Play 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. Text by Claudia Kempf, Wolfgang Rudigier and Manu Leuenberger

Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at home

Snapshot of the trip to the concert abroad: The Bernese band Da Cruz on its way to Canada for their performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival in summer 2014. (Photo: Peter Hertig)

A concert tour abroad. Airplay on radio stations outside Switzerland. Collaborate with composers beyond the country’s borders. The often mentioned dream of international musical activity becomes reality for SUISA members.

SUISA receives more and more inquiries in relation to copyright licence fees from abroad and work declarations for international collaborations. The most important and most frequently asked questions related to activities abroad or the cooperation with foreign composers shall be answered in the following.

Settlements from abroad

How are usages abroad distributed to SUISA?
Our foreign sister societies usually distribute the relevant copyright remuneration automatically to us, based on their tariffs and their distribution rules.

When do I receive my remuneration from abroad?
A sister society usually distributes the remuneration for the relevant usage in the following year. Example: Remuneration for a concert that takes place today in another country is paid to SUISA during the year 2016. As soon as a distribution to SUISA has taken place, the remuneration is distributed at the next possible date for settlements from abroad to the entitled SUISA members.

What shall I do if a usage from abroad has not been paid out to me?
If royalties from abroad have not been paid in the year following the respective usage and you wish to ensure that the sister society checks such cases, you can notify SUISA of such usages.

Which type of information does SUISA require when I submit usage notifications?
In the case of concerts: Date of the performance, address of the concert venue, address of the event organiser, and programme of the played works.
In the case of broadcasts: Date of the broadcast, list of the broadcast works, as exact contact details as you can provide as possible for the radio/TV stations.
In the case of sound recordings: Date of the publication, list of the used works on the sound recording, exact contact details for the producer of the sound recording (in most cases, the label).
In the case of internet usage: Link for the usage of the work, date since when the work has been available online, details on the provider.

How can I directly notify the collective management organisation of the country where the usage took place of the usage?
It has been agreed among sister societies that queries or notifications from members always have to be made via the society where the author or publisher is registered as a member. SUISA members therefore have to always contact SUISA for information about concerts abroad. It is pointless to directly contact collecting societies abroad.

My songs are often played by “smaller” radio stations. Why do I rarely get a remuneration for such broadcasts?
Programmes of most private radio stations abroad are not analysed down to each actual work usage. The reason for this is that the administrative effort for a detailed programme analysis would exceed the income per individual broadcast by far. In such cases, most sister societies apply a so-called ‘sampling’ system. In the sampling process, the programme of the relevant radio station is only analysed in detail on specific days each month. The works broadcast on those days shall be included in the distribution. Work performances on other days which are not subject to the sampling, are not included in the distribution.

If you have any questions related to settlements from abroad, we are happy to answer them at:
intdistribution(at)suisa(dot)ch

Works registration in the case of international cooperation projects

Who is responsible for registering a work if it has been composed by several authors and the involved parties are members of other collective management organisations than SUISA?
A work only has to be registered by one of the involved parties with their own society, in principle. After that, such a registration is visible to the other collecting societies in an international works database. The best way forward, however, is to declare the work with the society in whose territory the main exploitation of the work takes place.
This means for instance: A SUISA member collaborates with a well-known German author. The production of the sound recording arising from the cooperation is published in Germany for the first time. It thus makes sense that the German co-author registers the work with the German society GEMA.
After the registration of the work has been logged with a foreign society, it is visible in the international works database “CIS-Net powered by FastTrack”. If remuneration from abroad for works not registered with SUISA reach us, we check the international database and update the documentation for the work for the correct distribution in our system.
This process may take some time. It is helpful for a prompt registration in the SUISA systems, to send a short written notification to us. An e-mail, indicating the work title and the collecting society, where the work has already been registered, is sufficient. We can extract the remaining details for the work from the international works database and document them for the distribution in line with the SUISA distribution rules.
In the case of published works, the works are usually registered by the publisher and its sub-publisher.

What do I have to consider specifically when registering works with SUISA where members of other collective management organisations are involved?
In order to ensure that your co-authors who are members of collecting societies abroad also receive their due remuneration, it is important that the co-authors are clearly identified. For this, we require either the IPI number or the birth date of the co-authors, and the name of the collective management organisation the co-authors are members of in addition to their complete names when you register the work. The same applies for the opposite case: If one of the co-authors takes over the registration of the jointly written work with a collecting society abroad, you absolutely ought to tell them beforehand what your IPI number and birth date are and that you are a member of SUISA.
Please also clarify up front whether the shares of the co-authors are published and provide the names of any involved publishers when you register the work, if possible provide the publishers’ IPI numbers, too.

I have noticed that the co-author has not registered the work, despite our agreement for him to do so, with a collective management organisation abroad. What shall I do?
You can directly register the work with SUISA. It is recommended that you do this by means of an online work registration: If you choose this option, you do not have to obtain signatures of all involved parties for the works registration form, something that is rather difficult in retrospect in the case of international cooperation projects.

Which distribution key is applied for works where authors of different collective management organisations are involved?
Works where SUISA members are involved shall be documented by SUISA based on the SUISA distribution rules. The foreign society of the co-author usually registers the works on the basis of their own distribution rules. The SUISA distribution rules allow for the authors to enter into an arrangement where they freely determine their shares. This option is not available with all societies. It is therefore possible that a work is registered with a different distribution key at another society abroad than the key it is registered with at SUISA.

If you have any questions regarding membership and works documentation, please contact our members’ department:
Authors
d/e: authors(at)suisa(dot)ch, 044 485 68 28
f: authorsF(at)suisa(dot)ch, 021 614 32 32
i: autori(at)suisa(dot)ch, 091 950 08 28
Publishers
All languages: publishers(at)suisa(dot)ch, 044 485 68 20
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