The Federal Copyright Law (URG) recently underwent revision. The new version came into force on 1 July 2008. It encompasses all the requirements emanating from the aforementioned international treaties for which reason for most purposes only the Federal Copyright Law is used in practice. The revision encompassed not only the inclusion of new collective management areas arising from technical progress, but also a tightening-up of supervision of the collective rights management organisations through precise definition of criteria.
Collective management: The reason why collective rights management organisations are necessary
The Federal Copyright Law (URG) is based on the view that the rights accruing to authors are essentially the responsibility of the rightholders to assert for themselves. The Federal Copyright Law only envisages collective management by collective rights management organisations in circumstances where mass utilisation makes direct management virtually impossible. These societies are bound by law to assert the rights pertaining to their area of activity and thus to act on behalf of the rightholders they represent.
Within the collective management, a distinction is made between the utilisation of exclusive rights themselves (e.g. the right of cable TV providers to rebroadcast the television signal to their customers via cable) and the mere assertion of the entitlement to remuneration (e.g. the individual’s right to make a copy of a music CD for their use). Exclusive rights have absolute effect and enable the collective rights management organisations to prohibit utilisations. Entitlements to remuneration on the other hand solely grant an enforceable monetary claim.