- Basics of Copyright
- 1. WHERE... is the work used and which national law is applicable?
- 2. WHAT... is a protected work?
- 4. WHICH... rights in the work are protected?
- 5. HOW... may other people use a work?
- 5b. HOW ... can other people use a work? - Contractual licenses
- 6. AND... responsibility and sanctions?
- 7. Copyright and social media
3.2 Joint author
If several people have contributed as authors to the creation of a work, they are called joint authors. These joint authors all have a joint copyright in the work (Art. 7 para. 1 CopA).
The joint authors can create a joint work by collectively working on an idea or objective (e.g. several artists create a sculpture together), or each joint author can create their own work which is then added to the joint work, together with the work of all the other joint authors (e.g. several writers write a text contribution to a joint book). In both cases, it is important that everybody gives creative input.
Unless agreed otherwise, the joint authors may only use the work with the consent of all the authors. The other joint authors may not arbitrarily refuse to give their consent ('contrary to the principles of good faith') (Art. 7 para. 2 CopA) and usually have to give their consent if the work is used for its customary purpose. If the individual contributions can be separated and there is no agreement to the contrary, each of the joint authors may individually use their own contribution, provided that this does not affect the exploitation of the joint work (Art. 7 para. 4 CopA).
There is no joint authorship in the following cases:
In this case, the author of the existing work and the author of the new work are not joint authors. The criterion for joint authorship is that a work must be jointly created; this is not fulfilled here.
3.2-2 A lecturer wants to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for his class, but does not know how it works. He writes the text on paper and asks an assistant to insert it into PowerPoint without any changes. Is the assistant a joint author of the text?
3.2-3 A lecturer has not put anything to paper and asks his assistant to prepare PowerPoint slides for the lecture. The assistant prepares them, using their own ideas and structures, then the lecturer revises the slides. Who is the author of the work?
The lecturer and the assistant are joint authors. They have a joint task, i.e. to add the contents of the lecture to a PowerPoint presentation; both the lecturer and the assistant give creative input.