4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture
Internet use in Sweden is among the highest in the world. In 2011, 89 % of Swedes had access to the Internet and 71 % used it daily. Of Internet users, 66 % used it to listen to music, 64 % used social media such as Facebook, 66 % used the interactive encyclopaedia Wikipedia, 40 % read blogs and 25 % participated in file sharing. These figures illustrate the drastic changes, opportunities and challenges posed by new modes of communication to cultural policy, as well as too other policy areas. According to recent studies, illegal file sharing is now increasingly outcompeted by legal services such as Spotify.
The major government priority on the information society has been education at all levels. Special funding for equipment and projects has been made available for schools in general and for educational programmes in museums and other cultural institutions. IT has become a tool in the daily work of all institutions, whether it is websites, digitisation of catalogues and online loans from libraries, documentation and registration of museum collections, use of digital equipment for stage and other music and drama performances, box-office sales, etc. IT has also become the natural medium for communication, networking, and creative expressions among artists in cross-cultural projects.
Specific projects deal with the digitalisation of the cultural heritage. The National Heritage Board is the main responsible government agency in this area, although a large number of public bodies are engaged in such work. Projects are also conducted by The Royal Library concerning the preservation of works published on the Internet. This work has however been criticised as being too slow and with having only limited funding.
A recently prominent issue in public debate has been the measures proposed by the government against illegal sharing and downloading of copyright protected material, such as Sweden's partial legal implementation of the EU directive IPRED (International Property Right Enforcement Directive) in February 2009. A lawsuit in the spring of 2009 against the Swedish Internet company The Pirate Bay, allegedly facilitating illegal downloading, raised international interest. In the 2009 election to the European Parliament, the recently founded Pirate Party was elected to one of the 18 Swedish seats (joining the Green group of the European Parliament). Since they failed to reach the 4 % necessary for representation in the national parliament in the general election of 2010, they have, however, been increasingly marginalised in public discourse.