New important rules for copyright protection of photographs in Switzerland

Some amendments to the Copyright Law of Switzerland have been made recently, which aim is to make the law more responsive to the new digital era.

One of the amendments concerns the protection of photographs. Until recently, it was possible only photos with individual character, result of creative efforts, to be protected in Switzerland. All other ordinary photographs with just a technical character were not subject to any protection.

This changed on 01.04.2020. From that moment on even photos without individual character will be protected by copyright although the term of protection will be 50 years from the date of their creation in contrast with 70 years after the death of the author in the case of original photos.

The new rules will be valid for photographs created before the date when the amendments came into force in case that the photos were not been used. For situations where such photos have been put in use, for advertisement, in catalogs etc., the new amendments will be not valid.

Source: CMS von Erlach Poncet AG – Simone Brauchbar Birkhäuser and Aline Steffen, for Lexology.