Given the diverging reactions to the preliminary draft for the copyright law review, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga consulted the AGUR12 again in the summer of 2016 – the latter is a working group consisting of representatives from the affected sectors. The working group had the goal to look for conjoint solutions. Text by Vincent Salvadé
For this purpose, several sub-groups were created; they were tasked with analysing several topics. SUISA was leading one of these sub-groups (working group 1) which focussed on four questions: Introduction of the extended collective licence, governance of the so-called “orphan” works, a possible new exception in copyright for science and the question of secondary publication rights of publicly financed scientific works.
Working group 1 consisted of the following representatives: Authors (Suisseculture), work users (DUN), libraries (BIS), music producers (IFPI), book publishers (SBVV), the Federal Office of Culture and the collective management organisations (Swissperform and SUISA). It was active between October 2016 and February 2017 and achieved the following results:
Extended collective licence
The extended collective licence (ECL) is a legal institution which is common in the Nordic countries, authorising collective management organisations to be active on behalf of all rightsholders as long as the societies are sufficiently representative. The working group holds the view that the ECL brings advantages both to rightsholders and users and consumers alike. It grants the former a remuneration for the mass exploitations of their works and performances, which individuals can hardly control and monitor. For the users, the ECL simplifies that process for obtaining the rights for projects which are connected with several goods protected by copyright (URG, CopA). This is particularly important in our digital age. Finally, the ECL could entail a growth in the number of cultural goods that are offered legally.
The working group has therefore presented a draft for a legal provision to introduce the ECL. It was careful when wording the draft that the legal basis would not be used to licence usages which clash with offers that are individually authorised by the rightsholders. Furthermore, the working group endeavoured to secure the freedom of the rightsholders by providing them with the opportunity to opt out from an ECL if the provisions are unacceptable for them.
Works are referred to as ‘orphan works’ if the rightsholders are unknown or cannot be located. Current legislation contains a provision on orphan works (Art. 22b URG/CopA) which authorises users to obtain the necessary exploitation rights via the licensed collective management organisations if the rightsholders cannot be contacted. This provision is, however, limited to sound and audiovisual recordings.
The working group suggests to expand this solution to all orphan works provided that they can be located in the archives of libraries, schools, museums and other institutions which contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage. It also recommends a solution in such cases where the collective management organisations cannot pay rightsholders after a period of ten years has lapsed: The money would then have to be invested into retirement funds and cultural promotion funds.
Exception for science
The working group is of the opinion that an exception of the exclusive right can be justified if the works are reproduced for scientific purposes by technical processes. These processes are, among others, data processing (text and data mining, TDM) and other similar procedures by means of which works are reproduced automatically in order for specific common features to be identified, for example. The European Union also plans to introduce such an exception.
The working group did, however, not reach an agreement concerning the issue whether this exception should be accompanied by a right to receive remuneration for the affected authors. The authors from the literature sector supported such a move whereas the users pleaded for an exception free of charge.
Technical measures simplify reading and processing of sources for scientists. Reading is a way to enjoy a work free from copyright. SUISA therefore reckons that a right to receive remuneration for the usage of sources in the context of a scientific activity is not advisable. An important factor, however, is to watch out whether the exploitation of the scientific research falls under copyright if this result contains recognisable, protected works. Furthermore, authors’ moral rights must remain unchanged, and the teaching activity must not fall under the new exception as they are already subject to a special regulation pursuant to Art. 19 and 20 URG/CopA (which provides for authors’ remuneration). The proposal of the working group takes these demands into account.
Secondary publication right
Work users, especially academic circles at Universities, wish to change the Swiss Code of Obligations in order to prohibit an author of a scientific work to assign his rights to make a work available to a publisher free of charge if it has been largely funded by the public authorities. It is the aim to allow authors to publish their works for free access on the internet, parallel to the publication by the publisher.
The working group was not able to submit a proposal regarding this issue as the opinions within the group varied too much. For publishers, such a provision would be the same as an actual expropriation and would prevent them from investing in the scientific sector.
The working group 1 has submitted its proposals to the AGUR12. The latter will discuss them together with other issues affecting the URG review (such as the fight against piracy or private copying). AGUR12 has finally established a supported compromise package where the three proposals described earlier by working group 1 were taken into consideration.
While it had to represent very different parts of the business, working group 1 managed to bring about an approach of the divergent views. This certainly contributed to a growth of the mutual understanding among the parties, and that a compromise could be found. A compromise, whose elements will be anchored in the law sooner or later, or so we hope.
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