If pupils, apprentices, students, PhD students or other learners produce a creative work during their studies, they are the authors.
If the educational institutions also wish to have the copyrights in such works, they will need separate agreements with the authors. However, as pupils and students do not usually enter into contracts with educational institutions, the copyrights are not assigned by way of a contract. This means that third parties, including teachers, lecturers and other people giving lessons, always have to obtain the consent of the learner if they wish to use their work.
However, there are cases where learners also assign their copyrights to the educational institution under a contract or regulations, in which case no separate agreement is required. This applies, for example, to:
- Apprentices who assigned their copyrights under the apprenticeship contract
Apprentices and teaching operations conclude an apprenticeship contract (with the consent of the legal representative for minor apprentices). This apprenticeship contract can contain a provision regarding the assignment of copyrights. If it is not clear from the apprenticeship contract whether the copyrights were assigned, the principle of assignment limited to purpose must be applied to establish whether the assignment of the rights is required for the purpose of the contract.
- Study regulations which require the assignment of copyrights
The study regulations of a number of Swiss higher educational institutions state that the students grant the universities and universities of applied sciences copyrights in the work that they create during their study. One example is Art. 34 of the Academic Ordinance Governing Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programmes at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (FH Zentralschweiz) of 13 June 2014. The study regulations of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) specify, for example, that students are obliged to grant the rights to intellectual property acquired as part of their studies to the FHNW (cf. § 10 (j) of the Framework Regulations Governing the Bachelor and Master Degree Programmes at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) of 2 February 2015).
- Work created while doing research during an employment relationship between the researcher and the university
Students at universities (e.g. PhD students) can, for example, do work for chairs or projects, and have an employment relationship with the relevant educational institution. In this case, the assignment of copyrights is governed by the applicable regulations of the educational institution or the specific provisions of the employment contract.
- Projects funded by third parties
Works created as part of projects funded by third parties can sometimes be subject to the regulations of the sponsoring institutions on the assignment of copyrights. For example, Art. 44 of the Funding Regulations of the Swiss National Science Foundation states that although the rights in the research results belong to the authors, the authors have to define such rights with their employers and grant the other project members or employees suitable author rights.