Warning due to illegal streaming
Our factsheet shows you what downloads and streaming are permitted in Switzerland and what is forbidden.
The answer in detail
In your opinion, you have watched a film or downloaded an e-book on the internet perfectly legally – and now you've been sent a massive fine? Even people who have consumed or downloaded content totally legally in the internet can be confronted with warnings. Fraudsters can often (illegally) find out the IP addresses from which certain pages have been selected and subsequently identify the associated email or postal addresses. That's how users often receive threatening letters informing them that criminal proceedings will follow because they have violated copyright law. These warnings are typically linked to a demand that "compensation" amounting to several hundred francs or euros must be paid in order to prevent a criminal charge, a house search, or a court prosecution.
If you receive an unjustified warning, you should first keep your cool and under no circumstances sign any assurances. Most of the time this sort of correspondence can be ignored. If you want to respond, our sample letter will help. If you are nevertheless prosecuted, you can file an objection within 10 days after receiving the order to pay.
If the warning is based on justified interests, such as because you published a copyright-protected photo on your own website or made music or films available to other internet users without authorization (uploading), you should immediately stop doing this. The associated warnings are often coupled with exorbitant claims for damages that you don't have to simply accept. Given the problems associated with uploading data (often unwittingly) as well as the danger of viruses and other malware in peer-to-peer networks, we recommend use of legitimate (though often fee-based) channels such as iTunes or Amazon.