Arrangement of works in the public domain

Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright since their authors have been dead for more than 70 years.

What is an arrangement?

According to the Copyright Act, an arrangement is a “derived” (in German, literally, a “second-hand”) work. For an arrangement to qualify for copyright protection, it must satisfy the same requirements as a “work”, in other words: arrangements which are deemed artistic creations of the mind of the arranger are protected by copyright in the same way as an autonomous work. In the case of an arrangement, the artistic creation consists in the recognisable transformation, changing, or extension, of the musical substance of an existing work.

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work in such a way that the latter remains recognisable with its individual character. The newly created element must, however, also have an individual character. Typical examples of arrangements are works orchestrated for different instruments, or lyrics translated into another language.

SUISA’s Distribution Rules (in German) have a section (1.1.3.5) that lists a whole series of works that do not qualify as arrangements for copyright protection purposes. In practice, this list has proven itself repeatedly. The following modifications do not qualify as arrangements:

  • adding dynamic or agogic accents;
  • adding musical phrasing symbols;
  • entering finger positions (fingering);
  • registrations for organs or other keyboard instruments;
  • flourishes;
  • translating an old musical notation style into a style in use today;
  • correcting clerical mistakes in the original and similar changes;
  • transferring music into other keys or pitches (transpositions);
  • editing out individual voices;
  • exchanging or doubling voices;
  • adding purely parallel voices;
  • allocating existing voices to other instruments (simple transcription).

Arranging works in the public domain and registering them with SUISA

Musical works which are not protected by copyright can be freely arranged and altered – no consent is necessary. To register an arrangement of a work in the public domain, you must send SUISA a copy of the new work together with the existing work, so that the music department can establish copyrightability. This applies to works whose authors are unknown or have been dead for at least 70 years. This also applies to works that have been handed down by folklore and are considered traditional.

When it receives an arrangement, SUISA’s music department verifies whether it satisfies the criteria for protection by copyright. This is always done by comparing the original to the arranged version. The musical quality of the submitted piece or movement is unimportant at this stage.

What types of arrangements are there, and what is the arranger’s share of the remuneration?

In its appreciation, SUISA distinguishes between the five following types of arrangement:

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

1. Normal arrangement

The “normal” case (representing about 90% of all applications) is an arrangement in the strict sense of the word. A popular melody is arranged by adding voices or instruments for a specific ensemble or group (e.g. mixed choir, string quartet, orchestra, Big Band, etc.). The melody or main voice is taken over exactly, only the arrangement is new.

In this case, the arranger’s share is 15% (for works with lyrics) or 20% (works without lyrics).

Normal arrangement

2. Co-composition

Here the unprotected melody is not the upper voice; it is hidden in the musical structure. In this particular case (e.g. choir and organ music), the arranger’s work is of higher value since he has to compose his own upper or main voice and the existing music has to be embedded into the piece with a contrapuntal technique.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

3. Reconstruction

An original work is interrupted in one or several places, or left unfinished by the composer (or lost in handing down), and is then finished by the arranger.

The arranger’s share in this case is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

4. Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

The piece starts with a short presentation of the unprotected original melody. Then, a succession of soloists or “registers” (saxophone, trumpets, piano, drums) take up the melody with improvised figurations; these make up the greater portion of the work. Visually this is illustrated by the fact that the individual soloists or “registers” stand up for their solos. At the end, the original melody is often repeated all together.

In this type of work, the arranger’s share is 50% or 100% of the composer’s share, depending on the length and importance of the solos.

Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

5. Sets of variations

Variations on historic musical themes (e.g. Diabelli, Paganini or Gershwin variations) are typical examples of compositions where the original takes backstage to the variation. The starting theme is merely a pretext for a completely new work. It follows, therefore, that the creator of the variation is entitled to the full remuneration. For example: “Diabelli variations by Beethoven” etc.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 100% of the composer’s share.

Sets of variations

What does public domain (“domaine public”) mean?
For further information on the protection period for works we refer you to the article “Erstmals seit 20 Jahren werden wieder Werke gemeinfrei” (article available in German, French and Italian, PDF) in the SUISAinfo edition.
Related articles
The beats from others – but your own songsThe beats from others – but your own songs The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Read more
Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music DepartmentPersonnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Read more
Plagiarism accusations – what does SUISA do?Plagiarism accusations – what does SUISA do? Various media have been reporting on plagiarism accusations against a Swiss artist in the last few days. The topic is not new, but it seems to continue to be shrouded in ambiguity: Who is the accuser? What happens to an artist who lifts from another? How much does he have to pay? And what role does SUISA actually play? Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright...read more

Why SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORM

Composers and lyricists who are SUISA members and are also active as artists and/or producers and whose performances are broadcast by Swiss or foreign radio and TV channels are entitled to receive a remuneration from SWISSPERFORM. For all those authors-composers-artists/producers, a membership with SWISSPERFORM is thus a necessary addition to their SUISA affiliation in order to safeguard their rights and the full remuneration they are entitled to. Text by David Johnson, SWISSPERFORM/SIG antenne romande, guest author

Why SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORM

It is recommended that SUISA authors such as Seven (pictured), who are also artists and whose performances are broadcast on radio and TV become SWISSPERFORM members. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Are you a musician and do you contribute to recordings which are used commercially or in music videos? Do you perform your own musical compositions or those of other composers on the radio or on TV? Are you a performing producer in the case of recordings? Do you perform music which is used in films, commercials or as main themes of broadcasts?

In that case, you do hold neighbouring rights and are entitled to receive a remuneration for the transmission of your performances. In order to receive such remuneration, you must be a member of SWISSPERFORM.

Neighbouring rights

The reason neighbouring rights carry their name is that they are in close ‘vicinity’ to copyright. Neighbouring rights do not protect the work itself but the performance of the work.

Artists, whether they are musicians, singers or conductors can at the same time be composers, lyricists and/or arrangers of a work that they perform. The performance of their works is therefore protected independently of the work that they perform.

In cases where artists finance their own recordings, they are also economic producers and therefore hold two different types of neighbouring rights, whose owners are remunerated by SWISSPERFORM in separate distributions for the relevant usages and which require artists to enter into a second membership type (producer). The term of protection in a recorded performance is 50 years. For the calculation of the expiry of the term of protection, the date of the first publication is authoritative, provided that the recording has been published for the first time within 50 years. Should this not be the case, the recording date is authoritative as a calculation basis for the expiry of the term of protection.

SWISSPERFORM

Switzerland is the only country in the world that has a collective management organisation which unites all rightsholders in the neighbouring rights realm under one roof: apart from artists and producers from the music and film sectors, broadcasters are also rightsholders within SWISSPERFORM. Members can pursue various activities and therefore belong to several rightsholder categories, for example musicians whose recordings were produced by themselves, played by their band and broadcast on the radio.

SWISSPERFORM’s activities are similar to those of SUISA. Musicians and producers assign their rights to the society for management purposes. SWISSPERFORM then collects the licence fees from the users based on the statutory tariffs and pays them to the entitled parties on the basis of its distribution rules which have been ratified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (supervisory authority).

SWISSPERFORM collaborates with SUISA when it comes to the collection of the licence fees. They are usually invoiced on the basis of the Common Tariffs which are set for each type of usage if exploitations affect the areas of activity of more than one collective management organisation and simultaneously affect copyright and neighbouring rights.

On behalf of SWISSPERFORM, SUISA collects, among other income streams, remuneration from private radio and TV stations as well as the levy on blank media and storage media integrated into hardware.

Ten percent of the entire tariff collections of SWISSPERFORM are allocated for the support of various autonomous legal entities with socio-cultural character. One part of these subsidies is used to co-finance the Swiss Artists’ Foundation, SIS, which supports professional musicians by providing them with means for concerts and tours in Switzerland and abroad.

Distribution of radio and TV usages

In the case of artists in the phono (audio) category, i.e. musicians, singers, conductors etc., whose performances were broadcast on the radio and on TV, a distinction is made between several distribution models.

SWISSPERFORM directly distributes the licence fees collected for the usage of commercially released sound recordings (sound recordings that are available in the marketplace) and from videoclips used on radio/TV. The income is allocated in proportion to the actual usage of the recordings. Main criteria for the distribution are the duration of the broadcast of a recording as well as the value of the roles of artists who contribute to a broadcast.

The following distributions are made on behalf of the Swiss Artists’ Cooperative Society, SIG, subject to a mandate from SWISSPERFORM. Licensing fees from the following areas are distributed:

  • the direct exploitation of performances and the usage from non-commercially released sound recordings (sound recordings that have not been commercially released or made available). This manual distribution is based on a declaration system and takes into account transmissions of concerts on the radio/TV, own productions of recordings by the radio/TV channels, musical performances in radio plays, commercials, jingles, ident tunes, theme tunes etc.;
  • the usage of music in films: This distribution is based on a declaration system at the same time as on an automatic system (depending on the broadcast on TV) and takes into account the music on sound tracks of films (score music), music from commercial sound recordings on sound tracks of films, music from non-commercial sound recordings (library music) on sound tracks of films, music from TV commercials as well as jingles etc.;
  • the usage of other audiovisual performances. This distribution is based on a declaration system and takes transmissions of concerts and artistic performances in TV shows into consideration, among others.

Please note: If you do not make a declaration to SWISSPERFORM and SIG that you have contributed to sound recordings or the transmission of your artistic performances, in order to receive your remuneration, the amounts that have not been claimed by you will expire after a limitation period of five years and will be re-distributed.

This is how you become a member of SWISSPERFORM

Membership with SWISSPERFORM is free. You can request your membership agreement online:
www.swissperform.ch/en/service/order-an-agreement.html

How do I declare my contribution to commercially available recordings?
www.swissperform.ch/uploads/media/Discography_01.xlsx
www.swissperform.ch/uploads/media/Explanations_on_the_discography_form_02.pdf

How do I declare direct performances, non-commercially released sound recordings, the usage of music in films and other audiovisual usages?
www.interpreten.ch/de/verteilung-ab-2017/info/

Further information:
www.swissperform.ch, SWISSPERFORM website
www.interpreten.ch, Schweizerische Interpretengenossenschaft SIG (Swiss Artists’ Cooperative Society) website

Related articles
Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else?Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else? SUISA manages the rights for its members globally. You should carefully review and consider the relevant effort and income if you wanted to become a member of several authors’ societies. If you live outside of Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, you can also become a SUISA member. Last but not least, it is also possible to be a member of another collective management organisation in addition to your SUISA membership. The following FAQs are intended to summarise what you need to consider when contemplating a so-called dual membership. Read more
Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at homePlay abroad, communicate with SUISA at home How do I get access to my copyright remuneration for my concerts abroad? What do I need to consider when registering works with SUISA if the co-author of my song is a member of a foreign collective management organisation? Important and frequently asked questions on international musical activities are answered in the following. Read more
The beats from others – but your own songsThe beats from others – but your own songs The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

Composers and lyricists who are SUISA members and are also active as artists and/or producers and whose performances are broadcast by Swiss or foreign radio and TV channels are entitled to receive a remuneration from SWISSPERFORM. For all those authors-composers-artists/producers, a membership with SWISSPERFORM is thus a necessary addition to their SUISA affiliation in order to safeguard their rights and the full remuneration they are entitled to. Text by David Johnson, SWISSPERFORM/SIG antenne romande, guest author

Why SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORM

It is recommended that SUISA authors such as Seven (pictured), who are also artists and whose performances are broadcast on radio and TV become SWISSPERFORM members. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Are you a musician and do you contribute to recordings which are used commercially or in music videos? Do you perform your own musical compositions or those of...read more

Changes to the distribution of collections for internet use

New distribution keys will be used for the distribution of collections for internet use (audio and video on demand offers). For downloads, a new key of 25% for performing rights and 75% for reproduction rights shall be applied. For streaming, the split shall consist of 75% performing rights and 25% reproduction rights. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the distribution of collections for internet use

SUISA changes its distribution keys for the income from streaming and downloads. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

For years, the distribution split between authors and publishers in terms of the allocation of the collections from performing and broadcasting rights on the one hand, and reproduction rights on the other hand has been agreed separately. SUISA has accordingly provided for different distribution keys in its distribution rules for the two rights categories.

For online uses, there is no separate distribution key which could be directly agreed on by the contracting parties. As a consequence, the collections from online uses are on the one hand distributed in analogy with the performing rights distribution key and on the other hand in accordance with the reproduction rights distribution key (cf. item 2.1.2 of the distribution rules).

Up to now, SUISA has been distributing 100% of collections from streaming in accordance with the distribution key for performing rights and 100% of collections for downloads in accordance with the distribution key for reproduction rights. This meant, however, that SUISA held a special position internationally and, at the same time, this practice no longer met the latest developments in the online sector.

New distribution keys for downloads and streaming

Apart from taking a look at the usual rules applicable abroad, technical procedures were also evaluated with a view to the analysis that led to the determination of the new distribution ratios of the distribution keys for download and streaming. Technically speaking, the making available of a work is based on the creation of a copy of the work on the server of the provider, the transmission of the copy to the consumer as well as the performance resp. potential storage on the terminal device of the consumer.

During discussions among the various committees (Distribution and Works Committee andBoard) with respect to the proposed changes, various views regarding the performing and reproduction rights shares existed with respect to the weighting of the distribution keys.

In particular the question arose how the aspect of transitoriness resp. repeated playback of a work should be considered for streaming, and which percentage should reflect this for the weighting of the performing share.

In the end, the following split was agreed:

  • Download: 25% of collections shall be allocated to the performing rights distribution key and 75% to the reproduction rights distribution key.
  • Streams: 75% of collections shall be allocated to the performing rights distribution key and 25% to the reproduction rights distribution key.

Distribution of the collections from video on demand (VOD)

At the same time, the provisions regarding the distribution of collections from video on demand were adjusted. The respective revenues shall now be distributed in analogy to download and streaming “per file” (per work). Prior to that, the revenues from video on demand had been supplemented to the remuneration for broadcasts of pay TV. The change now also permits in this sector that collections are distributed in a more exact and pinpointed manner.

For further information see the distribution rules of SUISA.

Related articles
Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their worksCopyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works The Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. The “Transfer of Value”, for example, is extremely disappointing for creators and artists: Internet giants’ platforms continue to be the ones that cash in on the online exploitation of music and films. Creators and artists – and thus the suppliers of the content – are almost left empty-handed. Read more
SUISA settlement dates 2018 – and one improvementSUISA settlement dates 2018 – and one improvement SUISA shall stick to its established settlement dates in 2018. They comprise, in the main, four quarterly settlements as well as various supplementary settlements spread across the coming year in analogy to the previous year. From the 2nd semester of 2018 onwards, settlements of international collections shall be switched over to a quarterly distribution frequency. Read more
Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collectionsChanges in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections In the last few years, cable network providers switched their offerings from analogue to digital. In order to take these changes into consideration, the distribution of the collections arising from Tariffs CT 1 (cable networks), CT 2a (retransmitters) and CT 2b (IP based networks) was aligned. In item 5.5.1 of the distribution rules the calculation basis of the reference parameter “number of subscribers” was changed to “daily reach”. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

New distribution keys will be used for the distribution of collections for internet use (audio and video on demand offers). For downloads, a new key of 25% for performing rights and 75% for reproduction rights shall be applied. For streaming, the split shall consist of 75% performing rights and 25% reproduction rights. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the distribution of collections for internet use

SUISA changes its distribution keys for the income from streaming and downloads. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

For years, the distribution split between authors and publishers in terms of the allocation of the collections from performing and broadcasting rights on the one hand, and reproduction rights on the other hand has been agreed separately. SUISA has accordingly provided for different distribution keys in its distribution rules for the two rights categories.

For online uses, there is no separate...read more

SUISA settlement dates 2018 – and one improvement

SUISA shall stick to its established settlement dates in 2018. They comprise, in the main, four quarterly settlements as well as various supplementary settlements spread across the coming year in analogy to the previous year. From the 2nd semester of 2018 onwards, settlements of international collections shall be switched over to a quarterly distribution frequency. Text by Wolfgang Rudigier and Manu Leuenberger

SUISA settlement dates 2018 - and one improvement

Always staying on top of their copyright remuneration: SUISA members get online access to their settlements via the portal “My Account” and can take a look by simply clicking their way through. (Photo: Denis Nata / Shutterstock.com)

The first settlement for international collections shall be paid out at the usual date, at the end of May, in 2018. Later on, after the 2nd semester, the payment of the remuneration from abroad will be switched over to quarterly settlements: Thanks to this improvement, two dates for international settlements will be added in September and December instead of the previous November pay-out.

Another enhancement in terms of international settlements had already been introduced successfully with the recent settlement of November 2017: By way of a new application, the settlements for the remuneration from abroad now also reflect the variety of usage categories of the works (e.g. live, radio, TV, sound recordings, downloads, streaming etc.). Moreover, further usage details (such as online provider, radio channel etc.) are now visible. This requires that such details have been passed on to SUISA by its sister society.

SUISA settlement dates 2018 – an overview

Settlement Date
Quarterly settlement 2018-1 15/03/2018
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (3rd quarter 2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV 3rd quarter 2017)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (3rd quarter 2017)
Reproduction rights online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Adjustments 2018, 1st settlement End of March
Settlements from abroad: Performing, broadcasting and reproduction rights 2018, 1st settlement End of May
Quarterly settlement 2018-2 15/06/2018
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: B, C, D, E, H, Hb, HV, K, Z (2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV 4rd quarter 2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG commercials 2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariffs: S, Y (2017)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (4th quarter 2017)
Reproduction rights, central licensing (2nd semester 2017)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Publisher’s pension benefits Beginning of July
Author’s pension benefits Mid-July
Quarterly settlement 2018-3 15/09/2018
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (1st quarter 2018)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV 1st quarter 2018)
Advertising windows (2016)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (1st quarter 2018)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Settlements from abroad: Performing, broadcasting and reproduction rights 2018, 2nd settlement Mid-September
Blank media levy (CT 4), settlement 2018 Mid-September
Sub-publisher shares cable networks, settlement 2018 Mid-September
Adjustments 2018, 2nd settlement End of September
Re-recording rights settlement, 2018 End of October
Quarterly settlement 2018-4 15/12/2018
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (2nd quarter 2018)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV 2nd quarter 2018)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (2nd quarter 2018)
Reproduction rights, central licensing (1st semester 2018)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Settlements from abroad: Performing, broadcasting and reproduction rights 2018, 3rd settlement Mid-December

Further information on the SUISA settlements can be accessed at:
www.suisa.ch/settlementdates

Related articles
SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlookSUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook In the Committee and Board meetings towards the end of the year, framework conditions for the following financial year are set. As such, the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017 continued to be characterised by budgets, cost rates, staffing plans, roadmaps, politics and quite a bit more. Read more
Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at homePlay abroad, communicate with SUISA at home How do I get access to my copyright remuneration for my concerts abroad? What do I need to consider when registering works with SUISA if the co-author of my song is a member of a foreign collective management organisation? Important and frequently asked questions on international musical activities are answered in the following. Read more
Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collectionsChanges in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections In the last few years, cable network providers switched their offerings from analogue to digital. In order to take these changes into consideration, the distribution of the collections arising from Tariffs CT 1 (cable networks), CT 2a (retransmitters) and CT 2b (IP based networks) was aligned. In item 5.5.1 of the distribution rules the calculation basis of the reference parameter “number of subscribers” was changed to “daily reach”. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

SUISA shall stick to its established settlement dates in 2018. They comprise, in the main, four quarterly settlements as well as various supplementary settlements spread across the coming year in analogy to the previous year. From the 2nd semester of 2018 onwards, settlements of international collections shall be switched over to a quarterly distribution frequency. Text by Wolfgang Rudigier and Manu Leuenberger

SUISA settlement dates 2018 - and one improvement

Always staying on top of their copyright remuneration: SUISA members get online access to their settlements via the portal “My Account” and can take a look by simply clicking their way through. (Photo: Denis Nata / Shutterstock.com)

The first settlement for international collections shall be paid out at the usual date, at the end of May, in 2018. Later on, after the 2nd semester, the payment of the remuneration from abroad...read more

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are deemed as earned income from independent activities and therefore have to be taken into consideration for the Swiss Compensation Office (pension funds). That way, later claims and pension reductions at a later stage in life can be avoided. Text by Martin Korrodi

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

Many musicians have several income streams. These can include concert fees, honorariums for commissioned compositions as well as salaries for working at a music school or in an orchestra. Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are yet another income category. It is worth making retirement provisions and therefore to pay AHV contributions (pension scheme contributions) on the relevant income. (Photo: Crafft)

All authors who receive remuneration from SUISA for the usage of their works have to declare it as income and pay taxes on it as well as settle the respective social security payment contributions with the pension funds. The remuneration paid out by SUISA is deemed as earned income from independent activities and are thus subject to AHV (pension) contributions.

If the income from independent activities within a year do not amount to more than CHF 2,300, the Compensation Office will only claim the amounts upon request (see info box at the end of the text). Nevertheless it is recommended that members settle smaller amounts, too: This helps to avoid potential contribution gaps which would lead to pension reductions at a later stage in life.

Especially in the case of freelance music creatives it is worth the effort to request a statement of account from the respective Compensation Office branch in order to discover any contribution gaps they might have. If these gaps have arisen over the last five years, the missing amounts can still be paid in.

The tax authorities notify the data in relation to the assessable income to the compensation offices. Based on this data, the Compensation Office can then determine that no AHV contributions were paid in relation to certain portions of the earned income. They can then claim the missing amounts retrospectively. In the case of such later claims, interest on arrears is due on top. It therefore is well worth while to notify the SUISA remuneration to the Compensation Office in good time and to pay the contributions.

AHV (pensions) – obligatory insurance for all

In the case of the federal retirement, death and disability insurance, insurance is mandatory for all persons who live in Switzerland or work in this country. All insured parties – with the exception of children – are obliged to pay in AHV contributions. In this case the yielded earned income usually acts as the basis for calculation.

In the case of earned income arising from employment this is the salary that the employer has paid out. In the case of self-employment, the amounts are due in relation to the income that has been yielded from self-organised entrepreneurial, operational or business activities.

The following directive can be used as a rule of thumb: AHV contributions must always be paid out on those amounts which you declare in your tax assessment as arising from an occupation. The situation is different regarding income such as revenue gained from capital investment or real estate which are – in terms of tax law – regarded as income but not as earned income in the sense of attracting an obligation to pay AHV contributions.

Copyright royalties are earned income

Not only the composition of commissioned music and stage appearances of performing artists but also the exploitation of rights are a type of occupation by means of which income is generated. As a consequence all authors who claim their rights vis-a-vis users and thus generate licence income are deemed to be self-employed.

This also applies in cases when you have assigned your rights for management to third parties – in this case, this is the norm in the area of non-theatrical music, via collective management by a collective management organisation such as SUISA. If you register with SUISA, you sign a rights administration agreement. With this agreement, members assign their rights to SUISA combined with the instruction to SUISA to carry out the rights management.

In such cases it does not matter, by the way, whether composers – whether as a fixed employee or via a one-off honorarium – have already been paid for the creation of the works and whether AHV contributions have already been paid on said type of income. The exploitation of the rights of your own works is an activity which is independent of the former and it leads to additional earned income. As such, it must be settled with the Compensation Office.

“Exemption limit” up to CHF 2,300 per calendar year

In the case of the exemption limit it is important to take into consideration that this amount includes all income from self-employed activities (cumulative). If SUISA income in a specific year were CHF 1,600 but additional income was generated from independent activities (whether as a main or subsidiary occupation) these types of income must be added to the amount above. If the final total lies above the tax exemption limit, AHV contributions must be paid out to the entire amount – including SUISA remuneration.

In the case of employees (those with a dependent occupation) the tax exemption limit shall also be applicable, but separately on a per-employment basis. If the respective salary is below the amount of CHF 2,300, the amounts will only be collected by request of theemployee. In such cases it is recommended to demand the statement, in particular on occasions when you have held several employments with minimal salaries. Certain employers in the creative sector are obliged to settle AHV contributions from the first CHF 1.00 of salary in order to protect the employees. These include dance and theatre producers, orchestras, audio and audiovisual producers, radio and TV as well as schools offering artistic educations.

If the income is made up of self-employed (independent) and non-self-employed (dependent) activities, the tax exemption limit is usually applicable on a per income category basis. The limit of CHF 2,300 applies for the total of all income from independent activities which includes SUISA remuneration. Salaries that have been paid to you as an employee do not have to be added since the income from dependent (employed) occupation can be regarded separately with respect to the exemption limit as described before.

Related articles
New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017 During SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne, the review of the Pension Fund Regulations was ratified by SUISA members. The changes came into force per 01 January 2017. What do the new regulations mean for our members? Read more
Commentary on SUISA’s annual results for 2016Commentary on SUISA’s annual results for 2016 SUISA can report a very successful financial year 2016. The result reflects an all-time high regarding the income from domestic copyright exploitation. In the Cooperative Society’s history of more than 90 years, this is a record sum in terms of remuneration that is due for distribution. The average cost coverage deduction remains low – about CHF 88 per CHF 100 of the income collected can be paid out to authors and publishers that are entitled to receive such remuneration. Read more
Always on top of things thanks to “my account”Always on top of things thanks to “my account” More than 14,000 members are already using our member portal “my account”. More than half of all new registrations of original works during 2016 were done online. Why do more and more members regularly use “my account”? Thanks to the password-protected members’ area “my account”, our members keep an overview of the most significant SUISA matters such as settlements and work registrations. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are deemed as earned income from independent activities and therefore have to be taken into consideration for the Swiss Compensation Office (pension funds). That way, later claims and pension reductions at a later stage in life can be avoided. Text by Martin Korrodi

SUISA remuneration is subject to AHV (pension) contributions

Many musicians have several income streams. These can include concert fees, honorariums for commissioned compositions as well as salaries for working at a music school or in an orchestra. Copyright royalties paid out by SUISA are yet another income category. It is worth making retirement provisions and therefore to pay AHV contributions (pension scheme contributions) on the relevant income. (Photo: Crafft)

All authors who receive remuneration from SUISA for the usage of their works have to declare it as income and pay taxes on...read more

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

In the last few years, cable network providers switched their offerings from analogue to digital. In order to take these changes into consideration, the distribution of the collections arising from Tariffs CT 1 (cable networks), CT 2a (retransmitters) and CT 2b (IP based networks) was aligned. In item 5.5.1 of the distribution rules the calculation basis of the reference parameter “number of subscribers” was changed to “daily reach”. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

Even though there is a plethora of digital TV programmes available, only a few of them fill TV screens for a longer period. (Foto: Zeber / Shutterstock.com)

Cable network providers have carried out a migration of their offerings from analogue to digital in the last few years. The number of the radio and TV programmes on offer is now many times higher than before. Until recently, the number of subscribers acted as the calculation basis for the distribution of income from Tariffs CT 1, CT 2a and CT 2b. As a consequence, the distribution depended on the receptability, i.e. on how many subscribers of a cable network provider had the option to receive a specific channel.

With the increase of the broadcaster offerings, the significance of the subscriber numbers regarding the actual work usage has decreased remarkably. This is due to the fact that of the multitude of channels that consumers have at their fingertips today, they only use a few in reality. With the switch of the calculation basis to the reference parameter “daily reach”, what counts in terms of distribution now is what consumers actually watch.

The daily reach corresponds with the share of people who have watched or listened to a specific programme on an average day for at least 30 seconds. The relevant usage is thus registered which goes above and beyond a mere channel hopping.

Distribution more exact based on actual usage

Due to the daily reach as a calculation basis the actual usage is now taken into consideration more: The copyright royalties now flow to those channels that have really been watched or listened to. Channels which were not selected by the consumer or where consumers merely hop through, are not taken into consideration for the allocations into the three broadcaster groupings (SRG SSR, Swiss private channels, foreign channels).

The switch to the reference parameter of the daily reach will entail that more money is going to be distributed to Swiss channels. In the case of the calculation based on subscriber numbers so far, many foreign channels were taken into consideration which are in fact only used by a very small portion of subscribers. This will no longer be the case with a calculation basis in accordance with the daily reach.

IGE (Institute of Intellectual Property) decision dated 26/07/2017 (PDF 1.47 MB, only in German) in relation to “Review of item 5.5.1 distribution rules: Distribution of collections from CT 1, 2a and 2b”
Further information on the distribution keys of SUISA

Related articles
SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overviewSUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview SUISA members whose works are performed, broadcast, reproduced or used online a lot can look forward to receiving remuneration at least four times per year for their work on lyrics or compositions or their publishing activities. In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. Minor modifications serve the purpose of distributing the income swiftly and cost-effectively. Read more
Publishers’ participation at SUISA not at riskPublishers’ participation at SUISA not at risk A decision by the European Court of Justice dating back to 2015 and two German court decisions made last year have challenged the basic principle of a participation of publishers with respect to remuneration paid out by collective management organisations. Here are the reasons why what happened at Gema cannot repeat itself at SUISA. Read more
Commentary on SUISA’s annual results for 2016Commentary on SUISA’s annual results for 2016 SUISA can report a very successful financial year 2016. The result reflects an all-time high regarding the income from domestic copyright exploitation. In the Cooperative Society’s history of more than 90 years, this is a record sum in terms of remuneration that is due for distribution. The average cost coverage deduction remains low – about CHF 88 per CHF 100 of the income collected can be paid out to authors and publishers that are entitled to receive such remuneration. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

In the last few years, cable network providers switched their offerings from analogue to digital. In order to take these changes into consideration, the distribution of the collections arising from Tariffs CT 1 (cable networks), CT 2a (retransmitters) and CT 2b (IP based networks) was aligned. In item 5.5.1 of the distribution rules the calculation basis of the reference parameter “number of subscribers” was changed to “daily reach”. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

Even though there is a plethora of digital TV programmes available, only a few of them fill TV screens for a longer period. (Foto: Zeber / Shutterstock.com)

Cable network providers have carried out a migration of their offerings from analogue to digital in the last few years. The number of the radio and TV programmes on offer is now many...read more

The beats from others – but your own songs

The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Text by Martin Korrodi and Claudia Kempf

The beats from others – but your own songs

Those who produce their own songs with bought-out beats have to familiarise themselves with the licensing terms and conditions of the supplier and to mention the “beat maker” on the works registration at SUISA. (Photo: PrinceOfLove / Shutterstock.com)

Producing new works using pre-existing creations is probably one of the oldest and most successful cultural techniques in existence. Due to the technical developments, the integration of “third-party” beats into your own songs becomes simpler every day, and is thus widespread – especially in the genres of hip-hop and rap.

Raw material for the song production

Under the term “Sampling”, this practice has been in place for several decades. Whereas, in the case of sampling, elements are taken from market-ripe productions and processed further, a multitude of platforms nowadays offer a huge range of beats which are produced specially as raw material for “building” your own songs.

When implementing such pre-fabricated elements it is vital to observe that you don’t just have to “buy” the recording but also acquire the legal authorisations in order to use the recording and the underlying composition for your own works. What the purchaser may do with the acquired beat is set out in so-called licensing terms and conditions. Such “small print” may, for example, carry different names on the websites of the suppliers, such as “license agreement”, “terms of use”, “licensing contract” or “legal matters”.

Watch out for the small print!

Customers usually assume that they may do anything they like with the acquired material as soon as they have purchased the respective beat. This process is, however, usually not a typical purchase agreement but a licensing agreement which often contains limiting terms and conditions and may therefore prevent the registration and exploitation of the finished song.

Under a purchase agreement, the title to a specific work copy is acquired (e.g. on a CD). In this process the buyer has, however, not acquired any rights in the works (compositions) and performances (recordings) which are included on the CD.

Especially when working with pre-fabricated beats, buyers must be clear which copyright-relevant actions are permitted with regards to the beats and which ones are not (reproduction, arrangement etc.) This also applies if you obtain the beats free of charge.

Check list: Check these 9 items first before buying the beats

The following overview collates the most important items that you ought to observe from a legal perspective when acquiring beats via the internet:

  • The licensing terms and conditions (license agreement, terms and conditions, etc.) must always be examined thoroughly! In the case of uncertainties, it is imperative that you consult with the supplier or with SUISA before you complete the purchase transaction.
  • Certain offers only allow the non-commercial exploitation: In such cases, neither the sale of the song (via digital or physical media), nor TV or radio plays are permitted. As a consequence, a monetisation via Youtube is not allowed either.
  • The licence often only covers a specific number of copies of the finished song (e.g. “up to 3,000 units”). If this number is exceeded, a new licence has to be acquired, depending on the respective provisions, or a share in the collected revenue for the exploitation has to be paid to the beat maker.
  • Some licensing models explicitly provide for an exclusion of specific exploitations (e.g. “TV/Radio plays not included”).
  • The producers of the beats are often members of a collective management organisation themselves and demand that they participate with a certain percentage as co-authors when the finished songs are registered.
  • In nearly all cases, the name of the beat maker has to be mentioned when the finished song is used in line with the beat maker’s stipulations (Credits).
  • In the case of non-exclusive licences it is imperative to observe that other customers may also use the same material for their songs.
  • It is often possible to acquire the material on an exclusive basis if you pay a higher fee. In such cases, the respective beat will be deleted from the store once the purchase process has been completed and is thus no longer available to any other customers. In the case of exclusive deals, all necessary authorisations are usually granted in order to be able to exploit the finished song without any limitations.
  • Guarantee and indemnity: Customers who invest a lot of time and money also want to be sure that the finished production is free from third-party claims. In the licensing terms and conditions, the beat maker should therefore issue a guarantee to this end and indemnify customers from any third-party claims.

Registration of the finished songs with SUISA

Due to the rights administration agreement, SUISA has the duty to license the works of its members vis-a-vis the customers. The rights administration agreement applies consistently to all works of a member – it is usually not possible for SUISA to take limitations for a specific song contained in the licensing agreement with the beat maker into consideration.

In particular, SUISA shall not monitor the number of licensed copies or exempt specific exploitations of a song from its licensing activities. As a consequence, SUISA cannot accept any work registrations which contain beats whose use is only permitted subject to restricted conditions.

Mention the beat maker in the work registration

The work registration must be in line with the contents of the licensing agreement. As a consequence, the shares for the exploitation of the beats must be clearly stipulated in the agreement or in the terms and conditions of business. If the shares are not clearly specified, and this does, unfortunately, sometimes happen, they have to be clarified with the supplier.

The following provisions can often be found:

  1. The beat maker must receive a specific percentage of the collected income for the exploitation. In the work registration, the beat maker must be mentioned as a composer with this very percentage.
  2. The beat maker will not receive a share but demands “Credits”; his/her name therefore has to be mentioned. In the work registration, the beat maker must be mentioned as a composer with a 0% share.
  3. The beat maker neither asks for a share nor for “Credits”. The beat maker must still be mentioned as a composer with a 0% share. If the name of the composer is not known, “unknown” may be entered in the composer field.

Independently of the licensing provision, the beat maker must therefore always be mentioned in the work registration. On top of that, a note needs to be made in the comments field when registering the work that it contains a purchased beat. Moreover, it is mandatory to provide a copy of the licensing agreement.

The following shall also apply here: If works are created where several authors have contributed, the shares and authorisations must be clearly specified prior to publication.

Purchase via the internet
The purchase of beats via the internet from an unknown supplier holds the same risks as any other purchase on the internet. The government has therefore issued some basic guidelines which should be observed when making purchases on the internet.
Jamahook – a social network for musicians
A portal by musicians for musicians is currently in its infancy, which shall facilitate the collaboration between musicians, beat makers and producers. The core piece of this platform is a sophisticated algorithm which allows to find suitable sounds or beats matching your own music – in an instant. The search includes harmonies, rhythms, tempo and timbre. Jamahook does not just simplify the musical collaboration but also the regulation of copyright-related legal aspects. In this context, SUISA supports the makers of this platform which has its registered office in Switzerland. More info on this project: www.jamahook.com as well as www.youtube.com/jamahook
Related articles
Interim review on hit boxes, three years after their introductionInterim review on hit boxes, three years after their introduction After a two-year test phase, hit box monitoring has been the basis for the distribution of remuneration for music on sound recordings since January 2014. Now, a first review can be made regarding this new system, both in relation to the data collected and the reactions of the members and owners of the clubs in question. Read more
Swiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working groupSwiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working group Given the diverging reactions to the preliminary draft for the copyright law review, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga consulted the AGUR12 again in the summer of 2016 – the latter is a working group consisting of representatives from the affected sectors. The working group had the goal to look for conjoint solutions. Read more
Camilla Sparksss: “A lovely Christmas present” | plus videoCamilla Sparksss: “A lovely Christmas present” | plus video A former monk’s hermitage serves as the birthplace for new songs by Camilla Sparksss. To this day, the view over the lake landscape from there seems rather idyllic. Looking more closely, however, you realise that the landscape is cut in half by the motorway’s north-south axis and the runway of the Lugano-Agno airport. The same applies to Camilla Sparksss: things are not all as they seem at first glance. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Text by Martin Korrodi and Claudia Kempf

The beats from others – but your own songs

Those who produce their own songs with bought-out beats have to familiarise themselves with the licensing terms and conditions of the supplier and to mention the “beat maker” on the works registration at SUISA. (Photo: PrinceOfLove / Shutterstock.com)

Producing new works using pre-existing creations is probably one of the oldest and most successful cultural techniques in existence. Due to the technical developments,...read more

Publishers’ participation at SUISA not at risk

A decision by the European Court of Justice dating back to 2015 and two German court decisions made last year have challenged the basic principle of a participation of publishers with respect to remuneration paid out by collective management organisations. Here are the reasons why what happened at Gema cannot repeat itself at SUISA. Text by Martin Korrodi

Publishers’ participation at SUISA not at risk

A decision by the Supreme Court Berlin has shaken the traditional distribution practice at Gema. Due to the legal situation in Switzerland, publishers will be able to participate – as usual – in the distributable amount from SUISA. (Photo: Niroworld / Shutterstock.com)

It was the decision by the Supreme Court Berlin against Gema in particular which left many publisher members of SUISA in a state of uncertainty, as it rather specifically affects the participation of music publishers in the payment of royalties. Would it also be possible in Switzerland that a comparable decision could declare the long-term distribution practice by SUISA to be invalid?

The decision of the Supreme Court Berlin

On 14 November 2016, the Supreme Court Berlin decided that Gema may only include such members in its royalty collection pay-outs who have effectively transferred their rights management to it. Even if the decision only refers to two specific cases, where authors disagreed with the participation of their publishers, the court’s reasoning challenges Gema practices in general.

A central argument in the opinion of the court is the so-called principle of priority: It determines that a rights owner cannot assign his/her rights a second time after he/she has already made a valid rights transfer to a third party – the first rights transfer collides with any subsequent rights transfer of the same rights.

In this context, what this actually specifically means is that an author who has already assigned his/her rights to Gema via a rights administration agreement, cannot assign those rights once more when signing a publishing contract. As a consequence, a participation of the publisher is – based on this decision – out of the question, as the publisher has not acquired any rights which justify a participation.

Furthermore, a participation of the publisher is not justified if only the “publishing rights” have been assigned. Publishing rights in the music sector traditionally includes only the right of reproduction and distribution of music scores. These rights are not managed by Gema. Since, in this case, the definition of the assigned rights in the publishing agreement is too limited, no justification for a publisher participation arises as a consequence.

The court has determined the distribution plans of Gema to be invalid, as far as they provide for a generic publisher participation which only requires the conclusion of a rights administration agreement as well as the notification of the published works, and not the assignment of rights. This, however, was leading to a participation of a party without entitlement to the remuneration, which, in turn, was in violation of the legally embedded prohibition of arbitrary action.

Law and practice in Switzerland

In general, the principle of priority for right assignments also applies in Switzerland: Such authors that have originally acquired and validly assigned rights, cannot transfer these rights again to a third party at a later point in time. In line with local laws this does not automatically imply that a publisher has no right to a participation as soon as an author has joined SUISA prior to the conclusion of a publishing agreement.

These findings are mainly linked to the fact that Swiss Law does not make the entitlement to participate in the remuneration dependent on whether the party holding the rights has actually assigned the rights to the collective management organisation. Art. 49 URG (Swiss Copyright Act) expressly distinguishes between the “original holders of rights” (authors) and “other entitled parties” (such as publishers), between whom the distributable amount is to be shared. The entitlement of a publisher to participate in the remuneration therefore mainly arises from the contractual agreements the publisher has entered into with the author.

Publishers’ participation at SUISA

In line with the above, SUISA may only consider a publisher for distribution purposes if the authors have agreed to this and expressly instruct SUISA to participate the publisher in all or specific remuneration arising from the exploitation of their works (so-called right of instruction of the principal). It is necessary to take into consideration – even in Switzerland – that the scope of the rights assignment is unequivocally stated in the agreement, so that SUISA may participate the publisher in the collections from the individual usage rights and compensation claims. It can therefore be assumed that a mere assignment of the subjective publishing right without further specifying the respective rights may not justify a publisher’s participation in all rights managed by SUISA either.

Furthermore, the distribution rules – in analogy to the legal situation in Germany – must not contain any provisions which imply that publishers participate in the collected remuneration as a principle without specifying an express contractual basis. The SUISA distribution rules meet these requirements by admitting publishers as parties entitled to receive a payment only in those cases where they fulfil their “contractual obligations” vis-a-vis the authors. With regards to the determination of the relevant shares of the parties entitled to receive a payment the distribution rules refer to the contractual arrangements between authors and publishers.

As a consequence it seems rather unlikely that a publisher participation at SUISA would fail for the same reasons as was the case in the European Union and especially in Germany. Despite this position, SUISA is currently optimising some provisions in its distribution rules, its general terms and conditions for rights administration and the SUISA model publishing agreement in order to exclude any residual risks.

Reactions to the decision in Germany
The German Bundestag has immediately suggested the launch of a review of the Act on Collective Management Organisations (CMO Act, VGG) in order to counteract the legal uncertainty which had arisen as a consequence of the decision. The new provisions affect the participation of publishers that have not assigned the rights directly (mitigation of the principle of priority) on the one hand, and the option to participate a publisher in the remuneration collected from the management of statutory compensation claims, on the other hand.
In order to legitimate the publisher participation for the past and guarantee it for the future, Gema has made a confirmation process available to its members. In the course of this process, the involved parties can declare their consent to the shares determined in the Gema distribution plan and to agree with a mutual participation which is not based on who has actually assigned the rights to Gema. www.gema.de/de/aktuelles/verlegerbeteiligung/
Related articles
Mint Digital Services: FAQsMint Digital Services: FAQs SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs. Read more
Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider?Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider? Publishing agreements in Switzerland are governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) The respective statutory provisions on it are, however, not very detailed. In the case of music publishing agreements in particular, you cannot simply rely on the law. Besides, the contractual parties may also stipulate their own arrangements in the agreement. So what do you have to be aware of with respect to publishing agreements? Read more
SUISA member services: one look back, one look forwardSUISA member services: one look back, one look forward Quicker pay-outs due to quarterly settlements, simpler data processing via online works registrations, digital access to statements via “my account”, more efficiency via online forms … What’s next – settlements in “real time”? Will there be no more paper dispatched in future? Read more
Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else?Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else? SUISA manages the rights for its members globally. You should carefully review and consider the relevant effort and income if you wanted to become a member of several authors’ societies. If you live outside of Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, you can also become a SUISA member. Last but not least, it is also possible to be a member of another collective management organisation in addition to your SUISA membership. The following FAQs are intended to summarise what you need to consider when contemplating a so-called dual membership. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

A decision by the European Court of Justice dating back to 2015 and two German court decisions made last year have challenged the basic principle of a participation of publishers with respect to remuneration paid out by collective management organisations. Here are the reasons why what happened at Gema cannot repeat itself at SUISA. Text by Martin Korrodi

Publishers’ participation at SUISA not at risk

A decision by the Supreme Court Berlin has shaken the traditional distribution practice at Gema. Due to the legal situation in Switzerland, publishers will be able to participate – as usual – in the distributable amount from SUISA. (Photo: Niroworld / Shutterstock.com)

It was the decision by the Supreme Court Berlin against Gema in particular which left many publisher members of SUISA in a state of uncertainty, as it rather specifically affects the participation of...read more

SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview

SUISA members whose works are performed, broadcast, reproduced or used online a lot can look forward to receiving remuneration at least four times per year for their work on lyrics or compositions or their publishing activities. In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. Minor modifications serve the purpose of distributing the income swiftly and cost-effectively. Text by Manu Leuenberger

SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview

During financial year 2016, 15,106 authors and 1,373 publishers received one or several settlements from SUISA. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA payments are a “bonus in June” for Sophie Burande and Léonard Gogniat of Carrousel, as mentioned in an interview, and “a recognition of the work involved in writing lyrics and composing music”. In another conversation with us, Camilla Sparksss alias Barbara Lehnhoff said that she considered SUISA settlements as a helpful and “lovely Christmas present each year”.

Whether Christmas present or “summer bonus”: The points in time where SUISA members can look forward to receiving their copyright royalties are connected to the SUISA settlement dates. Members who are due royalties on the basis of SUISA’s distribution rules, receive a payment on these dates.

The rhythm of payments to authors and publishers had been increased a while ago: From 2015 onwards, SUISA introduced quarterly settlements. As a consequence, the collected remuneration will be passed on to rights holders four times per year.

Quarterly distribution of collections to authors and publishers

In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. There are only minor modifications compared to the previous year. These few improvements are another step in the direction of SUISA’s goal to pay out the remuneration as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

The distribution category SRG TV is paid out more quickly: Previously, the distribution of collections from this category took place twice a year. From 2017 onwards, the relevant remuneration will be paid out four times per year in the course of the quarterly settlements. SRG is the biggest licensee, or customer, of SUISA. As a consequence, the remuneration amounts in category SRG TV that are now paid out more quickly to authors and publishers of the broadcast music are relatively high.

From 2017 onwards, advertising window settlements will no longer be run separately but as part of the 3rd quarterly payment in mid-September. The integration of this supplementary settlement into the quarterly distribution is a simplification of the handling process and thus saves costs.

Overview of SUISA’s 2017 settlements calendar

Settlement Date
Quarterly settlement 2017-1 15/03/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (3rd quarter 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio 3rd quarter 2016)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (3rd quarter 2016)
Reproduction rights online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Adjustments 2017, 1st settlement End of March
Settlements from abroad: Performing, broadcasting and reproduction rights 2017, 1st settlement End of May
Quarterly settlement 2017-2 15/06/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: B, C, D, E, H, Hb, HV, K, Z (2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio 4th quarter 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG TV, 2nd semester 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG commercials 2016)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariffs: S, Y (2016)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (4th quarter 2016)
Reproduction rights, central licensing (2nd semester 2016)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)
Supplementary settlements
Publishers’ pension benefits Beginning of July
Authors’ pension benefits Mid-July
Quarterly settlement 2017-3 15/09/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (1st quarter 2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV, 1st quarter 2017)
Advertising windows (2015)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (1st quarter 2017)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)
Blank media levy (CT 4), settlement 2017
Sub-publisher shares cable networks, settlement 2017
Supplementary settlements
Adjustments 2017, 2nd settlement End of September
Re-recording rights settlement, 2017 End of October
Settlements from abroad: Performing, broadcasting and reproduction rights 2017, 2nd settlement End of November
Quarterly settlement 2017-4 15/12/2017
Domestic performing rights, tariffs: D, K, Z (2nd quarter 2017)
Domestic broadcasting rights, tariff: A (SRG Radio & TV, 2nd quarter)
Reproduction rights, tariffs: PA, PI, PN, VI, VN (2nd quarter 2017)
Reproduction rights, central licensing (1st semester 2017)
Reproduction rights, online (Downloads & Streaming)

Further information is available on the SUISA website in the form of explanations of the SUISA settlement and a list of the private broadcasters included in the settlements.

Related articles
New distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights The SUISA distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights will be changed from 01 January 2017 onwards. For works with an original publisher, the share of the author shall be 66.67% and that of the publisher 33.33%. The distribution rules are thus adapted to the CISAC key which is applied at international level. Read more
Sustainable growth for members Cooperative societies excel by their solid economic activities. This is also true for SUISA. The cooperative society for composers, lyricists and publishers of music has slightly increased its income in 2015. SUISA pays out approx. 88% of its income to the rightsholders. That’s a total of CHF 125m. The cooperative society thus makes a substantial contribution to the financial livelihood of its members. Below is an analysis of the annual result. Read more
“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created” The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

SUISA members whose works are performed, broadcast, reproduced or used online a lot can look forward to receiving remuneration at least four times per year for their work on lyrics or compositions or their publishing activities. In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. Minor modifications serve the purpose of distributing the income swiftly and cost-effectively. Text by Manu Leuenberger

SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview

During financial year 2016, 15,106 authors and 1,373 publishers received one or several settlements from SUISA. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA payments are a “bonus in June” for Sophie Burande and Léonard Gogniat of Carrousel, as mentioned in an interview, and “a recognition of the work involved in writing lyrics and composing music”. In another conversation with us, Camilla Sparksss alias Barbara Lehnhoff said that she considered SUISA...read more

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

During SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne, the review of the Pension Fund Regulations was ratified by SUISA members. The changes came into force per 01 January 2017. What do the new regulations mean for our members? Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

The current regulations for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers is available in Italian, French and German on SUISA’s website. (Image: Manu Leuenberger)

There were various reasons for SUISA tabling a review of the Pension Fund Regulations: The old regulations set off discussions time and again on whether they sufficiently reflected practice, and that the wording was not specific enough. These issues could be remedied with the review. On top of the above issues, the regulations had to be adapted to the current legislation (Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans/foundation law). Following these amendments, we now have a set of current and fair Pension Fund Regulations.

This is what the system now looks like for our members:

Authors

The Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF) provides for pension support for our members and affiliates. Once they have reached their pension age, a payment to authors and their respective survivors is guaranteed subject to specific conditions and up to a specific amount at previous levels. The UVF pays such guaranteed income as a pension benefit in such cases if less or no remuneration at all is paid in the course of ongoing distributions. In contrast to a support for the second pillar, the UVF fund only finances the part which authors do no longer receive from the ongoing SUISA distributions.

The UVF fund guarantees authors an income from SUISA when they reach pension age. This is calculated based on the annual average of their previous earnings from the SUISA distributions (the so-called reference income), depends on the membership length and is also multiplied with a factor to be determined by the Pension Board.

The effective pension payment corresponds to the difference between the reference income and the SUISA remuneration in the pension year. The level of the guaranteed income is set at a maximum of CHF 38,500 per annum. Those who receive royalties of more than CHF 38,500 from SUISA distributions for performances and broadcasts, even at pension age, will not be eligible to benefit from the UVF.

The fund is financed by the deductions that SUISA makes from all distributions of the collections arising from performances, broadcasts and compensation claims in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (7.5%).

Publishers

SUISA also makes a deduction on behalf of publishers for the UVF. The UVF thus also provides for pension benefits for publishers if they fulfil the conditions in terms of publishing activities in Switzerland. Publishing companies can, however, not be pensioned. As a consequence, they receive benefits from the fund as soon as they are accepted as affiliates and/or members of SUISA; these benefits are made in the form of contributions to their own occupational benefit institution of the second pillar. It is important that publishers inform SUISA about their occupational benefit institution and submit the relevant payment details.

Revised Pension Fund Regulations

There are no fundamental changes to the SUISA benefits system. The most important changes, apart from some specifications and formulations, are:

  1. Various adaptations to the Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans (BVG).
  2. Conditions for the pension of civil partners – as per the new BVG definition – are: The same regulation shall apply for registered and (unregistered) surviving partners as for surviving spouses.
  3. New competence of the Pension Board (Board of SUISA) for regulation changes.

On SUISA’s website, under www.suisa.ch/fuersorgereglement the new regulations as well as a synoptical representation is available, comparing the old and currently valid regulations with the relevant amendments and comments.

Related articles
General Assembly 2016 of the Cooperative Society SUISA in the Paul Klee Centre 217 composers, lyricists and publishers of music have taken part in the SUISA General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne in order to execute their right of co-determination on their cooperative. In addition to the guest speech by SRG Director General Roger de Weck, the foundation award ceremony and the composer in residence allocation of the FONDATION SUISA, the amendment of the Pension Fund Regulations was the central issue. Read more
Right in the middle of it and in full swing to improve the service range offered to members A glance on the service range offered by SUISA for its members shows: During the last few years, there have been innovations which brought about more efficiency and quality. Among these are more detailed settlement statements, the web portal “my account” and the digitisation of member files. These improvements signify a continu-ous process with SUISA right in the middle of it – and in full swing at it, as the follow-ing outlook shows: New: quarterly distributions. “My account” is undergoing further development. We are modernising the technology of our works database. Our member services are also subjected to a fundamental review. Read more
Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider? Publishing agreements in Switzerland are governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) The respective statutory provisions on it are, however, not very detailed. In the case of music publishing agreements in particular, you cannot simply rely on the law. Besides, the contractual parties may also stipulate their own arrangements in the agreement. So what do you have to be aware of with respect to publishing agreements? Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

Your email address will not be published.

During SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne, the review of the Pension Fund Regulations was ratified by SUISA members. The changes came into force per 01 January 2017. What do the new regulations mean for our members? Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

The current regulations for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers is available in Italian, French and German on SUISA’s website. (Image: Manu Leuenberger)

There were various reasons for SUISA tabling a review of the Pension Fund Regulations: The old regulations set off discussions time and again on whether they sufficiently reflected practice, and that the wording was not specific enough. These issues could be remedied with the review. On top of the above issues, the regulations had to be adapted to the current legislation (Federal...read more