Swiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working group

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

Swiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working group

The exhibition “Oh Yeah! Pop music in Switzerland” in the Museum for Communication in Berne covered 60 years of Swiss pop culture in the form of a multimedia experience (as pictured). An exhibition such as this would be able to benefit from a simplified rights acquisition via an extended collective licence (ECL). The introduction of such a licence has been one of the issues being discussed regarding a possible review of the Swiss Copyright Law. (Photo: Museum for Communication / Hannes Saxer)

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.

Orphan works

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.

What next?

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.

Related articles
Second attempt to review the Swiss Copyright Act The preliminary draft by the Swiss Federal Council for a review of the Swiss Copyright Act was not able to carry a majority during the consultation. The Federal Councillor in charge, Simonetta Sommaruga, has therefore called upon a working group again. AGUR12 II is asked to work out specific legislative proposals alongside the compromise that had been achieved by AGUR12 and been in place for more than 2 years. Read more
The fight for the copyright review gets tougher Dear members, the Swiss Federal Council launched the consultation for a draft to review copyright in December 2015. The draft followed the recommendations by AGUR12. However, further proposals were added from the administration and as a result of parliamentary initiatives. Read more
“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created” The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision. Read more
  1. Maruchka says:

    Droit d’auteur – révision
    Je ne suis pas sure d’avoir compris le chapitre ‘pour la science’

    Une petite vraie interrogation/apréhension : où s’arrête l’exception, ‘pour la science’ ?
    peut-on réquisitionner quelqu’un – juste pour la science – ?

    la science c’est des mio de personnes…
    la science ne sait-elle pas aller demander de la même façon, que n’importe quelle personne, qui veut diffuser une oeuvre ?
    si le scientifique aspirait à travailler gratuit, pour sa bonne cause ; reste que prendre c’est voler et obliger c’est très rarement bien.

    suggestion D : le scientifique fait sa demande à l’auteur et lui demande son prix/propose un tarif le scientifique informe l’auteur, qui a 10-15 jours (vs. poste) pour exprimer et exposer un éventuel désaccord et définir un autre tarif, que celui proposé par le scientifique
    + un tarif minimum mentionné dans les articles – calculé en fonction de la valeur ajoutée par l’oeuvre et des tarifs en vigueur dans le secteur du scientifique ou de l’artiste (l’oeuvrier) ; le tarif le plus élevé étant appliqué
    – en effet, dans ce genre de situation, ne faudrait-il normalement demander un audit par l’artiste ou un contrat de travail pour le scientifique-artiste ?
    pourquoi pas ?
    + subventions sont à disposition du scientifique, qui voudrait investir dans une recherche, p.ex. musicale

    Souvenez-vous quand nous montions aux fronton, pour défendre l’idée, le droit à la réflexion.
    Rappelez-vous quand le propriétaire du piano ou des toiles et de la peinture était le propriétaire de l’oeuvre, car l’esprit n’avait que peu de valeur, c’était le bien matériel qui comptait et qui recevait la somme totale des mérites, l’artiste vivant d’amour de son art et d’eau fraîche, rosée
    jusqu’à ce que sa toile ou sa musique finisse par lui rapporter argent…, enfin…, à ceux qui détenaient ses oeuvres ; lui n’ayant pas connu le jeans

    certains sont montés aux barricades, ce ne fut ni simple, ni rapide, peut-être y a-t-il eu des vies risquées mais la raisons a eu le dessus et le droit d’auteur est né, affaiblissant sans doute l’esclavagisme (ancrage du concept)
    cela a pris du temps, pour nous apporter le droit d’auteur, donc, à présent, que nous pouvons en profiter, faut-il vraiment le concéder, sans tenir compte des autres outils et données scientifiques comme un travail artistique ?
    mais pourquoi ?

    Voilà pour la science.

    Par contre se prendre un droit d’auteur sur quelque chose de visible (=/= créé par l’homme), comme par exemple une plante brésilienne brevetée aux USA/par USA c’est inconcevable…

    C’est un sujet qui me tient à coeur… :)

    • Nicolas Pont says:

      La restriction en faveur de l’utilisation à des fins scientifiques a été notamment conçue pour favoriser la fouille de textes et de données (text and data mining ou TDM).

      Il s’agit par exemple de pouvoir analyser et découvrir d’éventuels liens entre les nombreuses publications scientifiques, afin de trouver de nouvelles pistes de recherche, notamment dans le domaine de la médecine.

      Sans restriction en faveur de l’utilisation à des fins scientifiques, les chercheurs devraient, pour fouiller et compiler des extraits de textes, demander l’autorisation préalable des auteurs de ces textes, protégés par le droit d’auteur. Cela n’est tout simplement pas possible d’un point de vue pratique.

      SUISA est favorable à la restriction, qui ne devrait toutefois que peu concerner les oeuvres musicales.

      Ce qui se fait dans le secret du laboratoire du chercheur est difficilement contrôlable et il est donc également complexe de faire valoir un droit d’auteur sur cet acte.

      En revanche, il est capital que le résultat de la recherche scientifique ne puisse pas être exploité librement, s’il reproduit des oeuvres protégées. Les auteurs de ces oeuvres protégées doivent avoir leur mot à dire sur cette exploitation et avoir les moyens de demander une rémunération. C’est l’une des priorités de SUISA.

      L’exception pour la science ne doit pas concerner l’enseignement, y compris dans les universités, puisque la loi prévoit un droit à rémunération en faveur des auteurs dans ce cadre. Ce droit à rémunération fait l’objet du tarif commun 7, lequel ne doit pas être touché par une exception pour la science. C’est l’autre priorité de SUISA.

      Nicolas Pont / Service juridique SUISA Lausanne

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.