Council -- for its lack of due process and its attack on the presumption of innocence found elsewhere in French law, leaving it to those cut off from the Internet to file a suit to have their connection reinstated. An amended form of the Hadopi law will be put to the vote later this month.

In the interim election in the Yvelines, located to the west of Paris, a 23-year-old engineering student, Maxime Rouquet, who has previously served as a local councillor, will represent the Parti Pirate. His deputy (each party must present two candidates) will be Laurent Le Besnerais, a game designer and member of the team coordinating the activities of the Parti Pirate and those of the Pirate Party International in France.

The party will campaign for a redefinition of the legal notion of intellectual property; the protection of civil liberties; a ban on the patenting of living organisms and the promotion of equal and open access to culture and information

Parti Pirate is not the first Pirate Party to stand for election. Its Swedish counterpart Piratpartiet won a seat in the European Parliament in elections in early June.

The French election will take place on Sept. 20, with a run-off round on Sept. 27 if necessary.

Seven other parties will also present candidates in the interim election. The July resignation of the former Minister for Housing, Christine Boutin, from her seat as representative of the 10th District in the Yvelines, triggered the election. Nationwide elections for the National Assembly are next due in 2012.

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