Unlocking DRM in Switzerland

Boing Boing:

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.

By Ron Coleman

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION blog author Ron Coleman is a member of Dhillon Law Group in their New York City and Montclair, New Jersey offices. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Princeton University.