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Copyright law

Current information on copyright law.

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Federal Council publishes report on resale rights

The introduction of a resale right would allow visual artists to receive a share of the proceeds from the resale of their works through art dealers. The Federal Council today adopted a report on this subject, which fulfils a postulate from Council of States member Luginbühl. The report presents various possibilities for the resale right and analyses the economic impact of its introduction.

  

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New advance in collective rights management for copyrights

The interpellation Quadri 12.3396 - Der Auftrag der Suisa an die Yacast schadet der schweizerischen Musikproduktion (‘Suisa’s contract to Yacast damages Swiss music production’) was submitted during the Spring session 2014. It involves the automatic reporting of works of music played in clubs and discos.

  

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Modernisation of copyright

The Federal Council treated the AGUR12 recommendations on June 6, 2014 and mandated the FDJP to prepare a draft bill for public consultation by the end of 2015. The following parliamentary interventions will have to be taken into consideration: the Fluri Motion 13.3583 - Compensation for authors (in German, French and Italian) and the CEAT-N Motion 14.3293 – Blank media (in German, French and Italian) as well as the parliamentary initiative 13.404 – Stop to the unfair levy on blank media (in German, French and Italian).

The Luginbühl postulate 13.4083 – Resale right for Swiss artists (in German, French and Italian) will be treated in a separate report.

  

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Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled

The Marrakesh Treaty, which was concluded at the diplomatic conference held in Marrakesh in June 2013, facilitates access to works protected by copyright for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. It will enter into force three months after 20 parties have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession. On the basis of an exception to copyright, organisations for the blind and visually impaired persons can, thanks to the treaty, produce, distribute and make available books in Braille or in an electronic version which is readable with a device for the visually impaired. Permission from the copyright owner will no longer be necessary.

Switzerland signed the Marrakesh Treaty on 28 June 2013. Swiss legislation already includes exceptions in this field. The Marrakesh Treaty provides now for an international rule.

  

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Procedural requests for the enforcement of copyright

Several procedural requests are currently dealing with the enforcement of copyright simultaneously: the Fluri Postulate 12.4238 - Economic damage caused by illegal offers on the internet, which requests a report from the Federal Council on the extent of the damage incurred from the use of unlicensed offers, the Freysinger Motion 12.3834 - Copyright protection, which calls for an approach on the continuous protection of copyright by the Federal Council, as well as the Fluri Interpellation 12.3902 - Switzerland as a refuge for illegal offers, which calls for an assessment by the Federal Council on the causes, effects and possible measures concerning breaches of copyright.

  

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Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances

The Beijing Treaty, which was concluded at the diplomatic conference held in Beijing in June 2012, grants actors the same protection as that given to performers under the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and thus resolves unjustified unequal treatment at international level. It will enter into force three months after 30 parties have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession.

Switzerland signed the Beijing Treaty on 26 June 2012. This improved protection at international level does not require an amendment to national law as actors and performers are already treated equally under Swiss legislation.

  

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Procedural requests for the collective management of copyright

Three procedural requests, which deal with questions concerning the collective management of copyright, were submitted during the 2012 spring session: the Recordon Postulate 12.3326 - For copyright which is fair and compatible with the freedom of the internet community, the Glättli Postulate 12.3173 - Appropriate remuneration for creative artists while ensuring the privacy of internet users and the Mörgeli Interpellation 12.3092 - Collective management of copyright. The  Federal Council's opinion on the Glättli Postulate, its response to the Mörgeli Interpellation as well as the verbatim report on the Recordon Postulate can be found at the relevant links above (in German, French or Italian). Parliament accepted both postulates.

  

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No change in the system for obtaining data to determine remuneration for photocopying

Preparations for the implementation of the Stadler Motion 08.3589 - Copyright remuneration for authors instead of for legal proceedings (in German, French and Italian) showed that, contrary to expectations, the aim of the motion - a more efficient implementation of the entitlement to remuneration for photocopying – cannot be put into effect in the way proposed by the  author of the motion. The Federal Council has therefore decided to request the abandonment of the motion.

Report in German, French and Italian (pdf 115 KB).

  

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Copyright infringements on the internet: existing legal framework is sufficient

On 30 November 2011, the Swiss Federal Council adopted the report regarding the Savary postulate, "Does Switzerland need a law against the illegal downloading of music?" (in German, French and Italian). Technological developments have fundamentally changed user behaviour. This leads to understandable insecurity but does not endanger Switzerland's cultural landscape. Legislative intervention at this point in time is neither required nor sensible.

  • Press release (pdf 40 KB)
  • Report of the Swiss Federal Council on unlawful internet uses of works in reply to the Savary postulate 10.3263 (in German, pdf 331 KB, French, pdf 335 KB, or Italian, pdf 398 KB)

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Barrier-free access to books

Mr. Luc Recordon, MP, asked the Federal Council by way of Interpellation of 1 June 2001 to communicate Switzerland’s position at the session of the WIPO committee in June 2011. Mr. Recordon is especially interested in the opinion of the Federal Council on exceptions and limitations for a barrier-free access to books by people with visual impairments
11.3491 – WIPO Treaty proposal. Improved access to book for people with visual impairments (in German, French and Italian)

  

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Reduction of copyright fees for school use

Mr NR Gerhard Pfister submitted a motion on 16 June 2010, which aims at a change to the Copyright Act. The existing reduced tariffs for school use should be specified and a reduced rate of 65% adopted in the Copyright Act.

10.3612 - Relieve education. Change to the Copyright Act (in German, French and Italian)

  

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Extent of the use of unlicensed offers over the internet

On 10 June 2010, the Council of States mandated the Federal Council to compile a study investigating the extent of the use of unlicensed music offers and to show possible courses of action.
10.3263 – Does Switzerland need a law against the illegal downloading of music? (in German, French and Italian)

  

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Improvements regarding the remuneration for the use of copyright

A corresponding motion by Mr CS Hansruedi Stadler under the title "Copyright renumeration for authors instead of for legal proceedings" was accepted by Parliament on 17 December 2008 (CS) and  on 17 December 2008 (NC). The IPI has now been entrused with the implementation of the motion and it is expected that a preliminary draft will go into consultation at the beginning of January 2011.

08.3589 – Copyright remuneration for authors instead of for legal proceedings (German, French or Italian)

  

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Amendment of Article 12 of the Federal Act on Copyright and Related Rights (CopA)

As of 1 August 2002, Article 12 CopA contains a new paragraph 1bis, which regulates the special situation of audiovisual works. This provision, pursuant to the new law on cinema production and film culture (FiA, SR 443.1, in force as of 1 August 2002), provides for national exploitation of audiovisual works (see Art. 36 FiA (amendment of previous legislation)). Although it did not figure in the draft proposed by the Federal Council, the provision was introduced during the parliamentary debate on cinema and film legislation (FiA) upon a motion by the Commission for Science, Education and Culture of the Council of States. It stipulates that the import to Switzerland of video cassettes or DVDs which have previously been marketed in a third country, requires an authorisation from the author or his legal successor. Audiovisual works are exploited according to the "cascade principle", i.e. the work is first featured in cinemas, then on video or DVD, and finally on television. Article 12 paragraph 1bis CopA is meant to avoid competition between video cassettes and DVDs and the cinema exploitation of films.

The amendment led to a storm of controversy, particularly from video shops and consumers, who argued that an absolute ban on the parallel import of video cassettes and DVDs goes too far. As a result, the Parliament amended Article 12 paragraph 1bis CopA, as part of the revision of the antitrust law (Kartellgesetzrevision). The new version prohibits the parallel import of video cassettes and DVDs only during the first run of a new film in cinemas. Parallel import is authorised as soon as primary cinema exploitation is over. This upholds the cascade principle, without curtailing competition in the distribution of video cassettes and DVDs by a ban on parallel import.

To make things clearer, it ought to be specified that the new Article 12 paragraph 1bis CopA:

  • Protects only the first run of a new film. Re-runs of older films and first runs of cult or art films in specialised cinemas do not justify a ban on parallel import;
  • Authorises the distribution of videos and DVDs of films that are not featured at all in Swiss cinemas, or only in special venues (e.g. film clubs);
  • Enables a differentiated exploitation along linguistic lines; films are not featured throughout Switzerland at the same time. The new legislation allows for the regional launch of a film on the video market after its cinema run.

This amendment will enter into force in parallel with the new antitrust law (passed on 20 June 2003) in spring 2004.

For the parliamentary debate, see the "Amtliche Bulletin" (in German) or le "Bulletin officiel" (in French).

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