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October 2023 board meetings
The newly elected SUISA Board members at the 2023 General Assembly (from left to right): Anna Murphy, Tina Funk and Chantal Bolzern.
Photo: Martin Bissig
Report from the Board of Directors by Noah Martin
After the commission meetings on 26 September 2023 and 3 October 2023, the full board, in its new setup, met in Lausanne on 4 October 2023. The first term of office of the three newly elected board members has thus begun.

As a governing body, the Board of Directors defines the strategy of the SUISA Cooperative. It also reviews and enhances strategic objectives and corresponding measures on an annual basis. As such, there were some adjustments this year as well. In addition to the already existing objectives set until 2027, the board decided, among other things, to address the prevailing challenges related to generative AI in the interest of SUISA members. In addition, it defined SUISA’s three-pillar business model, which has been practised to date, in the strategy: SUISA generates the funds to be distributed from its monopoly business in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (first pillar), from the worldwide licensing of the online use of its members’ works (second pillar) and from services for domestic and foreign sister societies (third pillar).

Result cost unit accounting

At this year’s autumn meeting, the Board of Directors also dealt with cost unit accounting for the past financial year, as it does every year. The cost unit accounting shows how high the cost/revenue ratio was per tariff. It serves to identify particularly cost-intensive sectors in order to then provide improvement measures based on the findings in such areas. Apart from taking the past financial year into consideration, the longer-term development of specific cost ratios also contributes to better decision-making. Common Tariffs 1 & 3 and Tariff A proved to be particularly cost-effective.

Modification of the Rights Administration Agreement and the General Terms and Conditions of Administration

In 2019, the Board revised the General Terms and Conditions for the Administration of Authors’ Rights for the last time, effective January 2020. Once more, the Executive Committee has now proposed to the Board of Directors that they amend the Rights Administration Agreement and the General Terms and Conditions of Administration in order to take account of the current circumstances. The board subsequently decided to undertake the following adjustments: introduce inclusive language for the purpose of equality of all genders in the German and French versions (the Federal Chancellery advises against inclusive language for Italian legal texts, as this is not yet sufficiently established), optimise synch rights procedures, enhance work registration processes, in particular, by introducing the obligation not to register products generated exclusively by artificial intelligence, grant the right to SUISA to pass on to third parties specimen copies provided to it with regard to the better management of rights, as well as certain adaptations to the new Data Protection Act.

AI – SUISA’s statement to the IPI (Federal Institute for Intellectual Property)

The omnipresent topic of artificial intelligence has been the focus of creative minds for quite some time. The sector seems to feel both an uplift as well as unease by the new technological opportunities. The forecasts for the future remain vague, and it seems premature to form a final opinion in any case, especially when it comes to regulatory issues. SUISA, its Executive Committee and its Board of Directors, are aware of the explosive nature of the issue and are determined to stand up for the interests of their members. Thus, as a first step, a statement to the IPI expressed the prevailing concern of music creators and pointed out that copies of (musical) works made as part of the creative process by a generative AI (e.g., copies made as “input” for the purpose of AI training) are in most cases covered by the exclusive reproduction right. After intensive discussions, the Board of Directors decided to pursue the issue further and to take a united stand in the public discourse.

Artificial intelligence survey
In collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), PwC is conducting a comprehensive survey that looks at the dynamic landscape of copyright and generative AI. The perspective of SUISA members in this regard is important and helps drive informed discussions and decisions in this rapidly evolving field. It takes about 15 minutes to complete the survey. The answers will be treated confidentially. You can participate in the survey following this link.

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