Who can take legal action?
Legal action can be taken by the owner of the rights in question irrespective of whether they are a natural or a legal person. This could be the author or third-party assignees of the copyright.
This category also includes collective rights management organisations which have been granted certain rights. In any case, another owner of the copyright than the author cannot exercise more rights that it has been granted by the author. For example, if the author grants an editor the copyright in a document on a non-exclusive basis for the sole purpose of publishing the work as an article in a printed magazine, that editor cannot take legal action for a copyright infringement if the author then decides to grant the rights to publish the same article to an online magazine.
Against whom is action brought in court?
Action is brought against anyone who participated in the infringement, i.e. the main person(s) responsible for the illegal act and any instigators and accomplices.
For example, the instigator is the person who asks for the creation of the work or places it on the market, both of which infringe the copyright. The accomplice could be a web host that publishes the work which infringes the copyright.
These actors are usually jointly liable.
Unlike actions for reparations in Swiss common law, it is not necessary to establish the culpability of the defendant for these defensive actions. It is possible to request the removal from a website of content which infringes a copyright, even if the defendant was not aware of the infringement.
What to request?
The request to the court must be as precise as possible and refer to the case at hand (BGE 97 II 92).
For example, it is possible to request the court to prohibit or remedy an illegal act. However, it is also possible to request the court to force the defendant to act in a positive way, e.g. to respect the authorship of a work.
In order to ensure that the court order is properly implemented as soon as possible, the best course of action is to request for a threat of enforcement to be issued along with the verdict based on Art. 292 Swiss Criminal Code (SCC), which stipulates that a criminal penalty may be enforced if an official order is disobeyed.