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Levy on blank carriers

What is a levy on blank carriers?

The levy on blank carriers is a fee charged for the private copying of music on blank media carriers. The fee goes to the composers, artists and publishers whose works are copied.

Legal framework

The Swiss Copyright Act permits the copying of works protected by copyright for use in the private sphere. There is no restriction on the copying of music files from a CD or the internet for private use.
According to the Copyright Act (Article 19(1)(a)), “private use” means copies made by individuals for their own personal use or for use within a circle of close friends and relatives.  
The same law provides that the rightholders of the copied art works are entitled in exchange to a fee levied on blank carriers and storage media (CDs, DVDs, MP3 players, etc.).

The manufacturer or importer is liable

SUISA charges the blank media levy directly to the manufacturers and importers of the media carriers concerned. The manufacturers and importers can pass the cost on to the consumer.
A manufacturer is anybody who produces media carriers in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein and markets them in the customary form to retailers, or to the consumer directly.
An importer is anybody who imports blank media carriers into Switzerland or Liechtenstein, whether for their own use, for sale or for direct delivery to the consumer.  Foreign-based mail order businesses offering blank media carriers to consumers in Switzerland and Liechtenstein also qualify as importers if the consumer is led to believe that he is purchasing the blank media carrier from a domestic supplier.

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