Sweden's Pirate Party had hoped to attend this year's Gamex game convention and had already laid the ground work to be there, but it looks like the political group was officially uninvited by organizers. Gamex is one of Sweden's biggest gaming events featuring exhibitions from all the big names in gaming including Activision, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Nintendo. The event took place over the weekend.
“The Pirate Party would have been in place inside the show, but now we will not be,” said Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg over the weekend. “We are simply no longer welcome.”
Troberg claims that sales people from the event encouraged them to attend "for months." After some discussions with event organizers they decided to book and pay for a booth. They also agreed to a package of advertising and hotel rooms. But late last week just before the event was due to start, the Pirate Party received some surprising news.
"On Tuesday afternoon, I called a representative of the show with a few simple practical questions, but she seemed generally stressed out and said something vague about the show and not wanting any problems before she hung up," says Troberg. "I thought it was a bit strange, but in the afternoon, the pieces fell into place when the fair manager, Bear Wengse, phoned me and kindly, but firmly, announced that the Pirate Party was no longer welcome at the fair."
According to Troberg's recollection of the phone conversation Wengse told her that the exhibition is "a meeting place and not a venue for political conflict." He went on to say that the party’s presence at the event could cause problems, particularly since some of their work could be perceived as "criminal."
Troberg said that she countered with the argument that, as a political party, the Pirate Party only wanted to change certain laws democratically, and that could not be considered a crime. Despite the argument, Wengse hold firm.
Apparently not all political parties were banned from the event. According to TorrentFreak, the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League (SSU) was allowed to appear – even though they also support the decriminalization of non-commercial file sharing.
Despite the exclusion, Troberg remained upbeat because the ban from the event brought even more attention to the political party. Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the first Pirate Party is also taking it in stride.
"I find it absolutely hilarious that a gaming fair banned the Pirate Party on the official pretext that ‘our culture is harmful to gaming’," Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, told TorrentFreak. "A decade down the road, people will just shake their heads at that. What else can you do, really?"