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Swiss DMCA Quietly Adopted 137

Posted by Zonk
from the nothing-like-sleath-governing dept.
roady writes "We have seen a lot of talk over the years about the Canadian DMCA. But few know about the Swiss version recently adopted by law makers ... not even the Swiss people. The government and media have been very quiet, probably to avoid a referendum. Indeed, Switzerland is a direct democracy and if 50,000 citizens sign a referendum, the whole country will have a chance to vote against the new copyright law. In this version of the DMCA, sharing a file on P2P networks will land you one year in jail, even though the law mandates a levy on blank media. The history of the law is available online."
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Swiss DMCA Quietly Adopted

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  • Levy on Media? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by keirre23hu (638913) <j2k4realNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 30, 2007 @08:40AM (#21530989) Homepage
    I've never understood the rationale for this if copy will be illegal. Shouldnt the penalty for copying be paid by those caught breaking the law? I am curious as to a valid reason for paying more for all media, including the majority of which will not be used to break copyright law.
    • Re:Levy on Media? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Slashidiot (1179447) on Friday November 30, 2007 @09:34AM (#21531411) Journal
      Yes, it is certainly hard to understand. In Spain we have a levy on media (which can be bypassed by buying from an international store online), but it is LEGAL [wikipedia.org] to download copyrighted music, if it's not used for profit, only for private use. So, I can download every movie and every song on the internet, and I'm rightfully allowed to do it. To compensate, I have to pay a levy on media. Worth it, in my opinion, as this levy only affects CDs and DVDs for the moment, and not HDDs.

      This treats all spanish people as pirates, but says pirates are OK.
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        The reason in most countries with a political system that has not been corrupted by criminal corporate executives. I that there is no reasonable means by which a person can tell whether a work can be legally download or not. It would imply that very person who has access to the internet knows every one of the millions of copyrighted works and every one of the millions of legally authorised sites to download the copyrighted works.

        The law is wholly unreasonable, and as minors are the people the will most l

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Yeah, I don't understand Levy's either. The government shouldn't be responsible for ensuring a dying industry that employs very few people (compared to industries like Auto or Steel) remains profitable.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      What's hard to understand? They want your money, they can get your money, so they do. I think your mistake is expecting the government to play fair.
  • by llirik (1074623) on Friday November 30, 2007 @08:41AM (#21530997)
    How hard it is to strike down the law? If 50,000 citizens some petition or what not, would it be possible to hold a referendum?
    • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Friday November 30, 2007 @08:44AM (#21531015) Homepage
      If nothing else what happen if 10% of the people send in proof about their p2p activities? Will they jail them all for a year? ;D
      • My prediciton is that absolutely nobody who either participates on p2p, nor circumvents "technical copyright protections" will see a jail from the inside. Nor will anybody pay a fine of a gazillion bucks per downloaded file (alas downloading is and remains actually legal in Switzerland).

        The penal law provisions are (and that's my strict out of the ass guess) reserved for commercial purveyors of verboten software and for commercial mass offenders and not evene they will go to jail for a first offense (nor w

        • by aliquis (678370)
          Ok, the summary made it sound like 1 year of jail would be the default/lowest effect of breaking copyright law. If it's the maximum there are no worries.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Typically the difference between the maximum and minimum penalties is how much lawyer you can afford.

            I don't care if the penalty is there, but rarely used. If it is only intended for commercial violators, then it needs to be written that way and you should never rely on what 'typically' would occur.

        • The concern I would have is that Switzerland is being quietly "de-Suissed."

          What is that, you say? Yep, they're losing their GOLD (nationally) and their GUNS (likewise, nationally).

          Here's how. Back in the year 2000, one of the last stable (popular) currency on the face of the planet, the Suisse Franc, was taken off its Gold backing, and as I understand it, is now a free floating paper currency, subject to inflation like the rest of them. In other words, expect to see the bank panics of the West, FINALLY a
          • by darthflo (1095225) on Friday November 30, 2007 @11:53AM (#21533169)
            I totally disagree with more or less everything you said:

            1: "Suisse". If you're talking English, you meant "Swiss".

            2: CHF Gold backing: It's true the Swiss franc lost some of it's gold backing in 2000, but (other than, for example, the US Dollar) it's value seems solid as a rock in a moving sea of global currencies. An inflation of some 1% (according to your(?) governmental factbook [cia.gov]) supports this as well as Yahoo! data on exchange rates [yahoo.com].
            About that bank panics idea of yours: Remember the all-american Subprime Mortgage Crisis? Some swiss banks lost a few billion on it, some lower management positions will need to be restaffed, high management seems largely unchanged, the general public wasn't concerned at all. How well did british [wikipedia.org] and american [wikipedia.org] banks [wikipedia.org] cope with it?

            3: Disarmament: As opposed to some nation in the far west, a majority of Swiss people seems to be slowly realizing the idiocy of maintaining an overproportional army while surrounded by allied and politically stable countries. With a very recent incident of an army recruit shooting some girl he didn't even know out of the blue, abolishing the forced armament seems nearer than ever. There's no debate about prohibiting guns completely, merely talks about safely storing army equipment outside of individuals' homes. By the way: just a few months ago, in what probably is a first step in the disarmament, soldiers are no longer equipped with any ammo to take home with 'em.
            I realize that such events need to be put into perspective (during the writing of this post more people died of hunger than were killed by Swiss army weapons in the last decades), but if an action (forced armament) does not cause any good and very few deaths, it's still a stupid thing to do.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by DaedalusHKX (660194)
              Heh heh... yep, exactly the fun part, you've said it, as I watched it. And before you tell me "law enforcement is for safety"... this is no different than how the bureau of labor has actually shown that, for example, cops die on the job, at the rate of 2.5/100000 (from all causes, generally negligence and stupidity, not actual violence) while private sector individuals who don't have the backing of heavy weapons, legislative fiat and the authority to kill innocents without having the burden of proof (i.e.
              • by theolein (316044) on Friday November 30, 2007 @05:10PM (#21537855) Journal
                It's Swiss, in English, Suisse (the country) and Suisses (the people) in French, Schweiz (for the country) and Schweizer (for the people) in German, Svizzera (country) and Svizzeri (the people) in Italian and Svizra (country) and Svizers(people) in Rumantsch, you damn Amerikaner ;-)
            • by i.r.id10t (595143)
              For your #3, if you are speaking about the 2nd Amendment, remember that it is not there for self defense, hunting, etc. It is there so that the People can over throw a tyrranical government.

              OK, but when has that happened? As recently at 1946 in Tennessee... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens [wikipedia.org]
      • If nothing else what happen if 10% of the people send in proof about their p2p activities? Will they jail them all for a year? ;D

        No, just the first 50,000.
    • by llirik (1074623) on Friday November 30, 2007 @08:45AM (#21531023)
      Well, answering my own question. Wikipedia says

      By calling a federal referendum a group of citizens may challenge a law that has been passed by Parliament, if they can gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days. If so, a national vote is scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law. Eight cantons together can also call a referendum on a federal law.
  • wth.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kwirl (877607) <kwirlkarphys@gmail.com> on Friday November 30, 2007 @08:53AM (#21531067)

    quote:
    Switzerland is a direct democracy and if 50,000 citizens sign a referendum, the whole country will have a chance to vote

    how can america get one of these?

    • Re:wth.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680) on Friday November 30, 2007 @09:13AM (#21531205)
      how can america get one of these?

      Stop supporting the same old bullshit by not voting democrat or republican? That's my guess.
      • [I realize this is totally off-topic to the actual articl, but maybe not so much to this thread of posts.]

        In all seriousness, what would it take to create a _third_ party in the US, if one wanted to run for office but did wanted to be associated with neither Democrats nor Republicans? Would that even be possible under US law? (Or why not?)

        I mean, aside from the considerable cash required for any political campaign (under any system, in any country); assume one has enough cash to burn.
        • A different voting system. The first-past-the-post system we have in place sucks a lot, and utterly fails to select the most desired candidate except in cases where there are only two candidates. It also encourages voting "strategy" that further reinforces the two entrenched parties. Read up on wikipedia about Condorcet methods, Arrow's impossibility theorem, and related topics.

          It is certainly possible to create a third party under US law, for instance the Libertarian and Green parties are certainly le
        • In all seriousness, what would it take to create a _third_ party in the US, if one wanted to run for office but did wanted to be associated with neither Democrats nor Republicans? Would that even be possible under US law? (Or why not?)

          Sure, it can be done and it is done but not to the degree it would take to seriously compete with the large parties. We've had third party and independent candidates in probably every office in the US government aside from the president (and of course, vice president).

          Gett
          • by KlaymenDK (713149)
            These are all good responses! (I answered yours sort of at random.)

            Thank you all for your serious and enlightening answers. It's true that I'm not a USian, so I do lack a certain amount of understanding of the details, but even so I've learned a great deal, especially about the weaknesses of such a system. I had no idea there were independents and smaller parties, what a shame it seems to be so futile.

            Thanks for explaining!

            Mind you, proportional representation is not without its quirks, either:
            In Denmark it
        • by MrHanky (141717)
          There are several alternative parties already, Green and Libertarian perhaps the better known. The problem is that the whole electoral system [wikipedia.org] is designed for a two party system, and since none of the parties that can change this has any interest in changing it, it won't be changed.
          • by runderwo (609077) *
            The electoral college is irrelevant if you are running for an office other than President.
            • by Mr2001 (90979)
              He means our system of elections (the "plurality" or "first past the post" voting method), not the electoral college. When you have individual candidates running against each other, each voter only selects one candidate for each office, and the winner is simply the candidate who gets the most votes, you end up with a stable two-party system [wikipedia.org].

              To allow third parties to succeed, you either need to have proportional representation (seats are divided up among all the parties in proportion to the number of votes t
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mr2001 (90979)

          In all seriousness, what would it take to create a _third_ party in the US [...] Would that even be possible under US law?

          Sure, the law doesn't prevent other parties from existing. There's already the Green Party, Libertarian Party, Constitution Party, and plenty of smaller ones. They rarely win elections, though, especially at the federal level.

          What stops the US from having viable third parties is our election method (plurality voting). If we had proportional representation, where getting 5% of the votes means your party automatically gets 5% of the seats in Congress, or if we used approval voting or ranked choice voting wit

          • What stops the US from having viable third parties is our election method (plurality voting).

            The British House of Commons also uses first past the post.[1] [bbc.co.uk].

            In 2005 in Britain, Labour won 356 seats and the Conservatives 198. The Liberal democrats, a "3rd" party, won 62. Nine other parties won seats.[2] [bbc.co.uk]

            While first past the post is indeed a horrible system, the problem in the USA is more that the psychotic voters keep voting for the the Republicans and Democrats.

        • In all seriousness, what would it take to create a _third_ party in the US
          In Massachusetts we would be happy if we could create a _second_ party.
        • "aside from the considerable cash required for any political campaign (under any system, in any country)"

          I'm not sure what cash would be required from a candidate in a system where the government controls the elections and provides every candidate (with enough petition signatures) with a specific amount of funds, to be used as decided by the candidate (whether through speeches, debates, advertisements, etc), and prohibits the candidate from fundraising (and making anti-democratic promises to wealthy spec
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pev (2186)

      quote:
      Switzerland is a direct democracy and if 50,000 citizens sign a referendum, the whole country will have a chance to vote

      how can america get one of these? Well, you could invite Switzerland to send some of their reservists to spread freedom and democracy. It worked in Iraq so maybe it could work for you too?
    • Switzerland is a direct democracy and if 50,000 citizens sign a referendum, the whole country will have a chance to vote...

      how can america get one of these?

      I'm not a citizen of the U.S. so I'm not sure, but I think that was one of the reasons you guys (and gals) collectively retain/fight to retain the right to bear arms, that you can effect a change of government or its policies.

      Obviously I'd have to suggest that you first petition your senators and representatives (using letters, email or money; whichever you think best)but, ultimately, and this seems true of Britain too, it seems that the Government stopped listening quite

    • by Ochu (877326)
      As a Politics major, let me just say, America has some serious problems to sort out before it can even think of instituting direct democracy.
      • Re:wth.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by peragrin (659227) on Friday November 30, 2007 @09:39AM (#21531451)
        Direct Democracies tend to fall apart with large numbers of people. Switzerland has ~8 million people. New York city alone has 8 million people.

        The problem becomes numbers of people that need to be involved.

        though America's democracy is in need of overhaul. eliminating the electoral college is a start. term limits would be a solid second. Politicains shouldn't be a life time job, but a temp job, maybe a decade or so of service.
        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I am still waiting for a proof of this claim. Not a lot of people know about Switzerland's system. When I talk about this system (without mentionning it's Switzerland's) people usually say "That could work for a small town, but not for a country with millions of inhabitants". Then I tell Switzerland uses this and it is indeed "Oh, well maybe 8 millions, but not more then 100 millions".

          Sounds like a comforting lie to me.
        • Re:wth.... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday November 30, 2007 @11:07AM (#21532569) Homepage Journal

          though America's democracy is in need of overhaul. eliminating the electoral college is a start.

          The electoral college is irrelevant. The number of cases in which it changes anything is small, and many people agree with the reasoning behind it anyway.

          What would really improve America's democracy is to make it smaller. That is, to shift whatever power the federal government doesn't absolutely need (per its constitutional duties and powers) to the states, and to encourage the states to shift as much power as makes sense to municipalities, where direct democracy works well. The first thing we should do is repeal the 16th and 17th amendments. Go back to requiring the federal government to get its funding from the states, and make the senate beholden to the state legislatures whose responsibility it is to raise the funds, and power will quickly shift back where it belongs.

          Instead, we should amend the constitution to apportion the expenses of the federal government to the states proportionally to state GDP (rather than proportionally to population to avoid overburdening poor states), and requiring the states to pay the bill, regardless of the effect on their own budgets. That will shift the deficit spending to the state level and avoid disturbing the funding of current federal programs, unless and until the programs are changed, eliminated or moved through legislative action.

          Of course, none of it will ever happen, but elimination of the electoral college won't either, and my suggestion would actually accomplish something.

        • by beh (4759) *

          Direct Democracies tend to fall apart with large numbers of people. Switzerland has ~8 million people. New York city alone has 8 million people.

          The problem becomes numbers of people that need to be involved.

          I keep hearing this argument, but those that give it usually have no idea about how democracy works in Switzerland... Even Switzerland would come to a complete stop, if everyone had to vote whether to build a new townhall in a village of 300 people most Swiss hadn't heard about - that is why they have 3 'layers' where laws can be set (including taxation) --

          1. there are national referenda (e.g. do we want to allow abortion?, or the national income tax, ...)

          2. there are cantonal ('state') referenda, whic

          • by peragrin (659227)
            think about it, if 50,000 people can force a national vote on a topic, the Hell's Angels could force a nation wide vote.

            The economies of scale dictate the problem. For a nation wide referendum you need to be able to represent the minorities. The problems is the miniorities in the USA are significantly larger. Though It would likely work up to the state level.

            As for the electoral college Bush never would have gotten elected if the popular vote actually counted for something, If Peoples votes in the presi
            • Actually, that's not true. Switzerland is a country of minorities. Here's some things you probably don't know: (see for example) href= http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland [wikipedia.org] Switzerland has 4 legal languages: german, french, italian and romansch. Resident foreigners and temporary foreign workers make up about 21% or the population. Of the remaining 79%, german speakers 63%, French 20.4, Italian 6.5% and Romanch 0.5%. Each language group has a very distinct culture, and you notice the differences e
              • by peragrin (659227)
                I do agree America is in need of a major overhaul. I just don't see it happening without a major war. there is far to much greed in the current system to allow a change like that with out a major exterior force.
                • This is getting pretty off topic, but I wanted to reply to the "without a major war" comment. I hear this all the time, and it's pretty frustrating.

                  When I try to get people active in American politics, there are two common arguments given not to get involved. The first is that things are more or less ok, the people in charge must know what they are doing, there isn't really a problem, things are as good as they can be, or some variant thereof. The second argument is "Yeah, but things are so fucked up a

            • by beh (4759) *
              Ehhmmm... You have never really thought that set absolutes might also depend on some other conditions?

              In Switzerland, 50.000 is a fairly significant number - it's more than 1 in 200 of their population signing up for something.

              Obviously, in a country with 300.000.000 you might want to set this number proportionally higher.

              Similarly, while someone might be able to force a debate, that does not mean those people would also be able to force through some measure or other -- for that they still need the majority
        • Politicains shouldn't be a life time job, but a temp job, maybe a decade or so of service.

          I support term limits for various positions. But I think it would be very foolish to force someone out of politics all together after so long. The wisest and most competent people are usually the people with the most experience.

          That's one of the reasons why, though I don't agree with everything Hillary Clinton stands for or did as Governor, I think that she is one of your better choices. She lived in the White House an
          • by compro01 (777531)

            The wisest and most competent people are usually the people with the most experience.

            The most corrupt also tend to be the most experianced. Obviously, balance needs to be found.
        • Direct Democracies tend to fall apart with large numbers of people. Switzerland has ~8 million people. New York city alone has 8 million people.

          The problem becomes numbers of people that need to be involved.
          He said "how can America get one of those". I say try it in Washington state. You have the proportional population of Switzerland, and big pointy mountains too. Then America will have one of those "Swiss-style democracy" thingies.
        • by LuSiDe (755770)

          Direct Democracies tend to fall apart with large numbers of people. Switzerland has ~8 million people. New York city alone has 8 million people.
          Define `direct democracy'. Define `large numbers'.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It sounds like a great idea (more power to the people and all), but you have to be careful about the details of the implementation. If a well-meaning but vocal minority can force consideration of an issue by getting "only" 50000 signatures, is that truly a good thing? In Switzerland, 50000 might be a reasonable number for a petition like this, but in a larger country, the number would have to be much larger.

      Even then, if there is inadequate participation from the general population you can get the same ki
      • Re:wth.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by darthflo (1095225) on Friday November 30, 2007 @10:37AM (#21532181)

        So, be careful what you wish for.
        You probably have gotten the idea wrong, a petition, referendum or popular initiative don't cause any change on their own. Let me explain:

        A petition is the weakest of the three possibilities. Anyone (minors, companies, you name it) can start one and gather however many signatures he/she/it deems necessary for any purpose whatsoever (e.g. changing "Stockwell" to "Doris" in Mr. Day's name). The government only needs to acknowledge the existence of such a petition, period. There's no need to discuss it, comment on it or do anything at all about it apart from acknowledging it.

        A referendum (signed by 50'000 out of some 7.4 million in the course of 100 days) forces a national vote on a recently-instated new law. Still, more than 50% of all voters participating in that vote will need to "nay" it in order for it not to be instated.

        A public initiative (signed by 100k in 180 days) triggers a national vote about any issue at hand. If i can get 100k people to agree that all cars need to be yellow, the government is obligated to include this question in the next round of public voting. To date, some fifteen out of some 150 initiatives have been accepted in such a vote, chances are slim.

        Of course, all details mentioned herein refer to the Swiss system (and IANTooFamiliarWithAllThis, so I may be wrong in some, many or all points), which I find to be rather nice (especially when compared to some other ones).
        • A referendum (signed by 50'000 out of some 7.4 million in the course of 100 days) forces a national vote on a recently-instated new law. Still, more than 50% of all voters participating in that vote will need to "nay" it in order for it not to be instated.

          Dude, you pretty much nailed it. Maybe it's worthwhile adding that the threat of a referendum by pressure groups or a political party can have a substantial influence on the legislation process. Pessimists would call it watering a law down, while a more optimistic person interprets the process as compromising.

          Overall it has (imo) a positive effect, since it prevents the executive of going bonanza (which they tried, when the executive shifted more to the right and got viciously whacked down in the next f

      • by mdwh2 (535323)
        One thing I like - if I'm understanding it correctly - is that this is a system used against new laws, but not to introduce new laws.

        The bad problems with direct democracy are when bad laws are introduced - this could mean that the majority persecute minorities, or as you say, a vocal minority gets to manipulate the laws whilst an apathetic majority lets them.

        But if this as an additional way to block new laws coming through, then that seems a much better way of doing it - passing a referundum would be a nec
        • by darthflo (1095225)

          If this applies to law amendments, which sometimes try to correct existing bad laws, then that wouldn't be a good thing.
          It applies to all law changes. Don't forget the law should be made for the people it affects, not against them. If a majority of them don't like it, the law is bad. Simple, really.
    • by goldaryn (834427)
      > > Switzerland is a direct democracy and if 50,000 citizens sign a referendum, the whole country will have a chance to vote

      > how can america get one of these?

      According to Wikipedia, Switzerland has 7,500,000 inhabitants. If calc.exe serves correctly, 50,000 is less than 1% of the population - (assuming they all have the vote). How cool is that?.

      Now, how do we get that without all the very suspicious gold, crazy women and high levels of gun-related domestic violence...

      (America jokes i
      • assuming they all have the vote

        They don't.

        Foreigners are usually not eligable to vote (a few exceptions on communal level) and Switzerland has ~ 20% foreigners.

        In addition you must be 18 to vote on a federal level.

        50000 sounds very low (it's 100'000 for a constitutional referendum) but in practice it's harder to get it going then it sounds.

        Democracy is a serious business in Switzerland (with ~3 annual referendums) and people don't look kindly on joker-initiatives.

        Nevertheless, a few interesting referendums actually where either a

    • by MrSteveSD (801820)
      I think stage one would have to be to get rid of the First Past the Post system and introduce Proportional Representation. Cool stuff like population instigated referenda would be next on the agenda.
    • by homer_ca (144738)
      Many states already have ballot initiatives where people can vote directly on passing state laws. IME the majority of state ballot measures are pretty stupid laws. Once in a while, the voters get a real chance to send a message like with medical marijuana. In all cases, the campaigns for ballot measures are just as dirty and expensive as campaigns for political office. It's not power to the people. You'll need some serious financial resources to get a state ballot measure passed.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday November 30, 2007 @08:57AM (#21531081) Journal

    They are the beneficiaries of this new law. That has been the problem with the copyright laws from the beginning, those who form the public opinion (Not just news agencies, but media in general) are in mostly FOR these laws.

    Take Futurama, it shows a future that is truly nasty where nobody has any morals whatsoever. What is the ONE thing they all seemed to get worked up about, the one time the show tried to send a morale message? The evils of napster and how the geeks enslaved those poor stars.

    Expecting the media to report on this kinda stuff is like expecting a news story on "newsreaders make way to much money new study shows. Could be replaced by trained chimp".

    What next, expect politicians to rant about their own pay increases?

    • by gazbo (517111)
      What is the ONE thing they all seemed to get worked up about, the one time the show tried to send a morale message? The evils of napster and how the geeks enslaved those poor stars.

      How could you possibly not see how tongue-in-cheek that episode was?

      • by bmorton (170477)
        I'm more astounded that GP cites that as the ONE time the show had a moral message...
    • Prostitutes preaching chastity and morality?
  • As almost the entire ministerial contigent from India goes to Switzerland, France and generally all places Europe to "Study" the laws and processes established there(preferably Summer Junkets and such), I know what to expect here when they eventually come round to it.
    Though people are doing good work here, trying to get those bums an inkling of the issues involved is like banging against a wall (in fact all the more better for it at least for 5 years or so :))

    But this is very very ominous and does not bode
  • What the hell is sleath? Is that supposed to be "stealth"?

    Maybe that's how they spell "you're screwed" in Switzerland.
    • by Kirth (183)
      Nope. But we might spell it "jetzt häsch verschisse" (non-literal translation, because "schrauben" hasn't the same connotations as the english "screwing").
  • Strange that both Canada and the Swiss governments have put in DMCAs as we here in america are increasingly calling for it to be repealed. Really is there any reason for this "law"? Or is this just another "WE MUST ACT" legislation that was misunderstood by the governments and poorly written? I hope that their Pirate Party over there will start rallying for a referendum to get that taken out.

    Also does this affect (/directly attack) The Pirate Bay?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by neokushan (932374)
      I think you're confusing Switzerland with Sweden.
      • Actually he isn't.

        The pirate party in Switzerland is run by master criminal Heidi.
        She is well known for having a huge media stash up in the highlands at her Grandfathers shack.

        Her internet connection runs on the immensely popular (in Switzerland) and fast IP over Yodel protocol.
    • by modir (66559)
      The Pirate Bay is in Sweden. This article talks about Switzerland.

      You should attend some geography classes again. :)
    • Also does this affect (/directly attack) The Pirate Bay?
      Ouy. Rule number 43 of posting to slashdot: Read carefully before posting. Rule number 104: thou shalt not post will still half asleep.

      Switzerland != Sweden. TPB is in Sweden not Switzerland. So it doesn't affect them at all. But on a related note does the Swiss have a party similar to the Pirate Party?
  • I know some people who live there and I have been there several times myself, and one thing you can be certain of is that the Swiss government does everything it can to screw people. And if it weren't for the tourists whose money they need, they would close their borders completely.

    It is on my list of nations where I never want to live (right below the US if you're interested).
    • by Sciros (986030)
      No we're not really interested but yeah it's cool that you don't want to live here there's enough nubs around as it is and enough good folks working hard to make their way over.
  • by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Friday November 30, 2007 @09:10AM (#21531181)
    they are not that bad really...
    if these kind of things go into action we'll have geek prisons. Where you'd have no contact with outside world, and you have to play games, and dnd whole day....it'd be like in your room...only your mom wouldn't nag on you all the time to go out and play in the sun.

    I am tempted to say 'sign me up'....
    • by Anonymous Coward
      They're not bad indeed. From what I know they're nicer than anywhere else in the surrounding countries, but keep in mind that like in the rest of Europe, they're getting badly overcrowded - packing up to six inmates in cells originally designed for one. The authorities have plans to build new prisons.

      What is going to be needed is much more than geek prisons. If governments keep finding new, twisted ways to put people in jail, there is a foreseeable need for prisons dedicated to those incarcerated for treadi
      • by Kirth (183)
        280 people per year killed with army weapons actually, it was rounded up for publicity reasons.

        BUT of those 280, 260 are cases of suicide!

        And this is extremely low; of all 1500 homicide and suicide-cases only this many? And moreover, there are an estimated 535'000 army-weapons (mostly assault guns, some pistols) in the homes of the population.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by afedaken (263115)
          Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

          Phila. leads big cities in murder rate [philly.com]

          We had 406 MURDERS in our city of about 1.5 million for 2006. (The gamer in me wants to scream NEW HIGH SCORE!) This doesn't even include the suicides. If all you're working with is 300 gun related deaths in a population of 7.5 million, most of which were suicides, allow me to say that I'm more than a bit jealous.

          It's not quite enough to get me to move, (I still love this area, and roots are all here) but it seems to me y'all got it pre
  • you are lucky enough to be able to veto any insane laws passed by your parliament. get organised and do it.
  • So will the shit hit the fan now? Maybe someone will read this on slashdot or on TFA and start a referendum.
  • Thank you lawmakers all over the world for criminalizing the young. I'm sure they will feel really bad about breaking other laws as well
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Thank you lawmakers all over the world for criminalizing the young. I'm sure they will feel really bad about breaking other laws as well
      It's not just the young, it's everyone. And yes, I think people everywhere are becoming less concerned about breaking laws...

      The greater the number of laws and enactments, the more thieves and robbers there will be. ~Lao-tzu
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I wonder why the OP wishes to conflate the ideas of media levy and whether or not it is legal to share.

    AFAIK (and IANAL), the new Swiss law also stipulates that there is no crime in downloading or possessing copyright material.

    The levy on blank media applies to those who would download and store media, who are not committing any crime in doing so.

  • The law still allows copies for private use and even allows breaking DRM/copy protection if the intended use is legal.

    The only problem is that under the new law nobody is allowed to distribute the tools for breaking the DRM/copy protection.
  • Here http://www.nzz.ch/nachrichten/schweiz/aktuell/urheberrecht_fuer_das_internetzeitalter_1.561418.html [www.nzz.ch] It is reported that that one can still download music as long as it is for personal use. Can someone show me where it is said there is jail for P2P downloads? I am reading the text of the law and am not seeing it. What is illegal is for me to bypass the region coding that I have on half my DVD's so that I can watch them on my computer.
    • Can someone show me where it is said there is jail for P2P downloads?

      This is strictly my interpretation, but: Since protocols like Bittorrent depend on the fact that downloaders also upload, so you're, at the very minimum, in a grey area, legally speaking.

      The good news is that downloads from ,for example, a slightly sinister Czech FTP server, or from services like allofmp3 are still perfectly legal.

    • by darthflo (1095225)

      What is illegal is for me to bypass the region coding that I have on half my DVD's so that I can watch them on my computer.

      Negative. Bypassing protection seems to be unchangedly legal as long as it's done to consume the work in a legal manner. Clearly speaking: Using DeCSS to watch or back up DVDs is perfectly legal; commercially copying copyrighted DVDs isn't.
      Unfortunately, creation and advertising of products to circumvent protections appear to be outlawed. Effectively private copies are thus limited to

      • This may be a slippery slope towards trying to forbid usage of the tools as soon as the general public forgets about them being available in the first place.

        I'm living in Switzerland and I can assure you that the Swiss public isn't likely to forget about the existence of these tools.

        The reason why we got a relatively liberal version of the anti-circumvention law is that the politicians were afraid that otherwise there'd be a successful referendum.

        As long as we don't do something stupid like e.g. joini

  • by fest321 (757101) on Friday November 30, 2007 @10:03AM (#21531759) Homepage
    The article by boing-boing is 100% inaccurate. Ok, make that 90%, there as been a revision of the copyright law in Switzerland. But beyond this basic fact, the situation is very different. The new copyright law is, compared to the US and the EU, very liberal. Not liberal enough for my taste, but way more so than others. For example, downloading files for personal use is explicitly allowed. It is explicitly allowed to break copy protection technology, as long as you use the file for legal purposes (private copy, education etc). Admitted, the law has its share of absurdities -- downloading is permitted, uploading is prohibited -- but still, it's so liberal, that the "International Intellectual Property Alliance" put Switzerland on its watchlist [allmend.ch] for it. Also, there has been real public debate about it, with resistance from political parties on the left, as well as free software groups, ngos [allmend.ch], and even artists [kunstfreiheit.ch]. The fact that the discussion did not take place in English but in German, French and Italian does not mean that it did not take place at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CaptainZapp (182233) *

      downloading is permitted, uploading is prohibited

      The reasoning for that is that the burden of figuring out if a service is legal or not can not be put on the consumer. I.e. a consumer doesn't necessarily know the legal difference between the Itunes store and a service like allofmp3 (which, alas, is perfectly legal in Switzerland.

      How liberal the law actually is is very easy to detect: Just observe the foaming and frothing of the resident IFPI dudes...

    • Thank you for your comprehensive and accurate summary of the situation in Switzerland. As mentioned by fest321 the article on Boing-Boing is nonsense.
  • isnt rapidshare.com/de based in switzerland?

    and if so they are soo screwed as everyone knows 99.9% of files they host are illegal
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by darthflo (1095225)
      Apparently, RapidShare.de is based in Germany, RapidShare.com in Switzerland. The servers of both domains seem to be located in Germany (which is, coincidentally, widely known for cheap bandwidth and server hosting/housing). The current legal situation after some battles with the GEMA (The german equivalent to the RIAA) seem to be DMCAy to me RapidShare is obliged to take down any infringing files upon individual request by the respective copyright holder.
  • How does "levy on blank media" work, anyway? Proportionally divided up by number and/or total dollar value of albums sold, per company or person who sells them?
  • by 200_success (623160) on Friday November 30, 2007 @03:50PM (#21536929)

    I would call this a victory, considering that all of the DMCA-like provisions that had been proposed have been stripped out in the end.

    Here's the originally proposed diff, in French [www.ige.ch] and German [www.ige.ch], against the existing Swiss Copyright Law [admin.ch] of 1992. Some of the notable changes would have been:

    • Reverse engineering is allowed only for creating interoperable software (Article 21)
    • Outlawing circumvention of copy protection (Article 70a), even for the purpose of sharing the content with friends/family (Article 19, Paragraph 4)
    • Legitimately acquired software can be translated, bugfixed, or adapted (Article 13a)
    • Extending length of software copyright from 50 years after the last author's death to 70 years (Article 29)

    Compare that with the enacted diff, in French [admin.ch] and German [admin.ch]. None of the provisions above remains. Some of the notable features of the new law are:

    • Provision for using orphaned works (Article 22b)
    • Explicit allowance for transitory copies (Article 24a)
    • Allowance for making works accessible to disabled persons (Article 24c)

    From my cursory reading of the law, I would say that it's all upside and no downside for content consumers.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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