5a.5 Restriction for scientific research

On 1 April 2020, a new restriction called Use of works for the purposes of scientific research came into force with art. 24d of the new Swiss Copyright Act. It is now permitted, under certain conditions, the reproduction of a work for science research and its saving for archiving and backup purposes.

In the research field it is often used the socalled technique “Text & data mining”: it is an electronic treatment of big volumes of documents and data with the aim of analysing texts and gather informations so to identify interconnections and correlations among them. That implies the use of an automatic technical process based on algorithms to seek patterns among a big quantity of works protected by copyright (texts, audios, images and other kind of data) available on the web (web scraping) or out the web, by regularly doing reproduction and copy operations of the works and informations to be analysed and than saved in memory.

These acts of works reproduction, copy and retaining should require the authors’ authorisations in the form of individual licences. Aiming to facilitate the scientific research, this restriction of the copyright protection is being regulated and authorises the use of works for science purposes under the following conditions:

  • the work used must be lawfully accessible,
  • its reproduction and copy is due to the use of a technical process and
  • necessary for the research activity,
  • the copy must not be done so to avoid supplement costs of the purchase of works,
  • the source must be mentioned.

Under these conditions it is allowed to reproduce even an entire work. This rule also permits to save the works used for archiving and backup purposes, as long as it is necessary for verifiability of the research results and procedure. That doesn’t mean that one is allowed to freely use these reproductions beyond the research activity. Seeking for the author’s permission is ought for any use of further research results when the original work is being modified.