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Swiss insist file-sharers don't hurt copyright holders

P2P still OK for personal use, government rules

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The Swiss government has ruled that downloading pirated copies of films, music and videogames for personal use will remain legal because it is of not detrimental to copyright owners.

Last year, the Swiss Senate ordered an investigation into the impact downloading may have on society, in case further legislation was required on the matter. The Federal Council has reported its findings, and effectively ruled in favour of personal file-sharing.

Drawing on results from a previous Dutch File-sharing survey, the report insists the entertainment world doesn't lose money because of piracy. While around a third of Swiss citizens over the age of 15 download pirated content, they don't spend any less money on entertainment than usual.

"The percentage of disposable income spent on consumption in this area remains constant," the report notes, though it points to changing patterns of spending: less on music, more on games, for instance.

The report also deems other countries' anti-piracy measures repressive and questions the legality of laws such as the three-strike Hadopi method imposed in France. With the UN labelling Internet access a human right, the report reckons Hadopi is far too harsh and should be repealed.

Any other Internet censorship, such as filtering or blocking websites has also been rejected as it would damage freedom of speech and violate privacy protection laws.

There's nothing quite like the blissful safe-haven feel to Switzerland is there? Last year, the Federal Court ruled tracking companies were not allowed to log IP addresses of file-sharers, making it virtually impossible to prosecute the casual P2P user. ®

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