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Swiss DMCA Quietly Adopted

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the nothing-like-sleath-governing dept.

Government 137

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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137 comments

Levy on Media? (5, Insightful)

keirre23hu (638913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530989)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531243)

You never understood why the Gov't would want to get more money for it's budget?

Re:Levy on Media? (4, Interesting)

Slashidiot (1179447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531411)

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.

Re:Levy on Media? (2, Interesting)

Alexpkeaton1010 (1101915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532477)

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.

Re:Levy on Media? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532523)

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.

Ill bite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21534089)

As I understand, a concept which underlies socialistic attitudes can be expressed thus: those who receive benefits from the existence of a community (or institution) have some responsibility to support it.

Music (and any form of digital entertainment) enriches one's life. Living in a community of people who benefit from such a cultural tradition also enriches one's life. So, the presence of music (or what have you) is of benefit to the entire community. Therefore, the community as a whole has some degree of obligation to support those who produce it.

In a black-and-white world of rigid absolutes, such attitudes are not well-received, and don't work well. People with socialist mindsets tend to find 80% solutions quite acceptable. Sure, some people benefit more than others, and some people wind up paying a little more for services they use a little less. So, the system isn't perfect. But the system IS good, and in the minds of those who happily participate, it is good enough.

While it is true that some people buy blank media and do not use it to duplicate works of art, it is also true that most people do. Further, it is true that when works of art are duplicated, they are often done so on such media. So taxing the media seems like a better way to zero in on the recipients of the benefit (and to somewhat scale up to their likely level of reception) than to just put a blanket tax on everyone. Again, it is not a perfect solution, but it is a good 80% solution, so they go with it.

The money generated alone isn't sufficient for the members of the digital entertainment institution to support themselves. They still have to draw a profit from what they produce. But they can live on less of a profit because of this tax, which helps to offset the money they aren't making due to duplication. Not a perfect solution, but good enough to keep the ball rolling.

So, the citizens largely get what they want, they largely pay what they can afford, and they don't all get criminalized.

Personally, I don't fileshare. I am a coward and afraid of the consequences. Since I don't support the tactics of the RIAA, I don't buy their crap either. I have been living off Emusic, magnatune, and the occasional used CD for several years now. However, if P2P filesharing was to be made legal across the board, and in return I had to pay a tax on all blank media that I bought, I would be all for it. It would be FAR superior to the mess we have now with every citizen violating copyright on a regular basis, being liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for it, and the industry powers blanketing the country with lawsuits.

It is, in my opinion, a very good 80% solution.

Re:Levy on Media? (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534307)

In Spain we pay that levy to compensate artists* for their losses**. And copyright infringement is not illegal if there's no profit involved (no metaphysical interpretation of profit is allowed; profit in this case is just money, not 'enjoyment out of something'). So if I upload a song to a P2P service for free, I'm abiding the law, as I would be by copying a CD and giving it to a friend.

And we all know it's not a fair tax (there are some associations fighting it back, we'll get to see the results in a couple of months... or years), but dura lex sed lex.

The problem comes when they try both to make you pay the levy and prosecute you for infringenment. That makes no sense whatsoever. A levy automatically legitimizes the creation of private copies; if you can also be punished for it, you're paying twice for the same crime: presumably reducing somebody else's profits from their IP.

* Most of the money goes to SGAE, some kind of Spanish RIAA, whose members are not record labels but musicians and performers, who will then allegedly share the profit among its members. There's been some controversy lately on this topic, but I won't go into it.

** Yet to be even estimated realistically. I have never bought a Bruce Springsteen CD, but I have paid 45+79+69+81=274 euros just for tickets for concerts. That makes it more than 9 really expensive CDs. In 5 years.

Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (3, Interesting)

llirik (1074623) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (3, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531015)

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

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531379)

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 will private citizens who make a backup copy with verboten software).

Switzerland doesn't throw people into the slammer for three years just because they where caught with a video camera in a movie theatre, or for four years because you where unlucky enough to be caught with 15Es at a rave and have the misfortune of being black.

I actually followed the debate and it strikes overall quite a reasonable balance. (As mentioned above: download remains legal, for example).

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531465)

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:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (2, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531629)

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.

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532363)

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 affect Switzerland. Was this advertised? No, at the time major articles were running about an election and other trash talking. This article was buried on the back pages of a financial news website and didn't even make it to print. Why do you ask? As always, the REAL news is on the back page, or elsewhere. To find out the entire news, one has to piece together the puzzle from its disparate pieces, rather than read it all in one clean article on the front page (where it belongs.) Instead we are spoonfed the latest front page news about Britney's nipples and boob job, and O.J.'s continued search "foh da real killah."

On the gun issue, likewise, several UN dogs of work have gone through the Suisse finding "hard evidence" that their citizen milita should be disarmed (two Suisse men shot themselves and their whole families, and we all know it isn't the fact that they had issues, oh no, its the fact that they were armed that caused them to kill the group. Forget that bigger mass murders were committed with gasoline and matches, that just skews the needed statistics.)

That the Suisse legislature would be doing things without bringing it up to each Canton and their citizenry doesn't surprise me. The Suisse have gone from among the fiercest mercenaries in Europe to a pretty complacent populace that, like the rest of the world's well off, is living off the legacies of better men and women than themselves. And when the wolf comes huffing and puffing, he won't need to. Even the mighty Suisse (who had a relatively more effective and useful Constitution than even the "united States of America") will open the door and let the wolf in, rather than force the wolf to actually FIGHT to get in. No surprise. Give up your sound money, and your means of defense, and much like the rest, you're dogmeat when push comes to shove. It will be slower for the Suisse, just like it was slower for the North Americans than it was for the rest of Europe, but when the dust clears, "subjects they shall be!"

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (4, Insightful)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (2, Informative)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534627)

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. everyone who ISNT cop or government) has a MUCH higher rate of "on the job, for any reason" death rate. 147/100000 for the fishing industry in the US alone. I won't even quote trucking for you, which I did for awhile. A lot deadlier jobs than being a cop or even fireman.

Amusing? Perplexing? Not really. The likelyhood of being shot in the US is smaller than in many other places, but the likelyhood that a self defense shooting will be put in the "crimes involving a firearm" category is 100%, but that is no surprise, since aggressive shootings (cop initiated, cop carried out, cop gets off innocent) are generally the norm, whenever cops are involved during the "crime".

True, they've replaced those with tasers now, but it seems that the cops are the typical thugs who would otherwise have roamed the streets unable to actually do anything productive or intelligent, and thus begun a life of crime and had it end at the hands of someone ready to stop crime against themselves.

As for the currency (not to be mistaken with "money" which is always a substance of commodity, something that people will value regardless of what is printed on its face (gold, oil, ammo, etc), and currency is not, currency is merely an alias, given strength by government fiat and government guns pointed at those trading, currency has the following meaning "current as money", but it IS NOT money.) I've played the markets for some time now, so regardless of what wikipedia says this week, I've watched the actual day traders (many of whom I know) lose their shirts trying to bank on shifts in the CHF. Day traders gamble with their lunch moneys anyways, but that's aside from the fact that the CHF used to move against the USD and Euro/Pound at the same rate gold itself did. This was fun to watch because you could tell what is worthwhile and stable (solid foundation concept) and what is not (legislative fiat, promises of governments, control systems designed by those who were subject to and completely beholden to existing control systems made by others of their like circumstances. The concept is no similar than trying to dig yourself out of a concrete well... the only way to dig is DOWN, and down there is only water and the depths of the well, freedom is up, and unreachable through digging.)

The more curious thing that the Suisse should worry themselves with is this. Why are the movers and shakers moving their valuables OUT of Europe? I'm not talking about politicians, I'm talking about the real players, the big names who are the boogeymen/messiahs of the money world. It's curious to me, but I doubt others would be watching.

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (1)

MSZ (26307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534979)

So...
New evil laws - check.
Being passed in secrecy - check.
Motions to disarm citizens - check.

Another fine country on it's way to slavery^Wfreedom.

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535563)

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]

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21533319)

This is something that has been spoken about with Marijauna use.

If all pot users went forward with a bag of dope on a certain day it would break the system.

Havent seen it yet. And I know there are enough to probably break the system.

Just too many other worries (for each pot user) that keep this from happening.

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (5, Informative)

llirik (1074623) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531069)

I wish that was how we rolled in the US, at least they have a chance.. Instead I have a representative who only represents his own interests and almost actively works against the desires of his constituents. Sadness.

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531449)

The problem is not the Referendum as it, but it would take LOTS of discussions in the f### media tied together with rights holder. Imagine, there would be a Arena (talking heads of politics and public figures) and they would discuss it. Would the average swiss grasp the consquences? No, because $showhost would be pressed not to invite ppl defending the old law...

But there is another aspect of this whole legal thing in Switzerland. We got plenty of laws that would render our country in a dictatorship that would make kim young ill (:P) happy. Our system relies on the fact, that the police enforces mostly laws, that passed some finer definitions through court. Only if somebody brakes evidently a new law, the police or prosecutors charge somebody.

E.g. we happen to have a law, that prohibits the bringing to circulation, production or use of any software, that could do harm. Intended to forbid viruses, malware and greeks (it were the greeks, dammit), the article in our Strafrecht is so slacky codified, it renders almost ALL hackertools illegal. But the tradition of our legal system works not word-by-word (though we have the principle of legality), but first as the law is intended. Then, if enough cases are judged, the prosecution is extended. Nobody would throw a grad student into jail, because he programmed a virus, although it would be illegal word-by-word. But if he sold it to $botnet-trader he meant it ill and thats the base for the prosecution. And we all should keep in mind that our police, courts and attorneys are hopelessly overworked. Remember too, that Switzerland is the country of Banks and Big Money, there are lots of cases lying around that are enhancing prestige for the prosecutors. It will be just like the drug discussion. The Police has not enough ressources to prosecute every teenager with some grams he will smoke the next week but there are enough working to get that dealer-ring trading cars of coke busted.

Another problem with our legal system is the militia parliament. There are so many heads in our parliament who have no idea of most things they are deciding on. In fact, this article intended to prosecute malware designers was written by attorneys and not computer scientist. It is a known fact that biology, chemistry and banking affairs gets much more precisely defined in the law than "this computer stuff". Depending on how much the industry is willing to pay for experts in the commissions of our parliament...
It will change, though, because there are voices to change/extend the commissionary system in the national council.

I will read the revision of this law, and if there is anything outrageous i will hand that over to the "young left" (JUSO Schweiz), maybe there are enough signatures to get that law stalled.

Re:Can some Swiss citizens enlighten us (1)

einar2 (784078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535777)

Well, you can do the math yourself. You need 500 volunteers collecting 100 signatures. Basically, it is not that difficult. Typically, it is more difficult to collect signatures for ideas which are complicated to explain to the public. DMCA might be a difficult one.

As a Swiss, I am surprised that I have to learn about this law on slashdot! I am going to check the law and see what can be done.

What did you expect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21530999)

from a country that even put holes in the cheese?

wth.... (5, Funny)

Kwirl (877607) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.... (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531205)

how can america get one of these?

Stop supporting the same old bullshit by not voting democrat or republican? That's my guess.

In all seriousness... (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531997)

[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.

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532399)

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 legal. However, largely because of the current voting system, they are utter failures at displacing the entrenched parties.

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532401)

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).

Getting on the ballet normally only involves so many petitions to be signed and sometimes a filing fee.

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.

Cash is a problem most times, yes, but not all the time...

I'm assuming you're not an American from some of the questions so excuse me if some of this doesn't make perfect sense; Recently there was an overturn of Republicans in the federal and state legislative branches (House of Representatives and Senate) mostly because of ill-will towards Bush and the Iraq war. My state, Pennsylvania, is largely Democratic in party base. But there was one stand out election: A young kid was running against and older incumbent Democrat for a state senate (I believe, it may have been a representative). The Democrat spent somewhere in the area of a million dollars on a TV and print campaign that was nothing more than stating he was the Democrat incumbent and asking who the other candidate was. While this election was not in my district it was close enough that I seen many of the TV adverts. It was a real piss poor effort on the incumbent's part and frankly it pissed me off to see that someone who was elected thought that their party alignment should be good enough to get them re-elected.

As it turns out the incumbent lost!

The reason that a lot of people outside of the district didn't know the young Republican was because he only spent 2000 USD on his bid for the office and relied mainly on grassroot tactics to get his name known. It seems that a large number of the voters in the district were just as upset with the incumbent's smug attitude about "begin the Democrat" and tossed him out on his ass.

So yeah, if you get a candidate that creates enough ill will it seems that he can be defeated regardless of party, incumbency or money spent on the campaign.

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532463)

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.

Re:In all seriousness... (2, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532763)

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 within each district instead of plurality, then third parties might actually have a chance.

Plurality voting the way we run it encourages strategic voting that hurts smaller parties. In other words, even if you truly prefer the third-party candidate, your policy interests are better served by voting for the more acceptable one of the two major-party candidates; the system punishes you for voting for a candidate who's unlikely to win. See Duverger's law [wikipedia.org] .

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21533711)

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.

Re:In all seriousness... (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534157)

"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 special interest groups).

Of course, this system will never happen, because candidates and incumbents enjoy the benefits of amassing millions of dollars, expensive fundraising dinners, exotic trips, etc. They are not willing to give that up.

Re:wth.... (2, Funny)

pev (2186) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531241)

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?

Slowly and painfully... (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531287)

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 some time ago.

Now, if only I had the cojones to stage a revolution...

Re:wth.... (1)

Ochu (877326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531299)

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.... (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:wth.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531825)

How do you know this? Do you have proof (or even an example) that direct democracy doesn't work for a larger group?

Don't want a democracy (1)

patiodragon (920102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532941)

A democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner. In the *theoretical* US constitutional republic, 99% of the population cannot take rights away from a single person.

Re:wth.... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532465)

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.... (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532569)

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.

Re:wth.... (1)

beh (4759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532991)

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, which could be about, say, allowed shop opening times, and cantonal income tax, ...)

3. local (villages/boroughs/cities) referenda, which would be about, say, local building initiatives, local taxes, ...

This btw. has some rather interesting consequences, like people moving to different boroughs for changes in their income tax, since virtually every town has a different tax level (your income tax comprises of a national tax part, a cantonal/state tax part, and a local part). While this sounds a bit complicated at first, it also brings in a certain amount of competition for the towns and cantons, since raising taxes always comes at the potential cost of people just moving to a neighbouring village to get better rates -- that is, IF the local government manages to get the majority of people behind tax-raising plans.

I think, similar models could be even implemented in countries the population of China; maybe just as it is; or maybe by adding a fourth layer (say, 'district' as an intermediate step between villages/boroughs/cities and states which in China have loads more inhabitants than Switzerland alone).

I've lived in Switzerland for about 8 1/2 years, and I had been seriously impressed by how they run their country. Personally, all Western 'democracies' in comparison aren't much more than 'electoral dictatorships' -- just elect someone to run the country for 4 years - and that guy/party can basically screw you over any way they want and their election promises are worth VERY little.

Re:wth.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21533511)

Politicains shouldn't be a life time job, but a temp job

Too late. The US government has long passed the size, measured both in revenue and power over the people, as well as consolidation of power, where making a career out of the business of government is not only incredibly lucrative, but incredibly exploitable for those with the inclination to do it.

Naturally, the person who wishes to be a part of this multi-trillion dollar jackpot isn't the man who only wants to mind his own business and live in peace. This is the man who intends to exploit others for his own personal gain, and it hardly takes one glance at government operations to verify this.

The solution, of course, is the opposite of what has occurred over the past 200 years: decentralization of power, not further consolidation of power.

Re:wth.... (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534323)

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 and had, presumably, very close contact with the President on both a personal and a professional level for 8 years. That's an insight into the job that few other prospective candidates possess. The only other person who would be in a similar position would be a former Vice President or someone else who worked closely with a former President on a daily basis.

Of course experience alone isn't something to base your decision entirely on either. You need to look at a whole plethora of various criteria. But experience does count for a lot. Imposing time limits on every position in politics all together will limit you to people with no experience. There is no reason why an ex-president who has used up both his terms should not be able to work as an advisor for a current President. I can't really think of anyone more qualified (assuming they weren't a horrible President with no idea what they were doing, obviously there are exceptions to every rule).

Re:wth.... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535575)

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.

Re:wth.... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535035)

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.

Re:wth.... (1)

einar2 (784078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21535649)

Direct Democracies tend to fall apart with large numbers of people.

How did this get insightful? There is no fact backing up the claim. To my knowledge only Austria (similar size than Switzerland) has a limited from of direct democracy.

I am biased (I am Swiss) but I do think that direct democracy is a rather advanced form of democracy. A huge part of the US constitution is about balancing the right of the people against the government. However, the proposed solutions appear rather naive. How many of you would fetch their rifle to fight against an unjust government? Get real... In the last years you lost basic rights and you were unable to prevent this.
Being able to just stop unjust laws in the beginning changes the balance of power tremendously.

Re:wth.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531393)

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 kind of problem as exists for voting if people are too apathetic about it -- i.e. that relatively small minorities can ultimately control the vote outcome, regardless of what the whole electorate actually wants. You can say, "Well, if they don't vote, the rest of the population get what they deserve", but everyone would have to live with the results. Try to imagine what it would be like if, say, only 20% of eligible voters do manage to swing things their way.

In Canada a few years ago the leader of one of the political parties, Stockwell Day [wikipedia.org] , was a strong advocate of this kind of petition-based referendum. The threshold he advocated was "3% of Canadian voters", or about 350000. A comedian on a popular tv show called on people to sign a petition to have Mr. Day change his first name to "Doris". More than enough signatures were collected [www.cbc.ca] .

So, be careful what you wish for.

Re:wth.... (4, Informative)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#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).

Re:wth.... (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534643)

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 four referendums or so in 2003).

Re:wth.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21534987)

That sounds much better. Like I said: it is the details of the implementation that matter. It *can* be made to work, and the democratic principle behind it is solid, but it needs to be done really carefully.

Still, Mr. Day's experience was pretty funny at the time, and I suspect it could have gotten to the public initiative level without much problem. I couldn't find anything authoritative, but it is widely reported that the number of signatures exceeded a million by the end.

Re:wth.... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532319)

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 necessary condition for new law, but not a sufficient condition.

(Although one question I would have is how "new law" is defined - is this simply where previously the action was legal? If this applies to law amendments, which sometimes try to correct existing bad laws, then that wouldn't be a good thing.)

Re:wth.... (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21533337)

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.

Re:wth.... (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531443)

> > 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 in reply)

Re:wth.... (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531675)

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 accepted (Alpeninitiative, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpeninitiative [wikipedia.org] ; sorry in German; no English translation) or where suprisingly tight (~36% voted for the abolishment of the army, for example)

Re:wth.... (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531495)

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.

Re:wth.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531775)

for real...

That's a real democracy. How tough is immigration? 8)

Re:wth.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21532475)

how can america get one of these?
You have to wait for Switzerland to invade you and ram it down your throats. It's the way that Democracy is spread.

Re:wth.... (1)

RevHawk (855772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532641)

The only candidate I know of that supports direct democracy a la Switzerland is Mike Gravel...It's his platform and most people miss that. Yeah, I know he's painted as a nutjob but I suggest actually listening to some of what he has to say. You may be surprised. Power to the people, give peace a chance!

Offcourse the media has been quiet (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531081)

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?

Re:Offcourse the media has been quiet (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531157)

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?

Re:Offcourse the media has been quiet (1)

bmorton (170477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532431)

I'm more astounded that GP cites that as the ONE time the show had a moral message...

Rats :( (1)

nfractal (1039722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531097)

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 well for rest of the countries. Seems all are falling like nine pins to draconian measures.

from the nothing-like-sleath-governing dept. (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531103)

What the hell is sleath? Is that supposed to be "stealth"?

Maybe that's how they spell "you're screwed" in Switzerland.

Re:from the nothing-like-sleath-governing dept. (1)

Kirth (183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532633)

Nope. But we might spell it "jetzt häsch verschisse" (non-literal translation, because "schrauben" hasn't the same connotations as the english "screwing").

Funny (or really not) .... (1, Interesting)

tecker (793737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531131)

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:Funny (or really not) .... (2, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531173)

I think you're confusing Switzerland with Sweden.

Re:Funny (or really not) .... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531267)

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.

Re:Funny (or really not) .... (1)

modir (66559) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531203)

The Pirate Bay is in Sweden. This article talks about Switzerland.

You should attend some geography classes again. :)

Hmmmm. Good morning there how many finger am I ... (1)

tecker (793737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531211)

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?

Piratenpartei.ch is taken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531607)

there is a Piratenpartei in Germany, but not (yet?) in Switzerland. Piratenpartei.ch is taken, though. Hm, i could ask the domain-holder... :P

I'm not surprised (1)

Ptur (866963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531133)

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).

Re:I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531161)

...And we're happy not to have you here. Everyone wins.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531187)

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.

opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531959)

I'm in the US and would consider Switzerland the top of my list of where to move to if I had to. Decent political system and involved electorate, low crime, full self defense and gun ownership as an integral part of the culture (national and personal), good economic freedom, solid middle class, non interventionist, etc, plus it's pretty, a very nice nation. Next up I guess Norway. (note: just what I have read about those places)

I've seen some swiss prisons (4, Funny)

Martian_Kyo (1161137) | more than 6 years ago | (#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'....

Swiss prisons and other tidbits (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531721)

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 treading on corporate interest. Now if they'd keep corporate crooks who ruin companies for their own benefits in there along with the system's victims, THIS would become interesting.

By the way, what do you think happens in Switzerland whenever somebody high-placed does anything extremely wrong - violating the separation between executive and judicial powers or making a government-funded company crash so that taxpayer money has to be used to save it?

Answer: nothing. Trials are made but nobody gets condemned, merely slapped on the wrist. One such example is the Swissair bankruptcy affair. Some of its perpetrators actually got away with a ~400k$ compensatory payment for the trouble.

Switzerland is ruled by an oligarchy of bankers, investors and upper management members from the country's major corporations. Interestingly, the swiss people can force them into things they don't want through the referendum/initiative system, but they keep pulling the strings and steer what the people thinks and wills, so they're never really taking many risks.

Overall, it isn't too different from any true democracy out there, except that when the people gets really worked up, things get done its way faster than before the next elections. If anything, we're just 1. one hell of a lot slower to take decisions 2. desperately trying to hide the shit that's happening in our country in the naïve belief we're a "special case" (Sonderfall, in german) compared to the rest of the world.

The truth is that behind the mask of orderliness and cleanliness, we do have problems. Four cultures coexist in this country and the reason that they still do is partly because they do not understand each other. Poverty has been revealed to be fairly widespread in a state where nobody talks about it (or one's income/fortune in general). Violence is flaring up in a similar way it does in the rest of Europe, proving once more this place is part of it. Cartels artificially raise prices for most goods and services (except consumer electronics for example, go figure) by 20-30% compared to the neighboring countries. Men in their twenties kill people and themselves with the weapons the Swiss Army gives them, trains them to use and makes them keep at home - we're talking about SIG-550 assault rifles here, and the number of people killed by military weapons is estimated at 300 per year. In a 7.5-million-people country.

In the end, it's a place like the rest of the world, only desperately trying to stay nicer and cleaner. Oh, it's comfortable and very nice indeed, but it's far from being devoid of problems. The hardest thing to stand is how everybody in here tries to justify his own acts by pretending it's for the common good, but it's probably just the same elsewhere.

Re:Swiss prisons and other tidbits (1)

Kirth (183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532333)

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:Swiss prisons and other tidbits (2, Informative)

afedaken (263115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21534231)

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 pretty good.

We can't let the public decide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531201)

what they want, does not equal what is good for them.

swiss slashdot readers (2, Insightful)

trickyrickb (910871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531229)

you are lucky enough to be able to veto any insane laws passed by your parliament. get organised and do it.

Shit hitting the fan? (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531347)

So will the shit hit the fan now? Maybe someone will read this on slashdot or on TFA and start a referendum.

Thank you (1)

z0M6 (1103593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531369)

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:Thank you (2, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532217)

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

Sharing and media levy... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21531479)

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.

Actually not THAT bad... (1)

SrmL (18247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531703)

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.

Jail for p2p? Not according the the reports. (1)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531741)

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.

Re:Jail for p2p? Not according the the reports. (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532065)

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.

Re:Jail for p2p? Not according the the reports. (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532331)

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 people knowing how and where to obtain tools to create them. 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.

Re:Jail for p2p? Not according to the reports. (2, Interesting)

jafoc (1151405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21533481)

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. joining the EU the fundamental situation that Swiss citizens have real voting power isn't going to change.

Boing-Boing gets it all wrong! (5, Informative)

fest321 (757101) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531759)

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:Boing-Boing gets it all wrong! (2, Interesting)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531855)

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...

mod parent up (1)

inflamez (885475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532143)

Thank you for your comprehensive and accurate summary of the situation in Switzerland. As mentioned by fest321 the article on Boing-Boing is nonsense.

Re:Boing-Boing gets it all wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21533335)

Even downloading copyrighted files you knowingly have no claim to is legal?
If true, thats just pathetic. Thats a gross undermining of the whole principle of copyright, and fucking stupid.

rapidshare (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21531843)

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:rapidshare (2, Interesting)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#21532469)

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.

Yes, actually. The cat does "got my tongue." (2, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21533385)

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?

Re:Yes, actually. The cat does "got my tongue." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21534665)

SUISA (similar to RIAA?) gets all the money and forwards it to the artist according to their revenues from concerts, sold songs/LPs, etc.

-->
SR 231.1
Art. 49 Verteilung des Verwertungserlöses

1 Die Verwertungsgesellschaften müssen den Verwertungserlös nach Massgabe des Ertrags der einzelnen Werke und Darbietungen verteilen. Sie haben zur Feststellung der Berechtigten alle ihnen zumutbaren Anstrengungen zu unternehmen.

2 Ist diese Verteilung mit einem unzumutbaren Aufwand verbunden, so dürfen die Verwertungsgesellschaften das Ausmass des Ertrags schätzen; die Schätzungen müssen auf überprüfbaren und sachgerechten Gesichtspunkten beruhen.

3 Der Erlös soll zwischen den ursprünglichen Rechtsinhabern und -inhaberinnen und andern Berechtigten so aufgeteilt werden, dass den Urhebern und Urheberinnen und den ausübenden Künstlern und Künstlerinnen in der Regel ein angemessener Anteil verbleibt. Eine andere Verteilung ist zulässig, wenn der Aufwand unzumutbar wäre.

4 Das Verteilungsreglement hebt vertragliche Abmachungen der ursprünglichen Rechtsinhaber und -inhaberinnen mit Dritten nicht auf.

Source:
German [admin.ch]
French [admin.ch]
Italian [admin.ch]
no English version available. sorry.
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