The Copyright Act is principally designed to be technology-neutral so that it does not need to be revised every time there are new technical possibilities. Technical neutrality means it does not matter which technical procedure is used when someone uses a work; i.e. for example, a printed copy is made or a digital copy is scanned or uploaded, etc. (decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court – BGE – 133 III 481; Barrelet/Egloff, Urheberrecht, 3rd edition, 2008, Art. 10 N. 7a).
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5.2 Private use
Copyright law provides for a reconciliation of the author’s interests and those of the general public from a social point of view. On the one hand, the author’s exclusive right to decide whether, how and when their work is used is protected (Art. 10 CopA); however, on the other hand, the public needs to be able to use published works as freely as possible. The limiting provision of private use, which is divided into
- private use in the personal sphere or in a private circle (Art. 19 para. 1(a) CopA),
- private use for educational purposes (Art. 19 para. 1(b) CopA), and
- private use for professional purposes (Art. 19 para. 1(c) CopA).
Each of these sub-areas includes a particular circle of users, a particular purpose, as well as permitted acts of exploitation which lead in part to the obligation to provide remuneration.
Private use facilitates every use which is impossible to check (e.g. copying of works for personal private use) and which should also not be checked for the purposes of protecting the user’s privacy. The author must tolerate the legally permitted private use; however, they receive partial remuneration for this. Thus, the collecting society ProLitteris receives income from the copying of protected works by users. This is then distributed to the authors who are its members, in accordance with a particular calculation key pursuant to Section 15 of the Distribution Regulations of ProLitteris.