In Switzerland the Federal Act on Copyright and Related Rights (the so called Copyright Act) is currently being revised.
The main aim of the modernization of the Copyright Act is primarily combating Internet piracy. At the same time legal regulations are adapted to the latest technological developments. The draft of the amended Copyright Act also includes the lending right which requires libraries to pay a fee for every single lending of an item to the collecting societies (public lending right/library levy/library royalties). This could become particularly life threatening for public libraries. As a result of the ongoing revision of the Copyright Act a special Task Force was established on 12 November 2015 on the initiative of the BIS – the Swiss Library Information Association. This Task Force consists of more than 40 representatives of “memory institutions” such as archives, libraries and museums as well as from education, science, technology and research – the PBZ is/are also involved. The Task Force wants that with the revised Copyright Act the interests of the above mentioned institutions will be most appropriately taken into consideration.
In December more than 600 libraries and about 600 other institutions made a written “intervention” to the government, that we don’t accept the law in this way without protest and that we will fight against. Now the government has revised the proposed law again and at least the “library royalties” is no longer a theme. The first step is done.
But in addition to the participation in the consultation on the new Copyright Act it will be crucial that the institutions involved use their networks in order to build up a strong lobby. Only on this basis will our concerns will be taken seriously by both the National Council and the Council of States when the draft bill will be passed to the two chambers of the Parliament.