Legalize It! Switzerland Says Downloading for Personal Use Is Okay

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While France keeps intensifying its anti-piracy clampdown, Switzerland keeps moving in the opposite direction.

Ahead of the weekend, the Swiss government declared that free downloading for personal use will remain legal, citing the results of a recently-released study.  “The Federal Council concludes that no legislative action is needed,” a publicly-issued statement concluded, as translated from German.

The action is likely to piss off an increasingly aggressive entertainment lobby, though the report runs contrary to most of their talking points.  The study, sponsored by the Swiss government itself, found that free downloading does not adversely impact overall entertainment spending, and sometimes increases it.  “The overall amount of disposable income being spent on entertainment remains constant, through shifts have been observed,” the report notes.

That is, despite a finding that roughly one-third of the population over the age of 15 actively downloads content for free.  But the report specifically pointed to subsequent purchases of concert tickets and merchandise, among other tangible items.

Which actually may make sense for the Swiss, a relatively wealthy group with often sizable piles of disposable income.  And, that means that Swiss cultural output is unlikely to be affected, which is really what matters to the Swiss government.  “This mostly affects foreign production companies,” the report conclusion continues.  “But they need to adapt to shifting consumer behaviors.”