Portugal have introduced changes in copyright law that aims to make them fairer for consumers, potentially paving the way for other EU nations to adopt similar changes.
Most of the changes center around the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems, and to enhance the user's rights when dealing with content protected by DRM.
The first major change will see existing copyright exemptions and fair use being applied to DRM, to allow DRM to be circumvented legally in these situations. For researchers, archivists and educators, this means they can remove DRM without worrying about the legal consequences. Exemptions are also in place for home users, who can now remove DRM for reproduction/copying, as long as it's for private use only.
The changes also deal with the situation where the licensee of content decides to place DRM on the content without the explicit permission of the copyright work's owner. In cases such as this, users are free to circumvent the DRM for any reason.
But perhaps the most important change is the complete banning of the use of DRM in certain cases where their use is considered counter-intuitive. Works that are in the public domain, or works produced or paid for by the government, will now no longer be allowed to include DRM. Not only will users be free to remove the DRM in these cases, the person or organisation that added the DRM to this content would be breaking the law and be subject to legal repercussions.
Despite these numerous exemptions to removing DRM, the act of producing or distributing anti-DRM tools is still considered illegal. This means that while ripping DRM is legal in some cases, users may have to resort to "illegal" means to obtain the tools and methods do carry out their legal right.