Switzerland’s government has silently adopted a brutal copyright law based on America’s failed Digital Millennium Copyright Act — but with 50,000 signatures, the law can be reversed.
Switzerland’s new law criminalizes breaking digital locks — circumventing “digital rights management” technology — and telling other people how to break those locks. This means that even when you have the right to access a song, video, book or document, no one is allowed to show you how to get at the data. If the law says you’re allowed to — for example — convert a song you bought on iTunes to play it on a non-Apple player, you still can’t do so, because no one is allowed to make or sell or even give away a tool that helps you do this.
Because of Switzerland’s principal of direct democracy, this law can be overturned if 50,000 Swiss citizens sign a petition asking for it to be reconsidered. Here’s a petition that starts the ball rolling. Tell your friends! Link.
I mean, it’s Switzerland. They’re famous for their secrecy, their chocolate, their cheese. Leadership on intellectual property issues? Not so much, I think. But the story does point up one thing: DRM, and most of the IP regime enacted by legislatures in thrall to Hollywood, record companies and the like, is profoundly unpopular if it’s not ignored entirely by the populace.