High profile laws come into force

From 1 July it becomes illegal to download films and music from the internet and to have discriminatory pricing for services such as hairdressing.

Previously, only those who made copyright protected material available on the internet risked prosecution. But now the downloading of such files for private consumption is also illegal. The copyright holder must give permission for their work to be made available on the internet.

Many people think the new law will be unworkable and it’s not certain how current downloaders will change their behaviour. Sveriges Radio interviewed Martin and Erik in Stockholm, who are against the new law:

“Music’s expensive so it should be free to download,” they said. “We’re slightly worried about getting caught, but we’ll still continue downloading some music.”

Anti-discrimination legislation is also being sharpened from today. It’s now illegal to have different prices or conditions for the same service based on gender.

This affects preferential rates for women offered by taxi companies, cheaper haircuts for men and different age rules for entry to pubs and clubs.

Anneli Tillberg of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman (Jämo) is pleased that a number of taxi companies have already introduced a night-time ‘solo rate’ for both women and men to replace the old ‘women’s rate’:

“It isn’t just women who are victims of violence when they go home late,” she said.

But Sören Wilson, vice chairman of Västergötland’s Hairdresser’s Association, feels the legislation is unnecessary:

“We’re paid for our time, not for the gender of our customers. They should concentrate more on equal pay. The vast majority of women still get paid worse than men for doing the same job.”

Other laws coming into force include the right of lesbian couples to receive insemination from the public health service. It’s now illegal for shop owners to store alcohol on their premises. And prosecutors now have the power to ban hooligans from sports events.