Regularly it does not lie in the author's interest to simply forbid third parties the use and/or the performance of the own creation. The author prefers much rather that his work is distributed against refund. Certainly the individual holder of a copyright faces a large number of potential users, which makes the individual collection of the owed remuneration practically impossible. Therefore such individual collection has been replaced by the collective exploitation by collecting societies, to which the beneficiaries (copyright owners) may (partly) assign their exploitation rights. For certain rights the collective exploitation is regulated by law. Currently there are five approved collecting societies in Switzerland.

The SUISA, the Swiss Society for the Rights of Authors of Musical Works (responsible for authors of non-theatrical musical works and music publishers), the SUISSIMAGE, the Swiss Society for Authors' Rights to Audiovisual Works (responsible for the rights on films and movies), the PROLITTERIS, the Swiss Copyright Society for Literature and Art (responsible for copyrights on printed works and pictures), the SSA, the Swiss Society of Authors (responsible for dramatic works and music) and SWISSPERFORM, the Swiss Society for performers, broadcasting services, music and film publishers.

All Swiss collecting societies have concluded reciprocity agreements with a multiplicity of foreign sister societies, which guarantee that royalties brought in abroad will be forwarded to their members. The collecting societies are subject to supervision by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). Regarding the approving of the tariffs of the collecting societies, the Federal Arbitration Board for the Use of Author's Rights and Neighboring Rights is in charge.