Personnel 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. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many specialist questions which required specific musicological knowledge. He thus examined cases where the suspicion of plagiarism arose, or checked registrations of arrangements of works that were no longer protected to establish whether the work qualified as a derived copyrighted work.

Mid 2011, the “Programmdienst” (Programme Services) team was integrated into the Music Department. Ernst Meier and his six staff members made sure that protected works were correctly identified on performance programme lists. In their work, they were supported by Ernst Meier especially regarding concert programmes of contemporary and classical music. These details form the basis for exact invoicing to the event organisers and the correct distribution of copyright remuneration based on programmes.

SUISA has had a seat on the Board of the RISM Schweiz («Répertoire International des Sources Musicales») since RISM was founded as an association. Ernst Meier represented SUISA there in his role as a musicologist and therefore was able to maintain valuable contacts regarding his field of study. He also got involved in the Schweizerische Vereinigung der Musiksammlungen (IAML, Swiss Association of Music Collections).

After 33 years in the service of authors and publishers, Ernst Meier retired at the end of September 2018. With his love for music and his enormous knowledge and instinct, especially regarding all musical matters, he has left a mark on the Music Department at SUISA over a long period. Management thanks Ernst Meier for his valuable work for SUISA and wishes him all the best for his future.

SUISA Music Department from autumn 2018
Andres Pfister, 31 years old, has been working as Ernst Meier’s successor and musicologist for SUISA since 01 September 2018. He lives in Berne and has been studying musicology and social anthropology at the University of Berne. He successfully concluded his studies with a Masters Diploma in the summer of 2018. Andres Pfister already pursued many different work-related activities during his time as a student. He was active as a tutorial assistant at the Institute for Musicology at the University of Berne or worked at the Institute for Culture in the educational directorate of the Canton of Berne. He also moderated the classical music programme “Ostinato” as a radio DJ on RaBe (Radio Berne) and was responsible for the editorial management of the broadcast. He continues to sporadically work for the radio.
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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. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many...read more

Introduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISA

SUISA’s organisational structure changes from 01 January 2019 onwards. The Board had decided to implement the project “Horizon 2019” upon the request by General Management. Text by Andreas Wegelin

Introduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISA

SUISA’s organisation chart, valid from 2019 (Status: November 2018). (Graphics: Crafft Communication)

The objective of the reviewed organisation chart is to further optimise SUISA’s internal process efficiencies. Procedural responsibilities will be aligned with the core process of our work.

SUISA’s core activities are licensing and distribution processes. Licensing fees are collected from users such as concert and event organisers, radio stations, discotheques, producers of sound recordings, online providers of music etc. The collected monies are subsequently distributed to rights owners i.e. the authors and publishers, nationally and internationally.

Core process combined in one department

This core process is increasingly supported by IT and – unlike before – practically no longer separable into pure licensing and distribution tasks. Following these developments it is sensible to unify the core process in one department, with one person in charge of it all.

The core process does, however, not work without principles and prerequisites which first have to be worked out and made available. Among these are legal regulations such as tariffs, distribution rules, user agreements and rights administration agreements. Furthermore, a comprehensive work documentation, i.e. the information on which rights owner (composer, lyricist, arranger, publisher, sub-publisher) has a share in a specific work, is also part of the basic principles which need to be made available for licensing and distribution tasks.

On top of that, our relationships with the sister societies, i.e. the organisationswhich offer copyright management services in other countries, are also part of the basic principles. We also need agreements in this area to ensure the conditions under which the relevant rights are managed in the respective territories. This is – especially with a view to the global online dissemination of SUISA repertoire – of increasing importance.

SUISA organisation chart from 2019 onwards

SUISA’s organisational structure will continue to be split into three departments. The responsibility of the core process shall rest with the new department “Operations”. The department “Regulations” for legal prerequisites and international work documentation as well as the department “Services” for all cross-sectional services, especially IT, Finance, HR and Communications.

As a consequence, there will be changes regarding the responsibility for departments and divisions with regards to the 3-person executive management team:

Irène Philipp Ziebold, previously Director of the Members and Distribution Department, will become Chief Operating Officer (COO). She heads all departments where licensing or distribution is carried out in practice, which means: where reports on music use are processed, invoices are issued and licensing fees are distributed.

Vincent Salvadé (Deputy CEO) shall become head of the Department “Regulations”. He is in charge of all regulatory affairs and SUISA’s Compliance with the respective processes. He leads the Legal Department, the Department for International Documentation as well as the subsidiary, SUISA Digital Licensing, for its online business. He is also responsible for tariffs and distribution rules.

Finally, all service departments and divisions, especially IT, Finance, HR, Communications and the responsibility for the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services with our US-partner SESAC remain under the leadership of our Chief Executive Officer (CEO, Andreas Wegelin).

The new organisation chart will thus entail shifts in the areas of responsibility at Executive level and changes in terms of departmental subordinations. What this does not mean, however, is that there will be a reduction in workplaces. On the contrary: staff numbers might even increase slightly because SUISA will take over the collection of copyright licence fees for background music and the reception of broadcasts in shops, hairdressers, hotels, restaurants and companies of any kind from Billag from 01 January 2019 onwards.

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SUISA’s organisational structure changes from 01 January 2019 onwards. The Board had decided to implement the project “Horizon 2019” upon the request by General Management. Text by Andreas Wegelin

Introduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISA

SUISA’s organisation chart, valid from 2019 (Status: November 2018). (Graphics: Crafft Communication)

The objective of the reviewed organisation chart is to further optimise SUISA’s internal process efficiencies. Procedural responsibilities will be aligned with the core process of our work.

SUISA’s core activities are licensing and distribution processes. Licensing fees are collected from users such as concert and event organisers, radio stations, discotheques, producers of sound recordings, online providers of music etc. The collected monies are subsequently distributed to rights owners i.e. the authors and publishers, nationally and internationally.

Core process combined in one department

This core process is increasingly supported by IT and – unlike before –...read more

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new instruments give rise to new music, new demand and new technical possibilities. Who would have thought it would be possible to rent music? But streaming services are now licensed by SUISA.

The scientist also recommended assessing whether blockchain is a viable solution for every business model. In other words, critically examining whether the blockchain and the bass really can strike a harmonious chord. He provided some prominent real-world examples (Airbnb, Uber, car rental) and also made reference to musicnow.eu. Launched on the basis of the EU Collective Rights Management Directive, this project aims to use blockchain technology to facilitate collaboration between authors, artists, collecting societies and content users.

Technological developments are a permanent area of focus for SUISA’s Board of Directors and management team. In the recently adopted Strategy 2020, SUISA states its intention to step up its research and development under the heading “New technologies give rise to new forms of use”. Following Steffen Holly’s presentation, the collecting society is looking to engage in dialogue with a member of the musicnow.eu project.

Status of tariff negotiations and personnel changes

In addition to addressing the forward-looking topic of blockchain, Vincent Salvadé reported on the current status of the tariff negotiations between the collecting societies and the user organisations. In recent months, the Federal Arbitration Commission has approved the VN (audio-visual media for screening, broadcasting, online use) and CT 3c (public viewing) tariffs. Approval of CT 4i (integrated digital storage media) is pending, while GT 12 (set-top boxes, virtual video recorders) was appealed by the broadcasting companies.

Other important items on the agenda related to the HR department and the 2019 board elections. Monica Hernandez took over as Head of Human Resources/Training & Development in mid-June. Thanks to her dedication, extensive expertise and wealth of experience, she has quickly settled into her new role. Her colleagues value her professionalism, service mindset and customer-oriented approach, as well as her open, positive attitude.

General board elections will be held at the 2019 Annual General Meeting. With the exception of Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta, who are both stepping down after serving for the maximum period, all directors are eligible for a further term of office. The Board of Directors has appointed a Nomination Committee to look for suitable successors. Its members reported on the status of this search for candidates.

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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.

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Technological developments that affect the music industry are a constant focus of SUISA’s management committees. Blockchain technology was one of the many important topics on the agenda at the board meetings in October 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Can the blockchain and the bass strike a harmonious chord?

To what extent is blockchain technology in harmony with the interests of music copyright holders and publishers? (Photo: Daphne.t / Shutterstock.com)

At the autumn meetings of the SUISA Board of Directors in Lausanne, musician and researcher Steffen Holly from the German Fraunhofer Institute provided a glimpse into the world of blockchain technology. He showed how blockchain was born from of a combination of existing IT possibilities, using practical examples to illustrate the theory behind the system. He also showed how the development of the music industry and technology are closely related: new...read more

Positive figures for the 2018 financial year to date

The Board meeting held the day before the General Assembly in June 2018 had a multi-layered agenda to handle. In addition to preparing for the General Assembly, the meeting also reviewed the course of business for the year to date. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Positive figures for the 2018 financial year to date

Satisfactory revenue and distribution results for composers, lyricists and publishers: SUISA’s 2018 financial year got off to a good start in terms of results. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Key figures for the start of the 2018 financial year are positive: domestic revenues totalled CHF 60.3 million as at 31 May 2018, exceeding the budget by 8% and the prior year by 7%. The amount distributed in the second-quarter settlement in mid-June was CHF 43.8 million. At CHF 13.2 million, expenses were within budget.

Review of business activities

The Board approved the comprehensive report and explanatory notes to the 2017 financial statements prepared by the Auditor. These are part of the documentation that SUISA is required to file with the Federal Intellectual Property Institute (IPI) each year for its review of SUISA’s business activities.

Following changes in the Financial Market Infrastructure Act and its implementing ordinances, SUISA had to amend its investment regulations, in particular as regards due care rules for derivatives trading. The Board laid down clear guidelines regulating SUISA’s activities on the investment market. SUISA is also required to submit any amendments to these regulations each year to the IPI, the competent regulatory authority.

Satisfactory income and distribution results for year-to-date 2018

For the year to date as at 31 May, revenues increased for all classes of rights compared both with the budget and the prior year. The growth in revenues from online uses – plus 174%, or CHF 4.7 million – was particularly noteworthy. When preparing the budget, it had been expected that all online contracts would be transferred to SUISA Digital Licensing or Mint Digital Services, and that the corresponding revenues would flow into these companies. However, negotiations with the online service providers are taking longer than expected. Until the new contracts are signed, the corresponding revenues will continue to flow to SUISA, the parent company.

Initial distribution results for 2018 are also positive. The remuneration collected under most tariffs is meanwhile distributed to rightsholders following a quarterly schedule. The first quarterly settlement comprised 8,879 individual settlements representing a total distribution of CHF 13.8 million; the second, in mid-June, comprised 11,800 individual settlements and a total distribution of CHF 43.8 million.

With regard to revenues from abroad, thanks to a new IT application, we managed to distribute a larger number of settlements from our foreign sister societies than ever before at this time of the year. Remuneration totalling CHF 4.1 million was distributed to SUISA members. Moreover, starting in autumn 2018, foreign revenues will also be distributed on a quarterly basis. This means that the second of the three foreign settlements for 2018 will be distributed in mid-September. The third settlement will then be made in mid-December.

Sponsoring commitments and distribution rules

Figures aside, on to sponsoring: SUISA is making itself seen and heard with a number of actions in the framework of various musical events. The overriding aim is always to inform the public about the purpose and activities of our Cooperative Society and to attract well-deserved attention and esteem for the creative work ofour members. In this context, the members of the Committee for Organisation and Communication learnt about SUISA’s commitment in support of the Walo Prize and the organisation of the successful Songwriting Camp. Other events (co-)sponsored by SUISA include a day of concerts in the “Offen für Neues” (“open for the new”) series at the Festival Murten Classics in August, as well as “Label Suisse” in mid-September in Lausanne.

At the meeting, the Board also spent considerable time debating the amendment of the Distribution Rules. The amendments proposed by the Executive Committee are first examined by the Distribution and Works Committee. They are then referred to the Committee for Tariffs and Distribution before being sent to the Board. Finally, the amendments must be submitted to the IPI and the Liechtenstein Office of Economic Affairs. The amendments come into force once they are approved by both institutions, and the document is published.

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The Board meeting held the day before the General Assembly in June 2018 had a multi-layered agenda to handle. In addition to preparing for the General Assembly, the meeting also reviewed the course of business for the year to date. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Positive figures for the 2018 financial year to date

Satisfactory revenue and distribution results for composers, lyricists and publishers: SUISA’s 2018 financial year got off to a good start in terms of results. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Key figures for the start of the 2018 financial year are positive: domestic revenues totalled CHF 60.3 million as at 31 May 2018, exceeding the budget by 8% and the prior year by 7%. The amount distributed in the second-quarter settlement in mid-June was CHF 43.8 million. At CHF 13.2 million, expenses were within budget.

Review of business activities

The Board...read more

A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly

On 22 June 2018, 208 voting members streamed into the Bierhübeli in Bern. They were there to participate in shaping the destiny of their cooperative society, and to take advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange information. Members, Board members, Executive Committee members, guests from cultural and political spheres, and SUISA staff – all were attending the SUISA’s 2018 Ordinary General Assembly. Text by Dora Zeller

A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly

Voting in the packed hall of the Bierhübeli in Bern during SUISA’s General Assembly on 22 June 2018. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Swiss Ländlermix, an ad hoc group consisting of Bruno Brodt, Jost Ribary, Dani Häusler, René Wicky, Robin Mark, Jacqueline Wachter, Kurt Albert and Stefan Schwarz, opened the General Assembly with a surprise folk-music medley. This cross-section of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music got the public into the proper mood for the meeting.

Swiss Laendlermix

The General Assembly opened on a musical note with a medley of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music by the ad hoc group “Swiss Ländlermix”. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Before the statutory business, a short film was presented showing the social media platforms launched at the beginning of the year. Apart from the SUISAblog, there are now SUISA Music Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube.

After the film, the General Assembly approved the annual report, management report, financial statements, cashflows, Notes and auditor’s report for the 2017 financial year. The Board and the Auditor were granted discharge for the reporting year, and the auditing mandate was renewed for 2018.

Amendment of the Articles and election of the Complaints Committee

The main business of the Assembly was the amendment of the Articles of Association. Andreas Wegelin explained why the Articles should be aligned with the Liechtenstein Collecting Societies Act and the EU Directive on Collective Rights Management (CRM Directive). He mentioned the main changes, namely: non-discrimination rules, additional powers to the General Assembly, and greater influence for members. After various suggestions, questions and clarifications, the General Assembly approved the proposed amendments with no negative votes.

The General Assembly also approved the list of candidates for election to the new Complaints Committee. Board members Marco Neeser and Christian Fighera, as well as Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer as external representative (Vice President of the Federal Competition Commission), were elected by a large majority. The same applied for substitutes Roman Camenzind and Zeno Gabaglio (both members of SUISA’s Board) and for external representatives Daniel Alder and Gregor Wild (both attorneys-at-law and members of the Federal Arbitration Commission). Bernhard Wittweiler, Head of SUISA’s Legal Department, was designated Chair of the Complaints Committee. He is a member ex officio of the Complaints Committee and does not have to be elected by the General Assembly.

Natalie Riede

Publisher Natalie Riede (in the picture), a representative of the Swiss electronic music scene, was elected to the Distribution and Works Committee. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Natalie Riede was elected to the Distribution and Works Committee where she replaces Guido Röösli. Through her publishing house, Black Music Management, Natalie Riede has been member of SUISA since 2014; her main focus is on electronica and she represents the Swiss electronic music scene.

In her presentation as Guest Speaker, Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform, outlined the activities of the five collective administration societies from the formal, statutory perspective, from the consensual contract- and Articles-based perspective, and from the factual angle.

Podium

SUISA’s Executive Committee reported on the 2017 business year. On the podium, from left to right: Irène Philipp Ziebold, Vincent Salvadé, President Xavier Dayer, Vice-President Marco Zanotta and Andreas Wegelin at the lectern. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Vincent Salvadé and Irène Philipp then provided information about the current business year. Andreas Wegelin reported on the Mint Digital Services joint venture and explained a number of current political developments which were liable to impact SUISA’s business activities. Lastly, Urs Schnell, Director of FONDATION SUISA, reported on the business year of SUISA’s foundation for musical promotion.

SUISA’s President, Xavier Dayer, closed the General Assembly, which had been as substantial as it was interesting, at about 2 pm. He indicated that the next General Assembly would be held on Friday, 21 June 2019, in Biel.

After the meeting, participants were invited to a buffet lunch in the garden of the Bierhübeli, where they had the opportunity to exchange views and pursue discussions with other participants and with SUISA staff members.

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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.

On 22 June 2018, 208 voting members streamed into the Bierhübeli in Bern. They were there to participate in shaping the destiny of their cooperative society, and to take advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange information. Members, Board members, Executive Committee members, guests from cultural and political spheres, and SUISA staff – all were attending the SUISA’s 2018 Ordinary General Assembly. Text by Dora Zeller

A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly

Voting in the packed hall of the Bierhübeli in Bern during SUISA’s General Assembly on 22 June 2018. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Swiss Ländlermix, an ad hoc group consisting of Bruno Brodt, Jost Ribary, Dani Häusler, René Wicky, Robin Mark, Jacqueline Wachter, Kurt Albert and Stefan Schwarz, opened the General Assembly with a surprise folk-music medley. This cross-section of traditional and contemporary Swiss folk music got the...read more

Strong together

22 June 2018: it’s that time of the year again. As a member of the Cooperative Society SUISA entitled to vote you will be able to decide on the future of your copyright society and to take stock with respect to the past business year at the General Assembly in the Bierhüebli in Bern. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Strong together

Voting at SUISA’s General Assembly: The umbrella of the co-operative joins the collective weight of authors’ and publishers’ votes. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

Cooperative societies are usually alliances of persons or institutions who have the same or similar goals and interests. The idea behind such associations is as simple as it is effective: Together, we are strong! Economic, social or cultural issues that are presented in a unified manner often gain more momentum and impact than just the voice of an individual.

As your Cooperative Society for authors and publishers of music, we can support your interests. The main objective is to generate fair conditions and guarantee a fair remuneration for music creators. Collective management of rights has become an ever more significant aspect: These days, SUISA negotiates with some corporations which act globally. The market power of such negotiation partners may only be faced with the support and strength of a unified community.

Under such circumstances, it is even more positive that 2017 has been the best year in SUISA’s history from a financial perspective. An overall amount of CHF 131.4m in copyright remuneration can be paid out to rightsholders and sister societies. That is more than ever before.

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Authors and publishers of music will receive CHF 131.4 million from SUISA this year. Last year the collecting society received CHF 150 million in copyright from domestic and international sources – CHF 2.9 million more than the previous year. In particular, reimbursements from private copying and the online sector contributed to this growth. For the first time, revenues from online music recordings exceeded those from sales of physical formats. But there is still a pressing need for action in the area of streaming. The internet platforms continue to benefit almost exclusively from this growth market, rather than composers, lyricists and publishers of music. Read more

During the coming GA, a revision of SUISA’s Articles of Association is planned for ratification. This has become necessary because a Directive at EU level has been passed with new provisions, especially regarding the transparency of our work. And this is something that affects SUISA, too: SUISA is responsible for Liechtenstein and operates for online usages on an European market level.

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During the GA, you are also going to have the oppoertunity to meet the President of Swissperform. She is going to report on the cooperation among the Swiss collective management organisations.

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FONDATION SUISA also has got some news on its support activities, and its foundation Director is going to elaborate on that. Finally, the ongoing copyright law revision is expected to be a topic for discussion, since hearings took place among the parliamentary committees last April and May.

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FONDATION SUISA reinforces its activities regarding the support of music in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein: Each year, four music projects shall be launched under the motto “Get Going!”, and every other year, a bigger amount shall be allocated to works under the slogan “Carte Blanche”. Read more
Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committeesCopyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees
On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. The bill reflects the compromise reached by the AGUR12 II working group at the beginning of March 2017. Parliament has started working on the bill, and SUISA was invited to present its point of view on 12 April 2018 at a hearing organised by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the National Council. SUISA also had the opportunity to state its views before the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council, first in writing and then orally on 18 May 2018. Read more

All of these topics will be covered by our SUISAblog and SUISAinfo, one of which you are currently reading. Of course, you’ll find out more information and more details if you travel to the GA in Bern. I look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible in person then.

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131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers It was with satisfaction that members of the SUISA Board approved the results of the previous year during their meeting at the end of March 2017. The total turnover was 3.2% higher than that of the previous year. An overall amount of CHF 131.4m can be paid out to rights holders. The Board has, in addition, decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. Read more
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22 June 2018: it’s that time of the year again. As a member of the Cooperative Society SUISA entitled to vote you will be able to decide on the future of your copyright society and to take stock with respect to the past business year at the General Assembly in the Bierhüebli in Bern. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Strong together

Voting at SUISA’s General Assembly: The umbrella of the co-operative joins the collective weight of authors’ and publishers’ votes. (Photo: Juerg Isler, isler-fotografie.ch)

Cooperative societies are usually alliances of persons or institutions who have the same or similar goals and interests. The idea behind such associations is as simple as it is effective: Together, we are strong! Economic, social or cultural issues that are presented in a unified manner often gain more momentum and impact...read more

Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees

On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees

Revision of Swiss copyright law: work has started in the Federal Palace in Berne. (Photo: Simon Zenger / Shutterstock.com)

The bill reflects the compromise reached by the AGUR12 II working group at the beginning of March 2017. Parliament has started working on the bill, and SUISA was invited to present its point of view on 12 April 2018 at a hearing organised by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the National Council. SUISA also had the opportunity to state its views before the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council, first in writing and then orally on 18 May 2018.

Each time, SUISA acted in association with Swisscopyright, the entity which brings together the five Swiss collective management societies in the field of copyright and neighbouring rights. SUISA started by underscoring that the main objective of Swisscopyright was to ensure fair remuneration for cultural creators, including in the digital age. For this reason, the five collective rights management societies supported the compromise achieved at AGUR12 II level and, consequently, the Federal Councilʼs proposal. However, the societies asked for changes in the provisions governing the new entitlement to remuneration for video on-demand (VoD) with a view to ensuring that the new regulations better reflect the AGUR12 II compromise and secure fair remuneration for creators.

1. General appraisal of the FCʼs bill

Swisscopyright welcomed the Federal Council’s intention to introduce an “extended collective licence” (Article 43 FCA-B). Collecting societies could thus grant blanket authorisations for certain uses, including on behalf of rightholders they do not contractually represent; this would foster cultural projects while assuring remuneration for entitled parties. The blanket authorisation would apply to uses which cannot be individually controlled by rightholders; collecting societies would act as an “insurance” (of a sort) for users. The extended collective licence is perfectly consistent with the function of a collective rights management society, which is to facilitate and simplify rights management for all stakeholders.

Generally speaking, Swisscopyright welcomes all the measures designed to improve collective rights management: according to the FCʼs proposal, users would be required to communicate their declarations to collecting societies in electronic form to facilitate automatic processing (Article 51 FCA-B); collecting societies would be authorised to exchange the data delivered by users (Article 51(1bis) FCA-B); accelerated tariff appeals procedure (Article 74(2) FCA-B); and the Federal Arbitration Commission in charge of tariffs would be permitted to hear witnesses (see draft of new Article 14(1) lit. g of the Administrative Procedure Act). These new rules are designed to increase efficiency, reduce management costs and ensure more money is available for distribution to cultural creators.

“Swisscopyright believes these new anti-piracy measures are necessary to foster legal offers ensuring fair remuneration for creators.”

Swisscopyright also supports the Federal Councilʼs proposals for new anti-piracy measures since they contribute to improving the situation. According to Article 39d FCA-B, platforms presenting significant piracy risks would be obligated to actively combat copyright infringements (stay down obligation). The possibility of processing data for criminal prosecution purposes (Article 77i FCA-B), must be included in the FCA since the Federal Supreme Court ruled that collecting information on pirates and hackers (in particular their IP addresses) is not currently admissible under the Law on Data Protection (ATF 136 II 508). Swisscopyright believes these new anti-piracy measures are necessary to foster legal offers ensuring fair remuneration for creators.

Swisscopyright accepted the proposed copyright exception for the use of works for scientific research (Article 24d FCA-B), but only in the context of the AGUR12 II compromise. The fact that – conversely to what had been proposed in the original draft in 2015 – this exception is not accompanied by a claim to remuneration is indeed problematic for rightholders in the literary field. Swisscopyright underscored that no further concessions to the scientific community would be accepted on the backs of cultural creators.

2. Right of remuneration for VoD

Online platforms making available feature films (cinema and TV) have replaced DVD rental. Whereas, under Article 13 FCA, authors and artists used to receive a share of DVD rental revenues, this is no longer the case for online availability. The revised legislation must ensure that authors and performing artists, as the primary creators of value, participate in this new economic model: Swisscopyright welcomed the introduction of a right to remuneration in Articles 13a and 35a FCA-B. The collecting societies underscored that the right to remuneration must be supplemental to the fees paid to the creators by producers (for the commissioning of works, the performances therein and the corresponding rights). The FCʼs proposal is not clear in this respect; Swisscopyright argues that the parliamentary debates must make it clear that the right to remuneration is supplemental to, and not in lieu of, such fees.

“The composers and publishers of film music entrust their rights to collective rights management societies like SUISA which act directly vis à vis the VoD platforms. The contractual system for music assures composers more favourable financial conditions than they would have under a statutory remuneration right.”

Moreover, the exclusion of music works from the new right to remuneration was an essential element of the AGUR 12 II compromise; regrettably, the FC has not included this exclusion in its proposal. Since the voluntary collective management model functions well in the music sector, we should come back to the solution advocated by AGUR12 II. The music and the audiovisual sector diverge significantly in this respect. The composers and publishers of film music entrust their rights to collective rights management societies like SUISA which act directly vis à vis the VoD platforms (alongside the aggregators who handle all other rights in the film). The contractual system for music assures composers more favourable financial conditions than they would have under a statutory remuneration right.

In the field of music, however, it is necessary to ensure that the revenues distributed by collecting societies are properly apportioned between the composer and the publisher. The composer must in any event receive an equitable share. Article 49(3) FCA already guarantees this for concerts, radio broadcasts and recordings. But this rule only applies to areas under federal regulation, and therefore not to VoD. As a result, Swisscopyright proposes rewording paragraph 5 of Article 13a FCA-B to stipulate the composerʼs right to a fair share of the voluntary collective management revenues, in line with SUISAʼs current practice.

The plenary debates in the National Council (expected in autumn) will show whether the parliamentary committees were sensitive to the argumentation put forward by Swisscopyright.

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On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees

Revision of Swiss copyright law: work has started in the Federal Palace in Berne. (Photo: Simon Zenger / Shutterstock.com)

The bill reflects the compromise reached by the AGUR12 II working group at the beginning of March 2017. Parliament has started working on the bill, and SUISA was invited to present its point of view on 12 April 2018 at a hearing organised by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the National Council. SUISA also had the opportunity to state its views before the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council, first in writing and then orally on...read more

131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers

It was with satisfaction that members of the SUISA Board approved the results of the previous year during their meeting at the end of March 2017. The total turnover was 3.2% higher than that of the previous year. An overall amount of CHF 131.4m can be paid out to rights holders. The Board has, in addition, decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers

SUISA managed to yield a total turnover of CHF 159.2m in 2017, including secondary income. Due to the positive outcome, composers, lyricists and publishers receive CHF 2.5m more in royalties for their artistic performances than in the previous year. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Apart from the delightful business result, the Board also received reports on the distribution of the collections of the last year in its meetings in March. As such, CHF 21m were paid to authors and CHF 38.7m to publishers. Transfers to sister societies amounted to CHF 53m.

Further distribution topics featured on the agenda: On the one hand, the Board decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. On the other hand, the governing body determined a minimum amount for the distribution of the collections from exploitations by broadcasters. Pursuant to the distribution rules, the distribution per private broadcaster follows the ratio of the licence fee that these broadcasters pay. The prerequisite for this is that the licence fee collected from the broadcaster must be higher than the amount determined by the Board each year. Furthermore, the station logs must be submitted electronically. Last year, the Board had lowered the minimum amount from CHF 15,000 to CHF 5,000. The Board took the decision to maintain this threshold.

General Assembly of SUISA on 22 June 2018 in Berne

The Board members also dedicate a lot of time to the preparation of the General Assembly. It takes place on Friday, 22 June 2018, in Berne. Apart from statutory business, the revision of the Articles of Association is an item on the agenda for the GA. The Articles of Association shall be adapted to the provisions of the EU Directive, which have been implemented into national law in Liechtenstein. Furthermore, such an adaptation is important so that SUISA can continue to carry out cross-border licensing of online usages within the European Union.

A synoptic representation of the changes to the Articles of Association will be posted to the members who are entitled to vote together with the invitation for the GA. The notes to the invitation include further details on the reasons for the intended changes to the provisions. One important issue is the duty to provide members with a complaints procedure. SUISA therefore plans to set up a Complaints Committee. The Board will propose the designated persons to the General Assembly for election.

Further elections are due for the Distribution and Works Committee. Guido Röösli retires and the Board has nominated Natalie Riede for the seat that has become available. She is a young publisher and represents the Swiss electronic music scene.

Mint Digital Services, the joint venture

The Board turned to the international stage with regards to the subject Mint Digital Services. A representative of US partner SESAC explained to Board members what it would take – in his opinion – to be successful in a competitive environment: Tenacity and negotiating skills, paired with intelligent IT software and high data quality are, from his point of view, the necessary tools. These qualities are combined under the joint venture Mint which was launched last year.

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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.

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It was with satisfaction that members of the SUISA Board approved the results of the previous year during their meeting at the end of March 2017. The total turnover was 3.2% higher than that of the previous year. An overall amount of CHF 131.4m can be paid out to rights holders. The Board has, in addition, decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers

SUISA managed to yield a total turnover of CHF 159.2m in 2017, including secondary income. Due to the positive outcome, composers, lyricists and publishers receive CHF 2.5m more in royalties for their artistic performances than in the previous year. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Apart from the delightful business result, the Board also...read more

SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts!

SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly takes place on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. It will be opened with a music performance by the ad hoc formation Swiss Ländlermix in line with the theme; “Folk music – Switzerland crossways”. Important business items on the agenda are the review of the Articles of Association, the new Complaints Committee and an election of a substitute for the Distribution and Works Committee. Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform will attend as guest speaker. Text by Dora Zeller

SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts!

Up to 19 June, members who are eligible to vote can register for SUISA’s General Assembly, which is to be held on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA’s General Assembly 2018 is determined by the review of the Articles of Association. The music business is changing: increased competition levels, new technologies, international networks, tougher regulations. SUISA wants and has to keep up with the developments and create a base for the successful advancement of the cooperative society.

Changes to the Articles of Association are therefore going to be proposed to the General Assembly. By way of the proposed amendments, SUISA’s Articles of Association will be brought in line with the Act on Collective Management Organisations (CMO Act) of Liechtenstein which has been ratified in March 2018, and thus with the European Directive on the Collective Management of Copyright.

Strengthening members’ rights and online business

The EU Directive which has in the meantime been implemented into national law in Liechtenstein, contains provisions which entail a strengthening of members’ rights. Apart from rules on transparency and for supervision of the collective management organisations, a significant point covers the making available of a complaint procedure for members. SUISA intends to create a Complaints Committee with well-versed persons from the music sector and legally adept experts. It will suggest committee members for election.

Apart from the above, it is necessary to adapt the Articles of Association to the EU Directive in order to continue to be able to licence online exploitations at cross-border level in the European Union. SUISA has been licensing music of SUISA members at pan-European level since 2013 in the online sector, partially even far beyond Europe’s borders.

Pursuant to the EU Directive, collective management organisations must meet certain standards in order to be able to carry out cross-border licensing. By way of revising the Articles of Association, the conditions will be met that SUISA can directly negotiate with and collect from online providers such as iTunes or Spotify regarding exploitations outside Switzerland and Liechtenstein, too. The online business is a focus of SUISA’s strategy for the immediate future. For this purpose, Mint Digital Services were founded together with SESAC (USA).

Statutory business

It features on the agenda each year: statutory business. The annual report, management report, financial statements, profit and loss accounts, cash flow statements, the annex to the annual accounts as well as the auditors’ report will be submitted to the General Assembly for approval. After that, the Board’s and the auditors’ activities are ratified, and an election determining the auditors for the current financial year takes place.

As usual, there will be an interim report on the current financial year. Management will report on the financial development in the first semester. Furthermore, those in charge of FONDATION SUISA will provide an overview of the activities of the foundation in 2017 at this year’s General Assembly.

Elections and guests

Natalie Riede will be proposed to the General Assembly for election into the Distribution and Works Committee as a substitute for Guido Röösli who is stepping down. She represents the Electronica sector, runs her own publishing company and has strong roots in the club scene.

There are multiple opportunities at the General Assembly to enter into conversation with many invited guests, e.g. representatives of music user associations, institutions or copyright experts. SUISA was able to secure a guest presentation by Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer. She is the President of Swissperform, the collective management organisation for neighbouring rights in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

How to get there / Catering

We recommend that participants take public transport to get to the Bierhübeli. The bus from Bern train station stops directly outside the event location. There are no parking spaces available. The Park & Ride car park Neufeld is within 10 minutes walking distance from the Bierhübeli. Coffee and Gipfeli will be offered prior to the General Assembly. After the assembly, a buffet lunch will be available.

SUISA Annual Report 2017On 24. May 2018, SUISA’s 2017 annual report has been published. It is available online or can be ordered as a printed version at: www.suisa.ch/annualreport
The turnover in 2017 is very positive. The results of CHF 139.2m from rights management in Switzerland is 2% above the 2016 results. SUISA can thus distribute a record amount to rights owners who are entitled to receive a payment. Continue reading in the media release (PDF)
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SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly takes place on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. It will be opened with a music performance by the ad hoc formation Swiss Ländlermix in line with the theme; “Folk music – Switzerland crossways”. Important business items on the agenda are the review of the Articles of Association, the new Complaints Committee and an election of a substitute for the Distribution and Works Committee. Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform will attend as guest speaker. Text by Dora Zeller

SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts!

Up to 19 June, members who are eligible to vote can register for SUISA’s General Assembly, which is to be held on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA’s General Assembly 2018 is determined by the review of the Articles of Association. The music...read more

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

Due to a mid-term resignation, a seat on SUISA’s Distribution and Works Committee needs to be filled. We are looking for a SUISA member who is a publisher, active in the rock/pop, jazz or electronic genre and originates from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

Bang in the midst of it rather than watching from the sidelines – SUISA is looking for a member that holds voting and election rights willing to co-design the distribution of collections in the Distribution and Works Committee. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA authors and publishers have the opportunity as members of the Distribution and Works Committee (VWK) to directly shape the distribution of the collections arising from works usage. The Distribution Regulations are the authoritative documentation governing the issue of who ultimately gets how much money and for which usage of their works. The Distribution Regulations are also the centre of attraction of the meetings of the VWK which takes place twice a year, where VWK members are presented with any pending changes in the rules for discussion and co-determination. The final resolution regarding the respective change shall be made by the Board.

Music genres, regions, authors and publishers – it’s all in the mix

Based on the above mentioned criteria regarding the search of a successor for the member that has stepped down, the goal is to ensure that the VWK’s composition is as balanced as possible in future since this is a central point for its work. In the Committee, there are thus many different music genres as well as all linguistic regions of Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein that must be represented. Furthermore, the VWK must consist of composers, music publishers as well as lyricists. Finally, the Committee should also exhibit the best possible mix regarding age and gender.

Further requirements for becoming a member of the VWK

Only SUISA members who hold a right to vote and elect can be appointed into the Committee. The (future) VWK member must – apart from the direct relationship to music – understand the effect of current decisions on the future. Members of the VWK may therefore not just focus on their own business areas, but must represent the interests of all authors and publishers. After all, being a Committee member takes time: The meetings of the VWK do take up a whole day (2x per annum) – including travel time and joint lunch. Members are also required to prepare accordingly for the meetings; this includes reading comprehensive and exhaustive materials which are provided in the run-up of the meeting.

Tasks of the distribution and works committee

A maximum of 22 members make up the VWK; they are elected for a term of four years by the General Assembly. The selection of the candidates proposed for election will be made by the Board. A re-election is limited to three terms in office.

The VWK fulfils the following tasks as per the SUISA Articles of Association by

  • checking the provisions of the Distribution Regulations and their implications on distribution proceeds;
  • proposing amendments to the Distribution Regulations to the Board;
  • as a first instance, handling appeals against Executive Committee decisions on the classification of broadcasting programmes, copyrightability of works and arrangement of non-protected works;
  • in an advisory capacity, evaluating unauthorised adaptations of protected works and cases of plagiarism.

The VWK is a Committee of the SUISA General Assembly. In other words: The General Assembly may allocate additional tasks to the Committee.

Candidate entries

Since the by-elections take place during the SUISA General Assembly on 22 June 2018 and the preparatory process does take up some time, we kindly ask interested candidates to send their application no later than Monday, 26 March 2018 to the following address:

SUISA, Stephanie Fikatas, Bellariastrasse 82, 8038 Zurich
E-mail: stephanie.fikatas (at) suisa (dot) ch

For further information please contact Mrs. Irène Philipp Ziebold, Director of Member Services and Distribution (Phone: +41 44 485 68 00).

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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.

Due to a mid-term resignation, a seat on SUISA’s Distribution and Works Committee needs to be filled. We are looking for a SUISA member who is a publisher, active in the rock/pop, jazz or electronic genre and originates from the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

Bang in the midst of it rather than watching from the sidelines – SUISA is looking for a member that holds voting and election rights willing to co-design the distribution of collections in the Distribution and Works Committee. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA authors and publishers have the opportunity as members of the Distribution and Works Committee (VWK) to directly shape the distribution of the collections arising from works usage. The Distribution Regulations are the authoritative documentation governing the issue of who ultimately gets how...read more