5b.3 Extended collective licenses

Extended collective licenses regulate the use of a large number of published works and protected performances when it would be impossible or it would require a disproportionate effort to reach out to each right holder to seek permission to use all the works needed.

Who are licensors, licensees and other people involved?

An institution willing to use the large number of copyright protected works may enter into an Extended collective license with the collective management organization competent for the works in question. E.g., if it’s about the use of a large number of photographs and images, the interested institution should conclude a license with Prolitteris; if it’s about a large number of records of classical music concerts the competent collective management organization is SWISSPERFORM. Usually an institution concludes the license so that its employers/members/researchers are allowed to use the works as stated in the license without needing to further ask the right holders for authorization to use the works.

However, the right holder of a protected work is allowed to opt out from this possibility, meaning that her/his works cannot be included in an Extended collective license.

Extended collective licenses are only valid in Switzerland.

When and what can be licensed

An Extended collective license covers the use of a large number of determined works (a heap or collection of works) protected by copyright.

This license may be useful when the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • the user needs to use lots of works, or multiple users of the same institution need to use works that are part of a heap or collection of works;
  • the use needed goes beyond what is already permitted by the exceptions (private use, educational purposes, quotation, etc.). Therefore, the user should be authorized to use the works, but the process of contacting and receiving permissions from right holder or collective management organization for each work may be so long and expensive that it would demand a disproportionate effort or even impossible if the right holders are unknown or don’t answer (it’s usually the case for orphan works). But without proper authorization, such a reuse of the works would consist of a copyright infringement.

To solve this problem and to foster the use of published works, especially in the scientific research field, art. 43a of the Swiss Copyright Act, added with the legislative revision in 2020, gives the possibility of concluding an Extended collective license with the competent collecting society.


Prolitteris is the collecting management organization competent for texts and images. Since extended collective licenses must be publicly visible, here you can see those stipulated by Prolitteris.
Each collecting management organization may conclude such licenses for the corresponding type of works.