Swedish Pirate Party Surges After File-Sharing Host Facility Raided

Following a police raid on the hosting facility PRQ that coincided with technical problems at the iconic The Pirate Bay, the Swedish Pirate Party is surging in member and activist count.

The day before yesterday, the colocation facility PRQ was raided, as reported by TorrentFreak and others. PRQ is known for hosting those who fight for freedom of expression to a level where it can get commercially inconvenient, but still is very protected by the principles of freedom of speech. PRQ hosts a number of smaller, indie torrent search indexes that are still quite large in their own right – though nowhere as large as The Pirate Bay, which had simultaneous downtime.

The arguably largest of the indie search indexes, tankafetast.com, decided to redirect their entire domain to the Swedish Pirate Party’s Facebook page in protest against the raid. The result tells everyone and anyone that file-sharing is very, very far from gone and replaced with Spotify-style streaming. It also gives a very interesting insight into demographics.

Being nerds and geeks at heart, pirates love numbers and visualizations. Therefore, the Swedish Pirate Party presents a lot of real-time data regarding its membership statistics (in comparison with other parties, that only state their member count at end-of-year – and take until March or so to compute it).

We observe, that while the Swedish PP has been hovering at about 7,600 members for the past year, it has now received 1,000 new members in 24 hours:

Closeup of the Swedish Pirate Party's member count statistics.
Closeup of the Swedish Pirate Party’s member statistics. Note that the Y axis isn’t zero-based in this graph.

The X-axis here is the date of month, so the chart stretches from September 3 to October 3, but plots are realtime as those days progress – you can see how the member count takes off and goes vertical on October 2, slows down slightly as the Swedish night approaches, then takes off again in the morning of October 3 (rightmost part of the graph). Based on the visual appearance of these graphs, surge events like this are fondly referred to as verticalities – it looks like the chart pilot just pulled the stick all the way backward and went vertical on afterburner.

The Facebook page itself also has a ton of new likes and subscribers, obviously, and posts there are getting shared far and wide – getting the kind of visibility an article on this blog doesn’t get even if it tops Reddit’s front page for a full day. The numbers are going nuclear, as is typical for a verticality.

Events like this have happened twice before, and although they were far more pronounced, they exhibited the same general signs. Those times, the membership count tripled in a week: the first time from 2,200 to 6,600, and the second time from 14,000 to 42,000. The first verticality was at the raid on The Pirate Bay on May 31, 2006, and the second was at the District Court’s verdict against the accused operators of The Pirate Bay on April 17, 2009.

(Following that, the Swedish Pirate Party got 225,915 votes in the European Elections on June 7, 2009, and two out of Sweden’s 20 seats – as predicted when founding the party, we were capable of 225k votes, and therefore, seats.)

But this recent data also tells us a lot about demographics. The copyright industry has long claimed that the people who are sharing knowledge and culture today are those who learned to share when they were teenagers, that these people are now in their late 30s or early 40s, and that teenagers today are not a “problem” in this regard. Hard data tells us that this claim is anything but the truth, as we observe the people who arrived at the Pirate Party and chose to sign up:

Recent recruitment demographics of the Swedish Pirate Party. Birth years on X-axis.

The X-axis is year of birth, upward bars are new recruitments, downward are members who drop out. We see here that while the recruitment of people born in the 1970s may be significant in absolute numbers, the habit and culture of sharing – as well as the will to defend it – only increases the younger people get, and increases sharply at that. The new recruitment peaks with those born in 1996. This birth year is no coincidence for a political party, actually: they’re completely aware that they’ll be 18 and voting in the next Swedish elections in 2014. (Those who are so young they can’t vote until the 2018 elections typically don’t sign up for a political party just yet, but it’s observable from the Facebook page statistics that the next four-year-wave of activists eclipse even the current round of first-time-voters.)

We can also observe that sharing of culture and knowledge continues to be a male-dominated activity, even though this has started to slowly even out.

So, the conclusions from this news event are, that when people’s ability to share culture and knowledge is actually prevented (rather than just talking about it from a political ivory tower), those people go political – and fast. We can also observe that there is no sign whatsoever of the younger people having different habits of sharing than the first wave of sharers who are now in their 40s – to the contrary, the phenomenon of sharing (and the will to fight for it) only keeps growing.

And just as this article gets published, The Pirate Bay has returned on line.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Jerker Montelius

    So. Next hedline. “Pirate party surge brings The pirate bay back online”

    1. Caleb Lanik

      TPB being down was almost entirely unrelated to the raid. Only the raid happening simultaneously with hardware issues in the main server led to the down time.

  2. […] boken The Case for Copyright Reform beskriver jag och Piratpartiets grundare Rick Falkvinge hur vi vill göra om upphovsrätten, varför det är nödvändigt att göra det, och hur artisterna […]

  3. jimbo

    as per usual, the information that is put out by the entertainment industries is nothing other than bull shit! the only ones that believe it are the ‘paid to do so’ politicians and law enforcers. they do so because they are used to being in the dark ages, like those in the industries, and refuse to accept progress. they are no different to those in days gone by that refused to believe that the Earth was anything other than flat; that refused to believe that the earth went round the Sun, not the other way round. in other words, whilst it is profitable for them to stay in the past, that is where they will stay! progress is something that only happens when it suits them and when they allow it to happen!!

    1. Colin Carr

      I think the politicians are worse than you suggest. They support the copyright monopoly either because they fear being put on a US Trade Rep shit list, or they fear losing those anonymous brown envelopes full of money or other goodies.

  4. Aelius Blythe

    Things like this make me optimistic – that despite the gargantuan efforts of powerful opponents attacking cultural institutions and pushing through anti-democratic legislation people can still get pissed off enough to fight them. Even that THEIR OWN EFFORTS lead to people getting pissed off and fight them.

    Just think, if the entertainment industries focused on serving their customers, the Pirate Party would be dwarfed. (At least, would have the same challenges as any other political group trying to get people to think about privacy, transparency, human rights……) But instead they have given us a gift. You can’t buy this kind of awareness.

  5. […] Party Surges After File-Sharing Host Facility Raided Posted on 2012/10/03 by NotSoCrazyNews Original post on falkvinge.net →   Comments on reddit.com →   Related PostsWikiLeaks’ And Pirate […]

  6. Galina

    How does the copyright industry substantiate the claim that “teenagers today are not a “problem””

    1. Anyone

      same as always, pulling numbers out of their ass

      1. Webster

        “Anal math” is a new concept, probably protected by some form of copyright since it is a corporate invention.

  7. Webster

    Funny how “Nejtillpirater”, the professional troll who always hangs out at pirate party blogs, is strangely quiet right now. Maybe his bosses cut him off?
    Anyhow:; the law was shaped by a bunch of business heavies leaning on a handful of soft politicians. All it takes to repeal it is an election win by the Pirate Party. We will change that law as soon as we get a chance. Voting pirate in the upcoming election will make this happen.
    So, young voter-to-be, do you want to see more of your friends being hunted by corporations and corporate police, or do you want to change society to fit your needs instead of the industry wishes? Your choice.

    Let’s stop praying for someone to save us and start saving ourselves.
    Let’s stop this and start over.
    Let’s go out. Let’s keep going.

    1. Scary Devil Monastery

      “Quiet” or has he simply changed his nick once again? I know I see a number of posts on Torrentfreak and Henrik-Alexandersson reminiscent of his style.

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    […] mer: EnRiz, Rick Falkvinge, Anna Troberg. […]


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