In the field of copyright, a distinction is usually drawn between the copyright-tradition and the droit d’auteur-tradition. This differentiation – although very helpful in explaining the main differences in the design of authors’ rights and the transfer thereof – brings only limited insight about the main types of copyright limitation systems.

When we look at the copyright exceptions we can find that there are not only two, but roughly three different copyright limitation systems: 1) the fair use-system; 2) the fair dealing-system and 3) the continental european system. It therefore becomes apparent that the copyright-tradition is again divided into two different approaches.

This presentation, which highlights some of the main findings of my Ph.D. thesis, is composed of three steps. The first outlines the main characteristics of these three systems. The second focuses on the differing degrees of flexibility these three systems provide. For this purpose some of the major technological challenges faced by copyright limitation systems in recent years will be analyzed under different legal systems. The last step will discuss how the Swiss copyright limitation system could be improved to be better suited for future developments without the risk of departing too much from the European acquis communautaire.