Innovations in the revised copyright law

New legal situation since April 1, 2020

9. November 2020In NewsBy Ursula Baumann

First-hand information on what’s new in the revised Copyright Act

A Corona-compliant group of 15 SAB members and interested non-members met on October 21 in the HWZ Zurich for the workshop “Photography & Copyright” by Christoph Schütz, the SAB, the Swiss working group of image agencies and – Archives, invited. The topic was the innovations regarding photographs in the revised Copyright Act, which has been in force since April 1, 2020.

Christoph Schütz, a well-founded expert on the subject, provided information on the new legal situation. As the initiator and head of the photo protection working group of the SBF, USPP, vfg, SAB, impressum and syndicom associations, he fought tenaciously and passionately for better protection of photos without individual character (“simple photos”). With success: since April 1, 2020, all photographs in Switzerland have been protected by copyright.

Paragraph 3bis has been added to Article 2 of the CopA: “Photographic reproduction and reproduction of three-dimensional objects produced using a method similar to photography are considered works, even if they do not have an individual character.”

However, there is a difference in the duration of protection: While individually designed photographs are protected for up to 70 years after the death of the author, protection for non-individual photographs is limited to 50 years after production. The photo protection working group had proposed to set protection for the new photography category as in Germany and Austria to 50 years after publication and only for unpublished images to 50 years after production, but this proposal was unsuccessful. The new barriers to copyright law were also discussed. A transitional provision stipulates that legal uses that began under old law may be completed.
Not everything that would have been desirable made it into the URG revision – it can be assumed that further adjustments will be discussed in the future.

Christoph Schütz has designed his workshop “Photography & Copyright” for authorities, associations, companies and institutions who use photographs from third parties in digital or printed form or who are interested in copyright issues relating to photographs for other reasons and shows how to use a Image usage has to take precedence. Much of it was familiar matter to his audience of visual professionals. Nevertheless, many questions were asked and answered in the group together with experiences and examples from practice. An aperitif in the in-house bistro concluded the interesting, lively workshop.

More about Christoph Schütz, photographer, publisher and media scientist from Friborg
Website “Working Group Photo Protection”:

Image: “Photography is a matter of luck” | Christoph Schütz | 2020