Switzerland has looked into the issue of internet “piracy” and has decided to keep its law the way it is, apparently permitting the downloading of copyrighted works for personal use. Why? Because, the government’s report found, “downloading has no proven negative impact on the production of national culture”:
The overall conclusion of the study is that the current copyright law, under which downloading copyrighted material for personal use is permitted, doesn’t have to change…
“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 notes.
The government report further concludes that even in the current situation where piracy is rampant, the entertainment industries are not necessarily losing money. To reach this conclusion, the researchers extrapolated the findings of a study conducted by the Dutch government last year, since the countries are considered to be similar in many aspects.
The report states that around a third of Swiss citizens over 15 years old download pirated music, movies and games from the Internet. However, these people don’t spend less money as a result because the budgets they reserve for entertainment are fairly constant. This means that downloading is mostly complementary.
The other side of piracy, based on the Dutch study, is that downloaders are reported to be more frequent visitors to concerts, and game downloaders actually bought more games than those who didn’t. And in the music industry, lesser-know bands profit most from the sampling effect of file-sharing.
Punitive anti-piracy legislation hurts ordinary citizens and hurts the creators of content. Sure, parasitical management goons in Los Angeles might feel threatened when consumers can get around their self-destructive gate-keeping, but it’s actually a benefit to the community as a whole. Which is, after all, the justification for the creation of “copyright” laws in the first place.