Pirate Party Gets Observer Status at World Trade Organization

Pirate Parties International (PPI), the international umbrella organization for dozens of Pirate Parties worldwide, has been granted observer status by the World Trade Organization. PPI will join a host of major international players during the upcoming conference in Bali next month. The WTO's decision is a major breakthrough for the political organization, which hopes to influence decision making on key issues related to copyright and privacy on the Internet.

ppi-logoFollowing the launch of the first Pirate Party in Sweden the “Pirate” movement quickly spread all over the world, and not without success.

During the German elections earlier this year nearly a million people voted for the local Pirate Party, in Iceland the national Parliament has three Pirate MPs, and the Swedish branch of the Pirates currently has two seats at the European Parliament.

To coordinate the international agenda Pirate Parties International (PPI) was founded in 2010. The organization currently represents the interests of 43 parties worldwide, from China to Chile.

One of the goals of the umbrella organization is to facilitate international operation with other global organizations, to monitor and influence the political agenda. This week PPI took a big step towards this goal when it was granted observer status for the upcoming meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Bali.

The WTO Secretariat approved the application of the international Pirate organization, which means that it can participate in WTO conferences and related meetings. Observer status also allows PPI to submit papers to be circulated among WTO members.

Previously PPI was denied observing member status at the World intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) after several member states, including the United States, objected to its application.

Gregory Engels, Co-Chairman of PPI, says they have already sent a new application to WIPO, and he hopes that the recent developments will help the group to get accepted there as well.

“One of WIPO’s points of critique was that they were not aware of any existing cooperations between UN bodies and international political organizations. By being admitted to the WTO meeting we have created such a precedent. This is definitely a door opener for us,” Engels tells TorrentFreak.

In addition to WTO and WIPO, Pirate Parties International hopes to join various other UN organizations to raise their profile. The status as WTO observer is definitely a breakthrough, but also just the beginning.

“Overall I think that we need more connections with other international global players – NGOs and academia. By being admitted to Bali we have the chance to deepen those relationships and gain visibility,” Engels says.

“I consider the WTO conference an accolade for us in the field of international lobbying, and a door opener to more international participation,” he concludes.

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