The Latest Pro-Piracy Advocate Is…The Swiss Government

We know the Swiss are secretly pretty edgy: that guy at right, for example? The one with a small airplane strapped to his back? Yeah, that’s a real guy, who jumps out of airplanes wearing that thing, and he’s Swiss. But they’re about the last people we’d expect to be pro-piracy.

Nonetheless, the Swiss government looked into piracy and came up with a few conclusions the Eurozone and various media industry lobbying groups don’t want to hear:

  • They found that pirates’ media budgets remain constant: that is, no matter how much music they download, they’re not spending less on media than they were before.
  • The biggest pirates also tended to be the biggest spenders, and piracy actually drove sales up.
  • It’s the little guys that benefit most from file-sharing; more obscure bands had concert attendance go up thanks to file-sharing and potential customers becoming more aware of their music.

Along the way, the Swiss pretty much give everybody arguing for more Internet censorship to protect the precious IP of huge corporations a boot to the crotch. France’s “three-strikes” law? A waste of money and a violation of UN rules. Whiny media companies? To quote the report: “Winners will be those who are able to use the new technology to their advantages and losers those who missed this development and continue to follow old business models.” In other words, roll with the punches, bitches.

True, this only extends to the fine people of Switzerland. But it’s nice to see some adults weighing in for once.