• Swiss Government Declares Downloading for Personal Use Legal

    The government of Switzerland has issued a statement declaring that it will not take action to alter current copyright laws allowing the downloading of music and movies for personal use. The statement is the result of a lengthy study conducted by the Swiss government into the impact of so-called “piracy” on the entertainment industry.

    The entertainment industry has been complaining in Switzerland – as in the US and elsewhere – that the unauthorized downloading of music and movies has harmed their business. The situation in Switzerland is somewhat unique, in that current copyright law considers the downloading of content for personal use as acceptable and legal. The entertainment industry has been lobbying the Swiss government to change the law. This study is the government’s response.

    Despite the industry’s claims that downloading undermines their business, this study shows that the effect of unauthorized downloading on the industry’s bottom line is negligible. One key finding of the study is that downloaders spend as much if not more to acquire content legally as those who do not download. Researchers found no change in amount of disposable income spent on music and movies, despite the fact that roughly one third of Swiss people engage in some form of downloading. The government concluded, then, that no change to the current legal structure was necessary, and urged the entertainment industry to grow and adapt with the changes in technology and in consumer habits, rather than trying to suppress progress.

    Switzerland’s findings are just the latest in a series of reports showing that the downloading of music and movies is far less harmful than the entertainment industry would have us believe. In July Douglas C. Merrill, formerly of Google and then EMI, one of the three main record labels, said in a keynote address that his research while at EMI showed that users of torrenting service LimeWire were among the best customers in the iTunes music store. Around the same time, Telepolis published a report (Google Translation) stating that users of the recently raided kino.to website tended to pay more at the box office than the average moviegoer. Meanwhile, another study conducted by Northwestern University (PDF) showed that users of peer-to-peer client software – i.e., BitTorrent users – bring in a substantial amount of money for the large ISPs.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. temisturk's Avatar
      temisturk -
      Great watches, cute cheese and politicians who actually have brains! Lucky Swiss.
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      I want to say, isn't all that obvious? But I guess it's a big deal that an official government statement declares these commonly known truths.

      Though, the study probably focused on adults with disposable incomes. Basically, anyone that can afford your media and find it worth the price will throw a dime your way, completely independent of their downloading habits. Most piracy (in terms of bandwidth) is probably committed by U-18's who have no means of making purchases other than parental siphoning. So on the whole it might seem like piracy doesn't contribute to much income. The demographic is what the industries need to keep in mind, I'm shocked that some of them manage to stay in business.
    1. ulun64's Avatar
      ulun64 -
      The only politician in this world that's have brain.......is in Switzerland. No wonder Zurich is on the Top 10 World's most livable cities.
    1. animal_pak's Avatar
      animal_pak -
      My Family just came over and we (35 people) watched "30 minutes or less" on PPV, also i let them borrow the 7 seasons of the Sopranos on dvd that i purchased....why ALWAYS are millionaires/billionaires the most stingiest sob's on the planet? ..that's how they got rich.