The German arm of the International Pirate Party saw a momentous victory in this week's Berlin state elections, as the Internet activist group won 15 seats in regional parliament. The group-which was founded to promote privacy, free speech, data protection and file sharing online-won 8.9 percent of the vote, beating out chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner the Free Democrats who captured just 2 percent. Now the German Pirate Party will have government funding and a say in parliamentary matters as 15 of the 130 seats in Berlin's parliament are to be filled by Pirates. The party may have begun as a way to promote and fight for file sharing and data protection on the Internet, but the party's remit has expanded to include education and citizens' rights, ambitions to revamp patent and copyright rules and even plans for free wireless Internet. It's the biggest win for the upstart party since the European elections in 2009, when the original Swedish version of the party-founded in 2006-won a seat in the European parliament. A year later and the global coalition Pirate Parties International was officially formed in Brussels. Founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party Rick Falkvinge left a message for German Pirate Party supporters in a blog post, writing, "we all stand shoulder to shoulder in fighting for the next generation-one of us succeeding is all of us succeeding." "Tomorrow, people will look to your success, and the movement will grow yet more. You are the source of inspiration for the next wave of civil liberties activists." Read the comments on this post
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