Modernisation of copyright law

Amendment to the Federal Act on Copyright and Related Rights.

What is it about?

The Federal Act of 9 October 1993 on Copyright and Related Rights (Copyright Act) regulates the protection of authors of literary and artistic works, the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and audiovisual fixations as well as broadcasting organisations and the federal supervision of collective rights management organisations (Art. 1 Copyright Act). Parliament last revised the Swiss Copyright Act in 2008 making initial adjustments to take into account the digital environment. A review by the copyright working group (AGUR12), convened in 2012, showed that due to ongoing digital transformation and technological developments, improvement was needed in certain areas. Under current legislation, rights owners in particular are failing to curtail copyright piracy. The draft amendment of the Copyright Act, which was submitted for consultation by the Federal Council on 11 December 2015, is therefore primarily aimed at an improved anti-piracy strategy, with a further goal being a more efficient collective management of copyright. The draft amendment also provides for the approval of the Beijing and Marrakesh treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for better protection for actors and better access to published works for people with visual impairments respectively. The consultation procedure resulted in a total of 1224 comments being received, many with strongly diverging stances.

What has happened so far?

  • On 30 November 2011, the Federal Council approves a report in response to the 10.3263 postulate "Unauthorised use of works on the internet" (in German or French) in which it comes to the conclusion that the existing legal framework is sufficient (media release). However, “technical developments as well as discussions at international level should be actively followed and the situation periodically re-evaluated”.
  • On 8 August 2012, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, Head of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), convenes a working group aimed at improving the collective management of copyright and related rights (AGUR12). She confers chairmanship of the working group to the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). The aim of the AGUR12 is to review the current copyright situation and identify ways of adapting copyright law to technical developments. In order to encompass all interest groups, the AGUR12 consists of six creative artist representatives as well as three representatives each from the producer, user and consumer sides as well as representatives from the federal administration.
  • The AGUR12 meets seven times between 8 October 2012 and 11 June 2013.
  • On 6 December 2013, the AGUR12 publishes its final report in which it proposes a package of measures in five key areas: improving information for consumers; expanding and thus increasing the attractiveness of lawful offers of protected works; simplifying the fight against piracy; increasing the efficiency and transparency of the collective rights management organisations; and 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.
  • On 6 June 2014, the Federal Council considers the AGUR12 recommendations and mandates the FDJP to prepare a draft for consultation by the end of 2015. 
  • The consultation, which started on 11 December 2016, ends on 31 March 2016. A total of 1224 opinions are received, many of them with strongly diverging stances – including on those points where the draft for consultation is largely based on the recommendations and the consensus found in the AGUR12 group in which creative artists, producers, users and consumers were represented.
  • The IPI evaluates the extensive comments received on the consultation by the end of August 2016. The preliminary results are presented to the AGUR12 as well as other stakeholders with the aim of revising the draft in cooperation with the parties concerned, thereby increasing acceptance of the draft provisions. 
  • Between 28 September 2016 and 1 February 2017 the reconvened working group (AGUR12 II) meets four times. The AGUR 12 II group also includes two internet service provider representatives and a representative from the Federal Office of Justice.
  • The copyright working group AGUR12 II concluded its work on 2 March 2017 and reached a compromise on various issues (media release, glossary). The Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) will take into consideration the results of the AGUR12 II on the revision of the Copyright Act and submit a proposal on how to proceed to the Federal Council by July 2017.
  • On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch on the amendments to the Copyright Act, the approval of two agreements of the World Intellectual Property Organization and their implementation (media release). The dispatch and the legislative draft will now be submitted to the National Council and Council of States for parliamentary deliberation.


Results of the consultation procedure

Message and draft

For the complete documentation see the pages in German, French or Italian.

Further information


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Contact / questions

Emanuel Meyer Swiss Federal Institute of Intellctuel Property
+41 31 377 72 23