Rickard ”Rick” Falkvinge (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈfalkˌvɪŋɛ]), born Dick Augustsson on 21 January 1972 in Gothenburg, is a Swedish IT entrepreneur known as the founder and first party leader of the Swedish Pirate Party. He is currently a political evangelist with the party, spreading the ideas across the world. He resides in |Sollentuna north of Stockholm.
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In the Fall of 2005, Rick Falkvinge started to consider creating a political party focused on the issues of file sharing, copyright, and patents. The dominating Swedish organization in the copyright debate at this time was the Pirate Bureau, which was not affiliated with any party. On 15 December 2005, Falkvinge registered the domain name piratpartiet.se (literally The Pirate Party), and on 1 January 2006, the party’s web site was launched through a message on a Direct Connect hub, signaling the start of the petition to register a new political party in Sweden. According to the party, the site got three million hits in the first two days, and in the morning of 2 January, the newspaper Dagens Industri published a notice about the initiative, followed by a longer article in the tabloid Aftonbladet after lunch. Falkvinge took out a large bank loan, quit his job at Cypak, and started working with building the Pirate Party full-time. This was the first Pirate Party in today’s international movement of more than 40 Pirate Parties.
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The success in the European Elections in 2009, where the Pirate Party achieved 7.13% under his leadership, catapulted Falkvinge and the top candidate Christian Engström onto every newspaper front page in the country, as well as making the top news on CNN, headlines on BBC, Reuters and others. Media described the election night party as ecstatic as the Pirate Party became the largest party by far for voters under 30, with 25% of those votes. Falkvinge called this success a re-ignition for the civil liberties fight in Europe and the world.
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The magazine Foreign Policy named Falkvinge as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2011. Falkvinge was awarded the Swedish Guldmusen award as IT person of the year 2010, citing his successes in bringing the Net and its consequences to the political table. He has been listed as one of the 100 most influential people in Sweden by Fokus magazine. Falkvinge has given presentations on his ideas in cities “from Aarhus to Zurich”. Notable appearances include Stanford Law School, Google, O’Reilly Open Source Convention and TheNextWeb. The Danish documentary Good Copy Bad Copy contains an interview with Falkvinge explaining how the Pirate Party grew as a result of the raid against The Pirate Bay on 31 May 2006. At the time, The Pirate Bay had no formal connections to the party. He also appears in the documentary Steal This Film.