ENDitorial : "No Swiss DMCA" Referendum campaign
(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)
Like everywhere else, DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) systems which impose technical restrictions on what end users can do with texts and multimedia content are highly unpopular also in Switzerland.
At the same time, the representatives of the entertainment industry claim that this technology is necessary, and politicians are inclined to believe their view that there should be a law against circumvention of DRM system. The main difference from most other countries is that Swiss citizens are able to force a national vote about the change of the law by collecting 50 000 signatures.
Of course the politicians know this and take it into account already when discussing legal proposals in the commissions of the Parliament. As a result, even though the copyright law revision adds a prohibition against breaking DRM systems and against marketing computer programs which have this purpose, this prohibition is significantly restricted by a clause which says that it cannot be enforced against anyone who circumvents DRM systems only for purposes that are explicitly allowed by the law, such as making a small number of copies of music or video CDs for friends, or reverse engineering. In this regard, the Swiss copyright law allows more than the corresponding laws of many other countries.
The big question is of course whether these restrictions of the prohibition against breaking DRM systems are sufficient to prevent DRM systems from having a severe negative impact on society. There are serious doubts about that and, while the draft law was under consideration in the two chambers of the Parliament and their legal affairs commissions, these concerns have been pointed out by various organizations representing Swiss consumers and business interests which are opposed to DRM. Nevertheless, in the judgement of these organizations, the revision that the Swiss Parliament decided on is not such a bad compromise to make them want to organize or support a referendum campaign against it.
In spite of this, someone has now announced a referendum campaign against the revision of copyright law. Since the organizations which have so far been active in this political process are not supporting it, no-one expects the campaign to have much success, but of course surprises are always possible in politics.
Swiss DADVSI : a petition for a referendum is launched (only in French,
(Contribution by Norbert Bollow - EDRI-member Swiss Internet User Group)