Liechtenstein joined the Universal Copyright Convention in 1958. The Principality is a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and various special treaties such as the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT). Since May 2021, the Marrakesh Treaty on Facilitating Access to Published Works for People Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled has been in force in Liechtenstein. As is the Beijing Treaty on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances.
As an EEA country, Liechtenstein has also adopted EU directives on copyright since joining the European Economic Area (1995). As a consequence of the EEA Agreement and the agreement on Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Liechtenstein committed to the implementation of rules under the agreements pertaining to intellectual property. The provisions were incorporated into the Law on Copyrights and Related Intellectual Property Rights LGBl. 1999 No 160 and a 1999 ordinance.
The Copyright Act governs the protection of originators of literary works or artworks, protection of practising artists, directors, and producers of audio and audiovisual media, broadcasters and the activities of collecting societies as well as their supervision. The following applies: A work is copyrighted from the point of completion, independent of whether it has been medially recorded or not. The copyright lapses 70 years after the death of the originator.
The Act creates the basis for awarding concessions having national supply responsibility for the collective realisation of copyrights. In a June 2007 call for proposals, the government once again awarded corresponding concessions to the Swiss Society for the Rights of Authors of Original Works SUISA, ProLitteris, SUISSIMAGE and SWISSPERFORM. All collecting societies active in Liechtenstein are obligated to name a domestic summonable address. In cases where public institutions permit the use of literature and art, for example, teachers, businesses, institutions, commissions, public administrations, libraries and copy centres, fees must be paid to the originator. A new Collecting Societies Act (VGG) (LGBl. 2018 No. 111) has been in force since March 2018.
In September 2014, Liechtenstein amended the Copyright and Related Rights Act and adopted the EU Directive 2012/28/EU for the use of orphan works into national law. As a result, orphan works can also be made digitally accessible on the internet. A frequent phenomenon, especially with older holdings in archives, museums and libraries, are works protected by copyright whose right holder is unknown or cannot be found.
In 2020, Liechtenstein incorporated provisions of the EU Directive 2017/1564 into the Copyright Act. This allows persons who are blind, visually impaired or print disabled, as well as “authorised bodies” such as libraries for the blind and schools for the blind, to produce accessible formats of texts and associated illustrations without the permission of the author and to lend them offline and online to people with visual or reading disabilities.
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