“Copyright-infringing” downloads held legal in Switzerland: Go Swiss!

Swiss gov’t study: downloading leads to sales, so we’re keeping it legal

This nice post by Cory Doctorow in Boing Boing reports on a Swiss government study which was recently used by the Swiss to keep holding legal any “copyright-infringing” download if for personal use.

It seems to me a wonderful opportunity for other -more conservative- governments to review their own policies on downloading. The study in question shows basically that those who download “illegally”, do not end their money spending on media: on the contrary, it seems to be the exact opposite: they buy more copyrighted works, and they end up paying. But the study also shows that downloaders tend to go more frquently to concerts, thus reshuffling the obsolete equation of diminishing money because of dimishing sales. If sales (of CD’s) go down, the study shows, there are plenty of other opportunities for copyright holders to get payments for their work, if they deem so.

Last, the Swiss governmenr concluded that punitive measures, like France’s Hadopi law, may be disproportionate and should be repealed, based upon the UN’s stand that Internet access is a human right. Also, its cost, like the cost of enforcing any restrictive downloading measure may well be much higher than the economy lost to copyright-infringing downloads.

Conclusion: There is no universal legal basis to label as “illegal” any “copyright-infringing” download.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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