2.6.1. Terms of protection – beginning and end

A work is protected by copyright as soon as it is created (Art. 29 Para. 1 CopA). It does not have to be entered in a register, have a copyright symbol© on it, be recorded on a carrier medium such as paper, an audiotape, etc., or be published. It is also not decisive whether a work has been completed or whether only a part of it exists, as long as the draft or the part which has been created fulfils the conditions of a copyright-protected work (Art. 2 Para. 1 CopA). The beginning of the protection also does not depend on whether a work has been published, or not.

If both the author and their date of death are known, this generally means that the term of protection ends for all works (with the exception of computer programs) 70 years after the death of the author (Art. 29 Para. 2 (a) CopA). Computer programs are only protected for 50 years after the death of the author (Art. 29 Abs. 2 (b) CopA).

Photographs and photographs of three-dimensional objects produced by a process similar to that of photography that do not have individual character are protected for 50 years from the day of their production (Art. 29 Para. 2 let. abis CopA).

Website last updated: 1.4.2020