Methodology

The DICE methodology does not pretend to give you “The Solution” to a specific copyright problem, but rather a method on how to approach it. It basically consists of 4 main questions, that higher education staff should consider when facing a copyright problem.
Here below the 4 questions are briefly explained. For a detailed presentation of the methodology please consult the DICE Handbook.
The decision-tree on the right is an additional tool, which helps you applying the methodology to your own case. It might be also helpful when working through the DICE online Case Studies.

Download PDF of DICE Decision-Tree

QUESTION 1: WHERE IS THE CONTENT USED?

This first question concerns the principle of territoriality. The underlying assumption is that content is protected according to the law of the country in which it is used. If the content is used in Switzerland, Swiss copyright law will apply. But be careful: it is not always easy to have an unequivocal answer, especially when the Internet is involved!

QUESTION 2: IS THE CONTENT PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT?

The next question to ask is: Does a content satisfy the requirements for copyright protection. According to the Swiss copyright law, a work must satisfy three main conditions to be protected,: 1) possess an individual nature, 2) be a creation of the mind and 3) be expressed in some way. Note that protection can expire after a certain period of time.

QUESTION 3: WHO IS THE RIGHTS HOLDER OF THE PROTECTED CONTENT?

If the content you intend to use is a work protected under the Swiss copyright law, then you have to find out who the owner of the copyright is. In general, authorization has to be obtained from the copyrights holder in order to use the content. The owner can be the author, a third person, an institution, a publishing house, etc.

QUESTION 4: WHAT IS THE PROTECTED CONTENT USED FOR?

The last question is about what the protected content is used for. In fact, depending on the type of usage, some important exceptions to copyright (facilitating the use a work), can be applied. In particular: private use, teaching purpose and internal documentation and information. However be careful: there are limits to these exceptions! An example: if a book is commercially available, the teacher is allowed to photocopy it for its students, but not entirely.

This is just an overview of the DICE methodology and we warmly recommend to also read the DICE handbook in order to get a more detailed description. When in doubt please ask a copyright expert.