Pirated copies, downloading, piracy and private use

Good to know

Copyright-protected works may only be copied under particular conditions, either because the author or the owner of rights has given their permission for this or because the law permits the copying (limiting provisions). However, music, films and games, etc. are actually often pirated and distributed in the Internet without permission and without respect for the law, which is fundamentally illegal and has the corresponding legal consequences. However, in Switzerland there is an exception in the case of private use in the personal sphere or in a private circle: downloading for this kind of private use is permitted here even when the work is illegally offered (e.g. copying a CD which is a pirated copy or downloading a film that was illegally uploaded onto a sharing platform, etc.). Copying and downloading for private use in the personal sphere or in a private circle is even permitted when the user knows that it is copied from an illegal source (this is not the case under German copyright law § 53 para. 1 German Copyright Act (UrhG), for example). However, in this case, as in other cases of private use, two important aspects must be considered: 1. The work to be copied must have been published; the copying of unpublished works is always illegal. 2. The work may not be uploaded, particularly when downloading protected works using peer-to-peer software. This software is usually configured so that an upload always occurs during the download.