Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Next Sealand Debate

Sealand was an interesting oddity. With a supposed principality, the Bates family ruled their own oil platform declaring it sovereign while everyone else thought of it as a joke (Geography@About.com has the "rules" for being recognized as a country and relates it to Sealand).

Last year there was a fire on Sealand and everyone thought the harmless joke was coming to an end. When Sealand was put up for sale (officially a "transfer" because countries cannot be "bought" per se) it was reported as a novelty. Now; however, an interesting twist has been added to the play. The Pirate Bay, a Swedish file-sharing website like the Napster of the 1990s, is attempting to purchase Sealand. Pirate Bay is even offering citizenship to those who help by donating money. The motivation is if Sealand is a sovereign state then it can pass its own laws and Pirate Bay could be considered "legal" under Sealand land. That would make it much more difficult to shut the website down due to problems associated with international internet law.

Now this raises an interesting conundrum in my passed-down lawyer blood. If Pirate Bay seizes control of Sealand what will the Swedes (and others who wish to shut down the website do). The physical location of Pirate Bay would be out of reach Swedish law enforcement unless the Swedes waste time and resources doing a military-style assault on a few computer in the middle of nowhere. Or will the legal powers that be entertain the notion of the microstate?

Further down the line is what does a group truly have to do to get recognized. The Taliban controlled land, population, and had a bureaucracy but was only recognized by a few countries. Meanwhile the Somalian government had no territory under its control until recently but had United Nations recognition. Does a group have to blow up a few buses and become politically chic to be recognized? Catholicgauze simply does not know.

1 comment:

Emme said...

Hi, I started a pledge at pledgebank.com
http://www.pledgebank.com/buysealand
the idea is that you promise to donate 10$ to to buysealand.com if othe 1000 people will do it with you. Are you interested? If you are please sign the pledge asap because pledges with less than 25 subscribers are not even shown on the website!