Switzerland/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

Switzerland is a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886), and of the Universal Copyright Convention (1956). Switzerland has yet to ratify the Geneva Convention and the Rome International Convention.

The Copyright Act protects the rights of the creators of works of literature and art, the rights of practising artists, the rights of the creators of sound and audio-visual media and of the broadcasting companies, and places collecting societies under federal supervision.

The Copyright Act was revised by Parliament in 2007. Swiss legislation ensures a high level of protection compared to the rest of Europe. Introducing remuneration for the mass exploitation or release of protected works tends to improve the position of creative artists. Additional fees benefiting the creators of works are levied on the transferring of sound media onto empty cassettes, on the recording of programmes, on the photocopying of works at libraries, schools, and private enterprises, as well as on the rental of copies made of the original work. Furthermore, the term of protection is extended from 50 years to 70 years after the creator's death.

The copyright working group (AGUR12) appointed by the Federal Council in August 2012 published its final report in December 2013. In the working group, artists and representatives of producers, the economy, users and consumers have collated and intensively discussed, for well over a year, the numerous criticisms levelled at copyright in the digital age. As a result, AGUR12 has proposed a package of measures in five main areas: improving information for consumers, expanding and thus increasing the attractiveness of legal offers, simplifying the fight against piracy, increasing the efficiency and transparency of the collective rights management organisations, as well as adapting the limitations and exceptions to copyright to recent developments. These recommendations are addressed partly to rights owners and the collective rights management organisations, and partly to the legislature and the federal administration. Downloading from the internet should remain permissible; unauthorised uploading, however, will remain illegal.

On 6 June 2014, the Federal Council dealt with the AGUR12 recommendations and mandated the FDJP to prepare a draft bill for public consultation by the end of 2015.

Collecting societies in Switzerland include SUISA (music), Pro Litteris (literature and the fine arts), Suissimage (audiovisual works), Société suisse des auteurs (word, music, choreographic, audiovisual and multimedia works), and Suisseperform (rights of performing artists, phonogram producers, audiovisual producers and broadcasters).


Chapter published: 13-11-2014


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