Swiss media: Better protection for content on the Internet called for

The Swiss Media Association is calling for improved legal protection for media companies. Copyright protection is no longer adequate to prevent the unfair digital exploitation/use of publishers' overall journalistic output.

This also applies to organizational services such as proofreading, editing, compiling the individual texts into a uniform newspaper, distribution, marketing, brand reputation, layout and printing, as the Swiss Media Association writes in a communiqué on Friday. In comparable industries, this protection gap has been eliminated by an ancillary copyright. Broadcasters and producers of sound recordings have already had such a right for some time and can better defend their rights against third parties thanks to this institution.

By improving legal protection for media companies, publishers are to receive significantly improved investment protection and better enforcement options against infringers. "This protection is important because it is also a necessary prerequisite for the necessary establishment of payment models for publishers' digital offerings," writes the association. Specific protection for media companies would include meaningful excerpts from journalistic articles, which have not yet been sufficiently protected by copyright and fair use law, while the existing right to quote should remain untouched. For commercial news aggregators, this would mean that they would have to conclude usage agreements with publishers for the use of news excerpts. The content of such agreements would be freely configurable; collective exploitation is rejected.

Federal Councillor Sommaruga has set up an AGUR12 working group to assess the Copyright Act from the point of view of the electronic use of media, among other things. The Swiss Media Association is a member of this working group and will put forward its concerns in this context. In addition, the Association's Executive Committee decided on Friday to set up an internal working group to examine further options for improving the protection of publishing services against unlawful commercial use. The Executive Committee will discuss the results of this working group further in the spring.

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