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Switzerland’s Parliament amended its copyright law earlier this week, in a bid to modernise the law for the digital age and crack down on piracy.
While Swiss-based hosting providers will be forced to remove illegal content from their servers, the reforms don’t punish consumers for downloading pirated content.
According to news site Swissinfo.ch, the government had argued that its proposal is a compromise between artists, and consumers who like to download films, music and books.
Consumers will be able to download content for private use on peer-to-peer networks and can still access illegal sites, said news website 24heures.
Although services that host pirate sites can expect legal consequences for failing to remove content, Parliament rejected rules that would force online platforms to check whether uploaded content is copyright-protected, added Swissinfo.ch.
In addition, copyright protection for musical and photographic works will be extended from 50 years to 70 years, a move that will be welcomed by copyright owners.
Finally, two World Intellectual Property Organization treaties will be ratified.
Switzerland will ratify the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (which regulates copyright for audiovisual performances and expands performers' rights) and the Marrakesh Treaty (which facilitates access to published works for visually impaired people).
The US Trade Representative’s (USTR) placed Switzerland on its country watch list in its “2019 Special 301 Report”, an annually-published report that reviews IP protection and enforcement abroad,
“Switzerland remains on the watch list this year due to US concerns regarding specific difficulties in Switzerland’s system of online copyright protection and enforcement,” said the report.
The report added that the US welcomed steps that Switzerland was considering to strengthen online copyright protection.
“These actions should address outstanding protection and enforcement concerns and ensure compliance with international standards, as informed by public consultations and stakeholder engagements,” it concluded.
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