ENDitorial : "No Swiss DMCA" Referendum campaign

By EDRi · December 19, 2007

(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

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.

Campaign website

Swiss DADVSI : a petition for a referendum is launched (only in French,

(Contribution by Norbert Bollow – EDRI-member Swiss Internet User Group)