Current information on copyright law.
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'On-demand right’ refers to the right of making a work available to the public over a communication network, such as the internet. This right, which until now was granted solely to authors, has now been extended to performing artists, producers and broadcasters. The right allows rights holders to protect themselves against unlawful uses of their creative achievements via a network.
Infringement of the on-demand right can be punished with a custodial sentence of up to five years and a monetary fine of up to CHF 1,080,00.00.
Folkloric performances are now protected even when no ‘work’ in the copyright sense is being presented (for example, flag twirling).
The performer's moral rights have also been brought closer into alignment with those for authors. They now have the right to claim to be identified as the performer of the performance. Many artists are often involved in a performance (e.g., actors in a film). In case of conflict, all performing artists have needed to file a joint complaint up until now, which made enforcing rights nearly impossible. The new regulation is closer to practice and offers a remedy.
Technical measures and rights information newly protected
Technological measures are technologies, devices or components designed to prevent users from accessing digital content without authorization or to copy it without permission (e.g., copy protection on audio CD’s). Such technological measures are now protected. Whoever circumvents them — unless it is to serve an authorized use — or assists in circumventing, for instance, by selling "circumvention software", is liable to prosecution.
Rights information is digital information which gives details about the rights holder and the authorized uses. This is also protected and may not be removed or modified.
Technological measures will be monitored
Technological measures are for preventing unauthorized uses - at the same time, they can also prevent lawful uses. For this reason, the application of technological measures will to be monitored. The monitoring office established for this purpose has two goals:
- To monitor the effects of technological measures on the exceptions and limitations to copyrights, i.e., on the legal applications for users, such as the use of a work in a school classroom.
- To promote a partnership solution between users/consumer groups and those who employ technological measures.
Whoever downloads digital content, such as an online technical journal, is generally creating a copy for private use. However, making a copy is only limitedly permissible outside of the personal sphere. The new paragraph 3bis of Article 19 of the Copyright Act enables institutions of education, businesses, public administration, libraries, etc., to use digital content without coming into conflict with the requirements for private use.
Copying for private use is permitted, but only if an appropriate remuneration is paid (e.g., blank recording media levy). The new legislation assures that e-commerce consumers are not unjustifiably charged double or even multiple levies.
The Copyright Act permits a series of uses of protected works which are in the public interest (e.g., the use of content by handicapped persons or in schools and businesses) or it stipulates that exercising certain rights must be under collective rights management. Such statutory licenses, respectively, compulsory collective management, are referred to as “limitations and exceptions to copyright”.
The partial amendment revises the regulation of exceptions and limitations and with that, is adapted to technological developments:
- Broadcasters play an important role as intermediaries of works. The partial amendment enables them to make their archives as well as current broadcasts available over the internet in the general interest of access to culture. Significant rights needed for doing so are now under compulsory collective management. Broadcasters no longer need to negotiate with each right holder individually, which lowers costs, they can also publish broadcasts even if the rights owner is unknown or his whereabouts unknown.
- Publicly accessible archives, such as museums or libraries, also make an important contribution to the accessibility of culture. They too may apply to the collecting societies when the rights holder is unknown or his whereabouts are unknown when using their archives. The new regulation for archival copies also takes into account that digital media is clearly less durable than conventional media such as books. Archives may now create not just one, but all copies needed to preserve the archive and, with that, better meet their mandate to preserve and make culture accessible.
- Copyright allows the reproduction of protected works only with the permission of the rights holder. This approach is no longer appropriate for a digital environment where copying is oftentimes incidental and has no independent significance. Such copies are now allowed. This greatly reduces the liability risk for internet service providers and assures a functioning communication environment. This exception is considered so important that the EU Infosoc Directive (copyright in the information society) declares it compulsory.
- Handicapped people depend on works being made available to them in a form they can perceive (e.g. books on tape for blind people). In practice, requests to rights holders for permission to produce their works in a perceivable form remain, unfortunately, often unanswered. The law now allows copies to be made specifically for people with handicaps — in return for remuneration to the rights holder.
The Federal Council has been requested to improve protection for creative works and productions used on the Internet, according to Motion 97.3008 (Copyright Protection and New Communication Technology). As this will require a revision to the Copyright Act, international developments in the field of copyright and neighbouring rights will be taken into consideration. Harmonisation of the Copyright Act is particularly important in today's information society.
The Institute sent a draft proposal of the revision of the Copyright Act as part of the informal consultation to all effected parties in the summer of 2000. The responses were evaluated and summarised, and communicated in a circular letter dated 4 April 2001.
On 11 February 2002 a meeting regarding further proceedings was held with the directly involved organisations. Based on what transpired, the Institute will continue working on the draft at the administrative level with the involved parties while at the same time following two parallel goals: the transformation of the two WIPO Agreements and the inclusion of the additional issues brought up through the parliamentary requests for action to the Federal Council. Numerous working groups have studied these issues during the time period between June 2002 and September 2003. The results of their work is summarised in a report by the Institute of Intellectual Property.
Other information regarding the preparatory work for the revision of the Copyright Act:
- Final report of the Institute on the activities of the working parties of 30 September 2003 (in German, pdf 143 KB or French, pdf 126 KB)
- Institute circular letter, dated 4 March 2002 (further proceedings, in German only, pdf 10 KB)
- Circular letter for the evaluation of the informal consultation dated 4 April 2001 (in German only, pdf 9 KB)
- Summary of the results of the informal consultation (in German only, pdf 40 KB)
- Circular letter regarding the opening of the informal consultation dated 14 July 2000 (in German only, pdf 11 KB)
- Proposal for the draft of the revision of the Copyright Act (in German or French, pdf 30 KB)
- Comments on the proposal for the draft of the revision (in German only, pdf 76 KB)
The amended Copyright Act (German: AS 2008 2421 (pdf 484 KB) und 2497 (pdf 483 KB), French: RO 2008 2421 (pdf 477 KB) et 2497 (pdf 478 KB), Italian: RU 2008 2421 (pdf 471 KB) e 2497 (pdf 481 KB)) and adapted Copyright Ordinance go into effect on 1 July 2008. See the press release in German (pdf 27 KB), French (pdf 27 KB) or Italian (pdf 25 KB). Based on the response to the Copyright Ordinance by interested parties, the Federal Council has decided to appoint an independent observer to the special office for technological measures. The position will include a secretariat which will be located at the Institute. The consultation indicated that the special office should be set up by the Institute, but not necessarily managed by it. Appointing an experienced observer to lead the special office guarantees a certain independence which can only be an advantage in fulfilling its role as arbitrator between those who make use of technological measures and those who use copyright protection.
The entry into force of the Federal decision on the approval of two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization and of the revised Copyright Act is scheduled for 1 July 2008. This partial revision requires an adaptation of the Copyright Ordinance. The Swiss Federal Institute for Intellectual Property organised a hearing with a deadline which ended on 31 January 2008 (Result of the hearing in French and German, report of the hearing in German, pdf 38 KB or French, pdf 40 KB).
Documentation for downloading:
Information on the current status of the parliamentary debate on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act can be found in the Database of the Swiss Parliament.
At the end of the autumn session and the legislative period, the federal parliament conducted on Friday, 5 October 2007 its final votes on 24 bills. Hereby, the Federal decision on the approval of two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization and on the revision of the Copyright Act with 194 to 2 votes and no abstentions (National Council) and 43 to 0 votes with no abstentions (Council of States) and the Revision of the Federal Act on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights was approved with 191 to 5 votes and no abstentions (National Council) and 43 to 0 votes with no abstentions (Council of States).
Bills put up for final vote for downloading:
- Federal decision on the approval of two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization and on the revision of the Copyright Act (in German, pdf 36 KB, French, pdf 36 KB or Italian, pdf 36 KB)
- Revision of the Federal Act on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (in German, pdf 28 KB, French, pdf 40 KB or Italian, pdf 28 KB)
On 27 September 2007, the Council of States followed the recommendations of its Committee for Legal Affairs and approved the National Council's amendments. This resolved the few differences which had arisen during the parliamentary debate. Bill 1 contained new limitations to copyright for the benefit of today’s information society and was supplemented with additional limitations. Bill 2, by contrast, contained the potentially most contentious issue of regulating the protection of technological measures but was approved practically unchanged.
In its meeting of 24 September 2007, the National Council continued its detailed consultation. It pursued the line taken in the previous meeting. Neither the proposals of the consumers, aiming at lowering the protection of technological measures, nor those of the producers, insisting on an increased level of protection of technological measures, were successful. Two proposals targeted at a tightening of the control of equitableness of tariffs (Art. 60 CopA) were also without a chance.
On 17 September 2007, the National Council started the detailed consultation on the revision. With the exception of a difference in favour of broadcasting organisations, the Council so far followed the Federal Council and the Council of States.
The Committee for Legal Affairs of the National Council held the detailed consultation on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act at their meeting on 31 May 2007.
The Committee for Legal Affairs of the National Council agreed to start the debate on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act on 10 May 2007 (press release in German and French).
19.12.2006. The Council of States, in its role as the foremost legislative body, gave its approval to amend the legislative message to ratify two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties and the partial revision of the Copyright Act. It adhered to the majority of the Committee for Legal Affairs in all points and subsequently followed the Federal Council with few exceptions. (Debates; dossiers in German, pdf 54 KB and French, pdf 51 KB).
The Committee for Legal Affairs of the Council of States ended the detailed consultation at their meeting on 13 November 2006. The draft is expected to be debated by the Council of States in the Winter 2006 session (press release in German and French).
The Committee for Legal Affairs of the Council of States began the detailed consultation at their meeting of 17 October 2006 (press release in German).
The Committee for Legal Affairs of the Council of States held a hearing on 12 September 2006 (press release in German and French).
The Committee for Legal Affairs of the Council of States unanimously agreed to start the debate on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act on 23 August 2006 (press release in German and French).
At its 10 March 2006 session, the Federal Council approved the dispatch to ratify two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties and the partial revision of the Copyright Act. The revision aims at guaranteeing a well-balanced protection for creative works while, at the same time, meeting the requirements of the information society.
Documentation for downloading:
- Dispatch (in German, pdf 621 KB, French, pdf 622 KB or Italian, pdf 618 KB)
- Federal decree on the approval of two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization and on the revision of the Copyright Act (in German, pdf 481 KB, French, pdf 475 KB or Italian, pdf 479 KB)
- Revision of the Federal Act on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (in German, pdf 471 KB, French, pdf 462 KB or Italian, pdf 462 KB)
- WIPO-Internet-Treaties (WCT, in German, pdf 484 KB, French, pdf 479 KB or Italian, pdf 477 KB / WPPT in German, pdf 493 KB, French, pdf 488 KB or Italian, pdf 486 KB)
At its session June 10, 2005 the Federal Council has mandated the Federal Department of Justice and Police to prepare a draft for a revised Copyright Act by early 2006. The draft shall adapt the protection of literary and artistic creations as well as of performances and related commercial and organisational services to the challenges of digital technologies and enable Switzerland to ratify the so-called WIPO Internet Treaties.
See the press release (in German, pdf 47 KB, French, pdf 48 KB or Italian, pdf 46 KB); Report (in German, pdf 534 KB, French, pdf 550 KB or Italian, pdf 498 KB) on the results of the consultation.
At its session on 15 September 2004, the Federal Council requested the Federal Department of Justice and Police to carry out a consultation regarding the draft of the Copyright Act revision. The consultation will begin on 1 October 2004 and continue until 31 January 2005. See the press release in German (pdf 83 KB), French (pdf 89 KB) or Italian (pdf 86 KB).
Consultation documentation for downloading:
- Preliminary draft (in German, pdf 172 KB, French, pdf 162 KB or Italian, pdf 168 KB)
- Explanatory report (in German, pdf 434 KB or French, pdf 331 KB or Italian, pdf 86 KB)
- WIPO treaties (WCT in German, pdf 113 KB, French, pdf 116 KB or Italian, pdf 114 KB / WPPT in German, pdf 123 KB, French, pdf 126 KB or Italian, pdf 124 KB)
This website has been created for the purpose of shaping public opinion as part of the partial amendment of the Copyright Act which went into force July 1, 2008. It will no longer be updated.
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