Switzerland considers a proposal to legalize non-market file sharing between individuals

The Swiss Federal Council has decided to initiate a study on putting in place a proposal of the State Council member Luc Recordon (Green) to legalize the non-market sharing of digital works between individuals based on a contribution by Internet subscribers (and hardware users). Here is an extract of his intervention in support of his proposal in the Federal Council: 1

We have already debated this question when Ms. Savary tabled a proposal that received a balanced and substantiated answer from the Federal Council. The path to the proper balance between the legitimate rights of authors and the new need, also very legitimate – extremely legitimate, should I say – to see information and culture circulate widely by electronic means is truly complex. It requires our searching for fine-tuned solutions. I tried to contribute by suggesting our using flat-rate based schemes (attached to hardware and internet subscriptions) rather than the classical author rights approaches. The latter now generally lead to conflictual situations, useless and difficult trials and would maybe result, as for the HADOPI law in France, in hindering the free circulation of information and cultural products.
I add a last remark to note that, most likely, one often overlooked aspect of the problem lies in the now exagerately strong position of cultural good producers.I do not mean that they are not valuable, but they tend to shelter behind the invocation of the right of “poor authors” in order to maintain a status quo that I described as unsatisfactory in our modern times. In reality, the authors do not obtain much benefits. It is precisely the large production companies [majors] who profit, even if one must acknowledge that today, with the Internet, some of them face difficulties, for reasons that come from the evolution of technology and the economy.
In summary, there are good reasons to make this study, and I warmly thank the Council for having proposed to implement my proposal [for a study].

This post is also available in: French

  1. My translation, thanks to Patrick Ausderau for the information. []

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