Pursuant to Art. 2 para. 2 (a) CopA, literary, scientific and other linguistic works can be protected by copyright when they are intellectual creations with an individual character and perceptible to the senses.
A linguistic work exists when a thought is expressed with language (Hilty, Urheberrecht, 11th edition, p. 77). This does not mandatorily have to be in the form of classic written works (books, magazines, brochures, letters, etc.), but can also be an oral speech, for example. In the case of literary works, the work character is usually given as the required individuality mostly exists.
The category of linguistic works also includes scientific linguistic works. Prominent examples are PhDs, MA and bachelor theses; further examples include final projects or specialist essays in magazines. Such works usually enjoy copyright protection. However, critical questions should be raised as to whether the work or part of the work for which copyright protection is sought is an intellectual creation. This may be doubtful in individual cases for the following reason:
Scientific linguistic works usually come from a “scientific idea”, i.e. a subject that you want to examine in more depth. Statements about states (e.g. research results, laws), procedures (e.g. methods, formulas) and other facts (e.g. historical facts) are then derived from these “scientific ideas”. However, these have very little to do with creative efforts as the results will be or have already been proven through research, (natural) scientific rules or already existing facts; not because of creativity or individuality (cf. BGE 113 II 306, 308). The “scientific idea” and the findings derived from it are still not sufficient for the copyright demands on a scientific protected linguistic work. These “scientific findings” must still be transposed into a structure and a linguistic form. And this can definitely be creative in nature. It actually includes the form which the author of the linguistic work creates from their own creative or original effort. For example, this can be the structure and the depiction of the work, the contents, the choice of topic, texts, in particular introductory texts, descriptions and images, etc.
This may be somewhat difficult to understand as it gives the impression that scientific works do not enjoy copyright protection and that you can “freely” use the contents. This is definitely not the case. Only findings which serve the purpose of scientific research are in the public domain so that free access to science can be guaranteed.
The following applies as a rule of thumb: the new original and individual form of expression which arises out of a scientific work is protected by copyright – i.e. what has never existed in this form in the past (creative quality) and what would not have been developed by other like-minded specialists in this form (individuality).
And we should not forget good scientific practice – hereinafter, guidelines or regulations, amongst others those from educational and research institutions, can specify that public results with sources must also be cited. Non-observance of these regulations can lead to scientific misconduct (more information).
The scientific idea is not protected by copyright. This includes statements, discoveries and results from states, events, research and other facts. These have no creative content of their own.
No, because biographical data is considered to be in the public domain as it was not creatively developed by the PhD student (for more information, see the decision of the Federal Supreme Court BGE 113 II 306).
Yes and no: the theory is not protected by copyright in its semantic content. It is a scientific statement and must be freely available to science. If the theory is designed creatively and individually in linguistic terms, it is at least protected in this linguistic form. If the theory is used word-for-word by a third party, the exception of quotation must be observed pursuant to Art. 25 CopA; otherwise, the presumption of a work exists (plagiarism).
Basically yes, when the textbook or parts of it have creative and individual elements. The form of representation in particular can be protected, i.e. the structure of the textbook, the way the contents are put together, the form of linguistic communication (e.g. through images, tables, diagrams, etc.), the language itself (e.g. for laypeople without specialist vocabulary or humorous descriptions).However, the (teaching) methods or the knowledge about them which is transmitted by the book are not protected because parts of already known, tested and researched matter are summarised for the purpose of knowledge transfer.
No, only when the developed formulas, regulations or algorithms are only rewritten exactly. Then there is no space for any creativeness. However, if they are recorded in specially thought up plans, tables, images, text descriptions, etc., they can be protected works if they are sufficiently original and individual.