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A variety of elements make up the legal framework within which SRG SSR operates.
As an organisation, SRG SSR is an association - or more accurately, a group of associations - with four members: SRG Deutschschweiz (German-speaking Switzerland), SSR Romande (French-speaking Switzerland), Società cooperativa per la radiotelevisione nella Svizzera italiana (Italian-speaking Switzerland), and SRG SSR Svizra Rumantscha (Romansch-speaking Switzerland). It is therefore subject not only to Swiss association law, but also to large sections of the Swiss Code of Obligations, especially with regard to the submission of its financial statements. SRG SSR is a non-profit-making organisation. Its structure is laid down in the statutes of SRG SSR itself and those of its regional companies, as well as the organisational regulations based on these statutes.
As a business enterprise, SRG SSR is subject first and foremost to the particularly strict code of conduct enshrined in the Federal Radio and Television Act (RTVA), the corresponding Ordinance and the SRG SSR idée suisse charter. In all other aspects, however, there is little difference between SRG SSR and other companies. It is bound, like all others, by competition law, corporate criminal law, labour law, social security law, environmental law, etc. It does, however, constitute an exception in one respect: SRG SSR is not subject to the Federal Direct Federal Taxation Act, because it is a non-profit-making enterprise with a public remit. All other tax laws – especially the Value-Added Tax Act – nonetheless apply.
Copyright law is of particular importance to all media companies. After all, the business activities of a broadcaster, like those of any media company, consist of acquiring rights to works that are protected under copyright and then exploiting these rights commercially through the media. SRG SSR acquires the majority of its intellectual property rights from its employees, who assign their rights to their employer under the provisions of the Code of Obligations, the collective labour agreement and their own contract of employment. They receive compensation at a flat rate (from the Creativity Fund) if their work is exploited commercially by any means other than broadcasting. SRG SSR is the largest user of existing works in Switzerland. It acquires the corresponding rights primarily from performing rights bodies such as SUISA, SSA, Pro Litteris, SUISSIMAGE and Swissperform. Other rights are acquired direct from the holders, e.g. film distributors.
The Swiss Copyright Act also governs related protective rights. As a broadcaster and producer, SRG SSR is the original holder of such rights. This legal position is of particular importance with regard to its business relationship with companies, such as cable network operators, which broadcast SRG SSR content to other audiences.
Statutes not available in English. Please visit our German, French or Italian site.