Manufacture and import of storage media

Apply here for a licence to manufacture or import storage media (CT 4 and 4i).

Why levy a fee on blank storage media?

The Federal Copyright Act permits the copying of works protected by copyright for use in the private sphere. Article 19(1)(a) of the Federal Copyright Act defines “private use” as copies which individuals make "for their own personal use or for use within a circle of close friends and relatives". Anybody wishing to copy music from a music recording or from the internet for their private use can do so unrestrictedly. To ensure that the authors do not come out empty-handed, the law provides for a fee to be levied on blank storage media built into devices (e.g. MP3 player, smartphones, tablets, etc.). The levy goes to the rightholders of the works.

Blank storage media or devices with built-in storage media which are subject to the levy:

  • blank audio tapes
  • blank CD-R data carrier
  • blank DVD, Bluray data carrier
  • digital video storage media
  • digital audio storage media
  • storage media in smartphones
  • storage media in tablets
  • Laptops
  • SSD, external hard drives and additional memory
  • ...

The manufacturer or importer of the blank storage media is liable for the levy

The collective management organisation levies the fee from the manufacturer or importer of the blank media who can include the amount in the purchase price charged to the consumer. The manufacturer is whoever produces blank storage media in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein and markets them in their customary form to retailers or to the consumer directly. The importer is whoever imports blank storage media into Switzerland or Liechtenstein from abroad, whether for his own use, for sale or for direct delivery to the consumer. Foreign-based providers who offer blank storage media, for example through online shops, to consumers in Switzerland and Liechtenstein also qualify as importers if the consumer is served in the same way as if the blank media had been purchased from a domestic supplier.

Levy rates

Tariff rates are regularly negotiated and reset on the basis of current data and prices. The share of commercial and non-protected private data is duly taken into consideration when the tariffs are set.

Start of the obligation to pay the fee

The obligation for the importer to pay the fee starts upon importation of the device into Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein. For manufacturers, the obligation starts when the device leaves the production facility or their own warehouses.

Monday to  Friday:
8 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.
1.15 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Kathy Lenze

Bellariastrasse, 82
8038 Zürich