Swiss Government Opts to Keep Piracy Legal for Personal Use

As long as it's for fair use, people living in Switzerland have what amounts to a green light to download copyrighted music and movies without any repercussions. And as far as the Swiss government is concerned, copyright holders might as well go pound sand if they're not willing to adapt to the changing landscape. Piracy is, and will remain legal.

The Swiss government isn't being crass, but responding to a study it sponsored to determine the real impact of piracy and whether or not additional laws should be written up. Entertainment industries have long complained that piracy is a real problem that affects their bottom line, a claim that ultimately wasn't supported by the study.

"Every time a new media technology has been made available, it has always been 'abused.' This is the price we pay for progress. Winners will be those who are able to use the new technology to their advantages and losers those who missed this development and continue to follow old business models," the report states.

In other words, either adapt or go cry in a corner, because hey, online piracy comes with the territory in this age of the Internet. And in fact, the report acknowledged that around one in three Swiss citizens over 15 years old pirates music, movies, and games from the Internet. However, those that steal copyrighted material aren't spending any less as a result because the amount of disposable income earmarked for entertainment stays pretty constant, according to the report. What's more, the money they end up saving ends up being poured into concerts, movies, and merchandising.

Do you agree with the study, or do you think the Swiss government is being too lax with online piracy?
Via:  TorrentFreak
AKwyn 3 years ago

Score one for the people rooting for internet freedom, this is wonderful news!

Of course, the people who are downloading illegally should be ashamed but I'm glad for the internet as a whole, we should be free to express ourselves in any way possible.

ElvesBrew 3 years ago

I don't know why there is such a fuss made over so called piracy anyway. The reality is that most people that "pirate" movies, music, games or what ever tend to be very dedicated fans of what ever medium they are sampling. In other words, the same person that downloads the latest Twilight movie is also going to buy a copy when it comes out in Blueray and has probably already paid to see it in the theater or soon will and more than likely is gonna buy the t-shirt, will take notice of any advertisement that uses Twilight as a draw, and line up for the next chapter in the ongoing saga. The fact that they downloaded a copy off the internet has little to do with lost revenue but more about a loss of control over our viewing habits.

jonation 3 years ago

oh Switzerland. pave the way. thanks for some empirical evidence as well.

OMEGADraco 3 years ago

Wow this does not surprise me that the study showed that just as much money was being spent on entertainment. The problem is that the entertainment industry feels they could be making more money if people weren't pirating. Now I think they are wrong because then people would simply be spending the money on the media and not merchandise.

dejasoul100 3 years ago

Glad to see that common sense and economics won out in the end.

If you put out quality material, people will buy. Those who don't pay usually do not think the material is worth the money asked.

Pirates were never going to pay, so any measure "against piracy" usually just ends up putting hurdles in front of legitimate customers, which is another issue (customer service).

oasis789 3 years ago

This is great, having an unenforceable law makes no sense.

Der Meister 3 years ago

Nice! the RIAA and those the likes as the RIAA can take a long walk off a short pier as far as i am concerned. 

OSunday 3 years ago

Switzerland is just too amazing,I wonder if their policies on things would work on a larger scale in a larger country (U.S. anyone?)

I agree with the study, to be honest I've pirated plenty of movies games and software, but if it's something I've really enjoyed or liked I usually end up buying it anyways, along with merchandise etc. and if not, I get rid of it so its not like I'm really using piracy to steal, but test things out... not to mention I've spent money on a lot of things I wouldn't have otherwise (like movies or games) because I accessed them through pirated content first because it was free

Is anyone else enjoying the fact that one the plast most populous in pirates is one that doesn't even border an ocean?

Terrible joke I know but I couldn't resist it >:)

mhenriday 3 years ago

This decision on the part of the Swiss government, which is notable not merely for the common (not so common) sense it shows, but also for that government's willingness to resist the enormous pressure that the main front man for the so-called «rights-holders» organisations, the US government, must be exerting upon it in this case, deserves applause and support. Would that other governments in Europe, like ours here in Sweden, adopt similar policies, but alas, with few if any exceptions, they all seem to be in the hands of the MPAA, the RIAA, and their ilk....


gazd1 3 years ago

Here's a thumbs up to pirates & cowboys.Yes Good to read this article! Good to be informed! Cool

gloriad1 3 years ago

Yeah! I agree, all the way with pirates I say.

Manduh 3 years ago

I also feel the need to be honest. I've been downloading movies and TV shows for a while now, the funny part about it is, I have also been going to the theater a lot more since starting to download, also I have bought more blurays and merch. Before my downloading days I think I went to the theater 3 times in my life. I now go once a month (if there is something good out). Also if it wasn't for 'piracy' I never would have known about some of my favorite shows - (I rarely turn on my tv). Such as Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, True Blood, all of which I have bought shirts or other merch for. Not to mention I buy up their boxed sets when they are available.

So I agree, the industry claiming they are losing money because of piracy is BS. In the end it balances out because there are a lot more people out there who are like me. -Spending more now because of piracy-

Like Osunday said, a lot of people don't "use piracy to steal, but to test things out" If I download a movie and end up really enjoying it I will buy it, and I spread the word to my friends and family - who aren't downloaders. So they go out and buy or rent the movie to watch it themselves. I've also gotten them hooked on tv shows which I found out through piracy sites' top downloads section. So yes it does balance out in my opion and I'm glad the Swiss gov has realized this. Hopefully the U.S and Canada will catch on as well.

mhenriday 3 years ago

The use of the term «piracy» for these practices is a deliberate misnomer, designed to make them sound like capital crimes. Absurd !...



Aoshi 3 years ago

Well said Manduh,


I mostly agree. I know a few pirates and they see it as a "try before you buy" deal. I know that if I buy a game and it ends up being pretty bad, I'm $50+. However, with this policy, it's pretty nice to see if you like something then buying it. Granted not everyone does this and mostly just takes it for free without looking back. This is probably why people have such a huge problem with piracy. But it's the internet, it's getting bigger and bigger and piracy is part of it. 


The Swiss have it right. I'm just glad that the US recently allowed jailbreaking to be legal. 

AKwyn 3 years ago

I have to agree as well as I'm one of the ones who torrents to try something before he buys it. I mean in this world where previews of movies and games are becoming scarser and scarser; people are moving to BitTorrent in order to download something to try it before they like it; I understand their reasoning for the reasons why they might be against piracy as there are people who would sell this stuff on the black market for the profit but there are guys who would like to try it before they spend their money on it. I mean take for instance Duke Nukem Forever; there was no demo released for that game whatsoever so what would people like to do, download the game and try it out; and guessing by the reviews, it turns out people didn't like it as much as they did.

BitTorrent can also be used to catch up on their favorite TV shows; I mean not all shows are offered on Hulu and even though it doesn't feel right by downloading the shows on BitTorrent, it is a nice way for you to catch up if you missed any episodes or if you're in the middle of getting into a new season. I don't know about the shows on HBO or Showtime but it does feel somewhat wrong. I don't know where I'm going with this but I'm guessing the moral is is that people should be able to try something out and if they like it then they should pay the money for it. A big shame they don't offer more stuff to the public like this though.

I mean the internet is in full effect here, they shouldn't be trying to restrict the content for more money. I mean back then we had game demos galore and even a while back we had Hulu where episodes were posted a day after the episode aired; now it's more restricted, game demos are scarser then ever (even going so far as to be exclusive for consoles.) and people are becoming desperate. Instead of trying to live by the old model, they should try to think of a new model for which the people who buy their content will be happy and the people who make and distribute the content will be happy. I mean this isn't the 80's. This is the 2010's, and we need to start acting like we're in the future.

gimiesome 3 years ago

Thumbs up for the Swiss Gov......

FreeJet 3 years ago


rapid1 3 years ago

Scratching my head thinking about piracy being legal for personal use. Piracy is generally for the positive personal financial impact by definition is it not?

realneil 3 years ago

Swiss society has been forward thinking for a very long time. I'm just not surprised by this decision at all.

But I'll bet that the RIAA will now take steps to try to make the rest of the world ~comply~ for them.

Imagine now,.....suddenly all of the operators of the worldwide Internet backbone begin getting legal notices or adjudications to BLOCK any ISP's located in Switzerland. Smile

The RIAA are just the Azzholes to do it too.

Manduh 3 years ago

[quote user="realneil"]

But I'll bet that the RIAA will now take steps to try to make the rest of the world ~comply~ for them.

Imagine now,.....suddenly all of the operators of the worldwide Internet backbone begin getting legal notices or adjudications to BLOCK any ISP's located in Switzerland. Smile

The RIAA are just the Azzholes to do it too.


No doubt that you are absolutely right about that Neil!

omegadraco 3 years ago

[quote user="realneil"]

Imagine now,.....suddenly all of the operators of the worldwide Internet backbone begin getting legal notices or adjudications to BLOCK any ISP's located in Switzerland. Smile

The RIAA are just the Azzholes to do it too.


Especially with SOPA becoming a real possibility.

VVlad 3 years ago

i am moving to switerland

the only country in the world that has brains


and should remain free, let the corporation secure there products, do not limit or filter our internet connection.

realneil 3 years ago

[quote user="VVlad"]i am moving to switerland[/quote]

It's not an easy thing to do, moving to Switzerland,..........They have some tough requirements for citizenship there.

schmich 3 years ago

Moving =/= gaining citizen ship. It's pretty easy to move there if you choose the right international organization. Gaining citizenship is of course a whole other ordeal.

//a Swede who has lived all his life in Switzerland and who isn't Swiss (yet)

94_xj 3 years ago

I don't know about anyone else but the stuff I download illegally be it programs, movies or music is typically stuff I wouldn't have spent money on anyway. If I really want something and intend to keep it for a while I will go and buy the program/game/movie/CD...heck I buy enough stuff that I don't end up using anyway.

Me downloading say...a Katy Perry CD has no impact on her bottom line because I wouldn't have spent a flake of corrosion scraped off a penny on it otherwise.

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