Right of disclosure

According to Art. 9 para. 2 CopA, the author “has the exclusive right to decide whether, when, how and under what author’s designation their own work is disclosed”. Disclosure of a work is when it is made accessible for the first time to a group of recipients that the author can no longer control. Thus, making a work available on social media essentially constitutes disclosure (Reusser S., L’admissibilité des hyperliens en droit d’auteur [Admissibility of Hyperlinks in Copyright Law], Helbing Lichtenhahn, Basel, Faculté de droit de l’Université de Neuchâtel, 2014, p. 136). Disclosure must be by the author or a person authorised by the author. A work has therefore not been disclosed when the user does not have the author’s permission (Philippin E. in: de Werra/Guilliéron (ed.), CoRo, Propriété intellectuelle [Intellectual Property] p. 79).

FAQ Someone has published the first few chapters of a book I am writing on social networks without my knowledge. Is my work deemed to have been disclosed?

In accordance with Art. 9 para. 3 CopA, the author must be the one to disclose their work. This provision is violated if parts of a work are published without the author’s knowledge and these parts have an individual character (Art. 2 para. 5 CopA). Beyond this violation, the work is not deemed to have been disclosed if it was done without your consent. I sent the article that I am currently writing to some of my friends on Facebook. Have I disclosed my work?

A work is deemed to have been disclosed when the author loses control of the group of people who have access to their work. A work which has been published by the author on their home page without any restriction regarding access to the work can be considered to have been disclosed. However, if the friends constitute a select group, this is not considered to be the same as disclosing your work because the work remains within a group of closely connected people. Therefore, anyone subsequently disclosing the work will require the author’s permission.