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Copyright law lands Switzerland on US 'watch list'

One of the surprising elements in the latest US Trade Representative's Special 301 report was the inclusion of Switzerland on the watch list.

While Switzerland is generally considered to have a strong legal framework for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), it has been included in the 2016 report because of the country has reportedly become an increasingly popular host country for copyright-infringing websites.

The USTR points to specific difficulties in Switzerland’s system of online copyright protection and enforcement, something which was also highlighted in the USTR's Notorious Markets document published last year.

The Special 301 document refers specifically to a decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court six years ago which it says restricts enforcement against pirate sites.

The verdict created a loophole in the law that means "copyright holders have essentially been prevented from enforcing their rights against online infringers," said the USTR in a statement.

While Switzerland has taken some steps to address the loophole - including new draft copyright legislation - more remains to be done, says the USTR.

"The US continues to encourage the Swiss government to move forward expeditiously with concrete and effective measures that address copyright piracy in an appropriate and effective manner, "it adds.

Measures it would like to see include "legislation, administrative action, consumer awareness, public education, and voluntary stakeholder initiatives."


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