Tag Archives: Blank media levy

From the 2021 Annual Report: From law-making to implementation

The «Regulations» division is responsible for SUISA’s legal affairs. This starts with its involvement in political law-making activities, runs through tariff negotiations and drafting the distribution rules, and ends with the implementation of rules and regulations in case of disputes. In 2021, the division dealt with a number of key issues. Text by Vincent Salvadé

From the 2021 Annual Report

The 2021 Annual Report contains all the relevant figures and information relating to the previous financial year at SUISA (cooperative and group). (Photo: SUISA)

1. Legislation

In last year’s Annual Report, we mentioned the initiative of National Councillor Philippe Nantermod demanding an exception to copyright law for protected works used in hotel rooms and similar facilities. This parliamentary initiative was revisiting a provision that the National Council and the Council of States had rejected in September 2019 as part of the revision of the Copyright Act. On 3 March 2021, the National Council accepted the parliamentary initiative. For us, that was inadmissible. There was no good reason to revise the Copyright Act after such a short time, especially since it was the fruit of a compromise. Cultural circles had made significant concessions to reach a solution. They would have been cheated if certain elements were to have been changed unilaterally. Moreover, the initiative was inconsistent with international law. As a result, either Switzerland would have been exposed to economic sanctions, or, to avoid violating international agreements, it would have had to apply the exception only to the works and performances of Swiss nationals. That would have blatantly discriminated against Swiss artists compared with those of other countries. Fortunately, the initiative was rejected by the Council of States in early March 2022, and the matter was definitively shelved.

The revision of the Swiss Code of Civil Procedure also kept us busy. For a while, it seemed that conciliation would be made mandatory before any legal action could be brought to enforce royalty payments of less than CHF 30,000. During legal proceedings, it is often worthwhile to seek an arrangement. However, collective management organisations must respect the principle of equal treatment, and their tariffs are binding. It follows that they have limited leeway for proposing or accepting out-of-court settlements. Under the circumstances, we argued in favour of a voluntary conciliation procedure which would avoid unnecessary costs when an out-of-court arrangement appears to be out of reach. The matter seems to be on the right track, although the revision of the Code of Civil Procedure is yet to be completed as this report goes to press.

Just before Christmas, the Federal Council published a report in response to a motion requesting an evaluation of the effectiveness of the revised Copyright Act (which came into force on 1 April 2020). On the whole, the Government is relatively positive. It noted that the anti-piracy measures seemed to have had a dissuasive effect and that there was less criticism from rightholders. On the other hand, the Federal Council was more reserved about the new extended collective licence model: the latter should enable collective management organisations to issue global licences for an entire repertoire (even on behalf of rightsholders that they do not represent contractually) but was still to realise its full potential. In this context, we welcome Switzerland’s intention to follow the international talks: regulation at international level will be necessary to ensure that the extended collective licence is also used in multi-territorial operations.

2. Tariffs

In terms of tariff negotiations, we concluded two significant agreements in 2021.

The first was an agreement with our international partners on a new Tariff 4i regulating private copying on digital storage media. This agreement extends the levy scheme to include laptops and external hard drives. The new tariff is currently before the Federal Arbitration Commission for approval and is expected to enter into force on 1 July 2022. This will significantly increase our revenues from the blank media levy. Moreover, in 2022 we will pursue talks on a new tariff for private copying on the Cloud (i.e. on remote servers). The talks had been suspended in autumn 2021 pending a decision by the European Court of Justice on a similar levy scheme applied in Austria. The ECJ handed down a ruling favourable to rightholders at the end of March 2022.

In 2021, in a different context, we finalised negotiations on a new Common Tariff Z regulating circuses. The objective had been to achieve a better delimitation between this tariff and Common Tariff K which regulates concerts and certain other types of shows. Henceforth, Common Tariff Z, with more advantageous rates, will apply only to certain well-defined shows. The Federal Arbitation Commission approved the new tariff on 8 November 2021.

3. Distribution Rules

In spring 2021, the amendments to the Distribution Rules decided by SUISA’s Board at the end of 2020 were all approved by the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI). The new distribution system for private copies was implemented for the first time in September 2021.

Moreover, SUISA’s Board adopted three amendments to the Distribution Rules concerning online rights. The first applies to situations where an online platform does not report sufficient information on the works it uses: in this case, distribution is made based on the information obtained from other platforms using a similar repertoire. The second amendment concerns «residuals», namely the amounts paid by online providers «in final settlement» for works that have not been claimed by any rights management organisation. As of the end of 2021, these residuals are distributed to entitled parties in the form of supplemental payments on their settlements for current uses. The third and last amendment concerns «Play Suisse», the video on demand (VoD) platform of the SRG-SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation). The Board decided that a portion of the amounts paid by the SRG-SSR under Tariff A would henceforth be allocated to distribution category 22S covering VoD. This portion is calculated based on the share of costs invested in «Play Suisse» as against SRG-SSR’s total costs.

This third amendment still requires IPI approval. The latter has first requested an addition to Tariff A. The SRG-SSR agreed, and the matter was referred to the Arbitration Commission in spring 2022: we are looking forward to a favourable outcome soon.

4. Regulatory authority

Finally, two cases are pending on which IPI, our regulatory authority, and SUISA hold divergent views. Both cases concern the relationship between «conventional» collective rights management, which is under federal oversight, and the liberalised management of online rights. In the first case, IPI opposes the granting of guarantees by SUISA to secure a bank loan to MINT, the joint venture company with SESAC for the management of online rights. In the second case, IPI opposed a cross-selling initiative undertaken by SUISA to inform its Tariff 3a (background music) customers that they would have to obtain an additional licence for the use of music on their websites or social media pages.

In both cases, we filed an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court. In the first case, we argued that the proper functioning of MINT was in the best interest of SUISA’s members. After all, the aim of the joint venture is to bring the Swiss repertoire together with other repertoires to achieve greater bargaining power in our dealings with giants like Google, Apple, or Spotify. The guarantees granted to MINT will be submitted to the 2022 General Meeting and the matter will thus be closed. In the second case, IPI deemed that data protection requirements disallow the communication of this information by SUISA, and that the information is misleading since conventional rights management and the management of online rights are governed by different rules. We believe that IPI exceeded its competence in this context and has disregarded the realities of collective management in its interpretation of statutory rules. We are now awaiting the decision of the Federal Arbitration Court.

Both these cases address an important question: how far can SUISA go to respect its obligations as a monopolistic organisation in certain areas while coming to terms with a liberalised market in others? We need the regulatory authority to provide a practical answer to this question. Otherwise, SUISA’s members may have to suffer the consequences.

2021 Annual Report
The 2021 Annual Report contains all the relevant figures and information relating to the previous financial year at SUISA (cooperative and group). Informative articles shed light on income, political developments and tariff negotiations in the past year. Once again, 2021 was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the music industry. You can find out what this meant for SUISA’s members and customers in the 2021 Annual Report.
www.suisa.ch/annualreport
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The «Regulations» division is responsible for SUISA’s legal affairs. This starts with its involvement in political law-making activities, runs through tariff negotiations and drafting the distribution rules, and ends with the implementation of rules and regulations in case of disputes. In 2021, the division dealt with a number of key issues. Text by Vincent Salvadé

From the 2021 Annual Report

The 2021 Annual Report contains all the relevant figures and information relating to the previous financial year at SUISA (cooperative and group). (Photo: SUISA)

1. Legislation

In last year’s Annual Report, we mentioned the initiative of National Councillor Philippe Nantermod demanding an exception to copyright law for protected works used in hotel rooms and similar facilities. This parliamentary initiative was revisiting a provision that the National Council and the Council of States had rejected in September 2019 as part...read more

Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

Copying music, videos and e-books for their personal entertainment: Consumers in Switzerland have been enjoying this freedom for a very long time. For several years, rightsholders have been paid royalties for copies made on smartphones and tablets. Starting this summer, they are now also going to receive remuneration for copies on laptops and external hard drives. Text by Anke Link

Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

With the expansion of Common Tariff 4i, rightsholders will also receive remuneration for private copies of their works on laptops and external hard drives from July 2022. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

Some 30 years ago, the fact that you could make tons of music copies on audio cassettes kicked off private copying levies to be anchored into legislation. Since then, it has been permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make copies of protected works for the use in people’s private circles or home lives. The range of blank media subject to a licence fee has increased in the course of technological developments; today, digital storage built into devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops is predominantly relevant.

In return for the many ways in which music, films and other works can be stored, authors and performers of music, filmmakers, writers, etc. are entitled by law to remuneration for these private copies.

Such a levy must be paid by the manufacturers and importers of the recording and storage devices. The collective management organisation regularly negotiate with the associations of these companies about the level of the levy and for which memories it must be paid. The licence fee for private copying is then collected by SUISA according to so-called “Common Tariffs” for all Swiss collective management organisation and distributed to the respective rightsholders.

Levy for private copies on laptops and external hard disks

In the summer of last year, the associations agreed with the collective management organisation that from 1 July 2022 memory in laptops and notebooks as well as external hard drives is also going to be considered blank media subject to a mandatory levy. These storage facilities therefore now also fall within the scope of Common Tariff 4i (CT 4i). In the case of external hard disks, it does not matter whether they are magnetic hard disks (hard disk drives) or contain another storage technology (solid state drive or a combination of both). It only matters that they are intended for connection to personal computers (desktop computers, laptops, notebooks or tablets). Connections like these can be made via cable (e.g. USB or Firewire) and via ports such as BUS and PCI slots of personal computers. External hard disks are all storage extensions for personal computers, regardless of whether they are connected or installed outside of the computer. However, so-called “server grade” hard disks, which are intended for the server infrastructure of companies, are exempt from the obligation to pay a fee.

In contrast to the previous CT 4i, which still provided for different fees according to the equipment category, uniform remuneration rates will apply to almost all storage facilities covered by the tariff from 1 July 2022. The fees were based on the corresponding price of the devices and external hard disks, and the proportion of the respective storage devices used in connection with private copying. On this basis, uniform fees were calculated and negotiated, which are now only dependent on storage capacity and apply per device or per external hard disk. Only MP3 players are still subject to separate levies:

For MP3 players and the like:

Storage capacity per device
up to and including 4 GB CHF 2.40
up to and including 8 GB CHF 4.20
up to and including 16 GB CHF 4.70
up to and including 32 GB CHF 7.80
more than 32 GB CHF 12.40

For all other devices covered by the CT 4i or for external hard disks:

Storage capacity per device/hard disk
over 16 GB up to and including 32 GB CHF 2.10
up to and including 64 GB CHF 2.90
up to and including 128 GB CHF 3.85
up to and including 256 GB CHF 4.80
up to and including 512 GB CHF 5.60
up to and including 1 TB CHF 6.50
up to and including 2 TB CHF 7.50
more than 2 TB CHF 8.30

With the exception of MP3 players, the fees are only due for devices or external hard drives with a storage capacity of more than 16 GB. For external hard disks, a maximum fee of CHF 4.50 also applies, even if the storage capacity is very high. This takes into account the fact that the prices of external hard drives are lower compared to the other devices covered by the levy. Value-added-tax is owed in addition in each case.

Registration of storage devices subject to a mandatory levy

Even though there is such a uniform levy for almost all storage devices, it is important in the context of the correct distribution of the collected amounts to the rightsholders that the manufacturing and importing companies distinguish between the device categories when registering their storage devices that are subject to a mandatory levy. This is due to the fact that films and movies are copied to laptops, tablets and external hard drives more frequently than to smartphones, for example. Levies collected for these memories must thus be split in a different way than the fees collected for smartphones. Only in this way is the money allocated to the correct creators and any other rightsholders who are entitled to it. SUISA will provide its clients with corresponding reporting forms from July 2022, which will form the basis for invoicing.

This extension of CT 4i ensures that consumers can continue to copy their favourite works to the devices of their choice without having to have a guilty conscience and that those who create these works are compensated for doing so.

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Copying music, videos and e-books for their personal entertainment: Consumers in Switzerland have been enjoying this freedom for a very long time. For several years, rightsholders have been paid royalties for copies made on smartphones and tablets. Starting this summer, they are now also going to receive remuneration for copies on laptops and external hard drives. Text by Anke Link

Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

With the expansion of Common Tariff 4i, rightsholders will also receive remuneration for private copies of their works on laptops and external hard drives from July 2022. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

Some 30 years ago, the fact that you could make tons of music copies on audio cassettes kicked off private copying levies to be anchored into legislation. Since then, it has been permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make...read more

Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022

The meetings of SUISA’s Board of Directors on 12 and 13 December 2021 had unfortunately to be held in the form of a video conference again due to the recommended protective measures. Among other things, the budget for 2022 was approved at the last meetings of the year. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022

The outlook with regard to the staging of concert events and the associated collections for performing rights for 2022 remains a foggy one. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

Due to the pandemic, the last meetings of the Board of Directors and its commissions were once again held by video conference on 12 and 13 December. Shortly before that, the Board of Directors still had the opportunity to meet physically in the course of a conference.

Future of online licensing

In this information and retreat session on 24 November 2021, the Board of Directors discussed the current situation regarding the global management of our members’ rights for online uses with SUISA’s Executive Committee and the CEO of Mint Digital Services AG. SUISA is competing with other collective management organisations and licensing companies through its joint venture company established together with the American SESAC: ICE, founded by PRS (UK), Gema (DE) and Stim (SE), and Armonia, founded by Sacem (FR). The possible scenarios for the acquisition of further customers were therefore discussed with the Mint CEO. The Board was also able to take note of the benefits that direct licensing of SUISA repertoire brings to our members worldwide.

2022 Budget

The main topic of the December Board meeting was the approval of the 2022 budget presented by management. As is well known, the situation regarding performing rights remains critical. Due to Covid-19, large events are only possible under restrictive conditions, if at all. These requirements entail that ticket sales are also more tentative and often worse than before the pandemic. As a result, performing rights revenue is expected to be lower in 2022 than it was prior to Covid-19 (–35% compared to 2019). Nevertheless, there should be an increase compared to 2020 (+12%).

Important pillars for achieving a better result in all areas compared to 2020 and probably also 2021 are the continuously improved market coverage, adjusted tariffs and new contracts. As a result of the new tariff relating to the blank media levy for external hard disks and laptops valid from 1 July 2022, revenue from compensation claims is expected to increase by around 20% compared to 2020.

On the expenditure side, we continue our cautious course. Expenditures are expected to be lower in 2022 than in 2020. Nevertheless, investments must be made in the further development of IT. The aim is to carry out as many communication processes as possible between members and SUISA and between clients and SUISA online: Our contact persons should be able to get in touch with us at any time via the web portal.

Within the framework of the budget, the Board also decided on the cost deductions for settlements to rightsholders in 2022. These cost deductions remain unchanged, i.e.: a maximum of 15% for performing and broadcasting rights and for online uses (video, websites). For online distribution of audio recordings, the cost deduction is 10%.

Code of conduct and conflicts of interest

The 2014 EU Directive on collecting societies also applies in the Principality of Liechtenstein. SUISA has therefore amended its Articles of Association accordingly in 2018. As a further consequence of the provisions of the Directive, the rules on conflicts of interest need to be defined more precisely. The board approved these rules at the December meeting. To this end, the Board of Directors and the Executive Board will disclose to the General Meeting corresponding declarations on vested interests and the remuneration from their SUISA mandates.

Projects

The Board of Directors also decided to continue its work on and planning of two projects: on the one hand, the celebrations for SUISA’s 100th anniversary in 2023 and, on the other hand, a joint project with Gema to automate and thus improve market registration for performing rights. Details of this will be able to be elaborated in the reports following the upcoming board meetings.

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The meetings of SUISA’s Board of Directors on 12 and 13 December 2021 had unfortunately to be held in the form of a video conference again due to the recommended protective measures. Among other things, the budget for 2022 was approved at the last meetings of the year. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Board meetings December: Budget established for the year 2022

The outlook with regard to the staging of concert events and the associated collections for performing rights for 2022 remains a foggy one. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

Due to the pandemic, the last meetings of the Board of Directors and its commissions were once again held by video conference on 12 and 13 December. Shortly before that, the Board of Directors still had the opportunity to meet physically in the course of a conference.

Future...read more

How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies

Nowadays, the lion’s share of private copying is done from the internet rather than from CDs as in the heyday of the record market. SUISA’s Distribution Rules have now been amended to reflect present circumstances. The adjustments are designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of the remuneration from private copying. Text by Anke Link

How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies

Consumers increasingly source their music from the internet. The move to digital forms of music consumption has caused a shift in the sources of music tapped for private copying. As a result, changes also had to be made in the distribution of blank media revenues. (Photo: Carlos Castilla / Shutterstock.com)

The Federal Copyright Act allows Swiss consumers to make copies for their own use and that of a close circle of friends and relatives, regardless which source is used to copy the music from. Since 1992, Swiss copyright legislation has provided that this form of private copying is subject to remuneration. This remuneration is not levied, however, from those who actually make the copies – i.e. the individual consumer – but from the producers and importers of the blank media used to store such copies.

At the outset, blank audiotapes were the chosen media: you would put one into a recorder and then wait by the radio until your favourite song was played, or you would use them to record music played back from a CD so you could listen to it on the Walkman. VHS tapes, used to record television broadcasts, were also among the first blank media carriers to be subject to the levy. Later came blank CDs and DVDs on which you could record music and films.

Today, the blank media levy applies mostly to digital storage media built into devices like smartphones and tablets. These offer variegated possibilities for storing music, films, and other works. The remuneration is levied as a flat fee per blank medium, regardless of the scope of the copying and the works actually copied. SUISA is responsible for collecting the levy from the producers and importers of the devices and distributing the proceeds to those who provide the content for the copying: music authors and artists, filmmakers, writers, etc.

How are the blank media revenues distributed?

When distributing the proceeds from the blank media levy, a first breakdown has to be made between the five Swiss copyright collecting societies: ProLitteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage, and Swissperform. SUISA acts as the central collecting agency for them all. The basis for this breakdown is the share of the copied repertoire represented by each Society.These shares are determined through representative surveys. But the surveys do not provide any information about the works themselves; they only establish whether the works concerned are musical works, films, videos, works of visual art, or texts.

The share that SUISA receives for the private copying of musical works is then distributed to SUISA’s members by allocation to its various distribution categories. Direct distribution is not possible because no one can say in practice which works were copied, stored or downloaded at which frequency by consumers from the internet. Apart from the undesirable intervention in the consumer’s private sphere, the cost of collecting such data would be exorbitant. That is why SUISA allocates the proceeds from the blank media levy to various distribution categories for which detailed programming information is available.

In the past, these allocations relied on the reasoning about the sourcing of private copying. It was assumed, for example, that a portion of the private copying would be sourced from CDs: accordingly, a share of the blank media levy revenues was allocated to the CD production distribution categories. Another share was allocated to the distribution categories for radio and TV broadcasting revenues following the assumption that another portion of private copying would be sourced from such broadcasts.

What sources are used for private copying today?

Today, however, the lion’s share of private copying is sourced from the internet. So basically, one could apply the proceeds of the blank media levy entirely to the distribution categories for online uses? Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple.

On the one hand, SUISA does not manage all the rights for all the music used on the internet. On the internet, SUISA is in competition with foreign rights administration societies and cannot, therefore, offer the entire world repertoire of music online. Only a portion of the works used on the internet produces revenues that flow into the distribution categories for online uses. These are not the only works used for private copying; private copying also taps all the other works in the world repertoire. If the revenues from the blank media levy were all allocated to the online uses distribution categories, a major portion of the privately copied works would be disregarded.

What is more, blank media fees cannot be levied for works copied from a legal source against payment (prohibition of double payment under Article 19(3bis) FAC). This applies to music from download shops like iTunes or from streaming platforms like Spotify. SUISA distributes the revenues collected from these platforms to the corresponding online distribution categories based on the programme reports received from the platforms. Legal prescriptions provide that no blank media levies may be charged for these downloads or for offline storing of streaming services. Therefore, the works involved cannot rightfully be allocated any amounts from the blank media revenues.

Downloaded songs are often re-copied. What about them? – True. Contrary to the original downloading or offline storing of streaming services, these subsequent copies are subject to the blank media levy. But in practice nobody knows which works are involved or how often they are copied. So an indirect method for distributing the revenues from the flat rate blank media levy has to be found for these, and for all the other privately copied works.

How do the Distribution Rules account for the new circumstances?

Since the allocation of revenues based on the private copying sources would lead to the wrong results under present circumstances, we engaged Gfs Zurich, a market research company, to assist us in finding alternative methods for ensuring the most equitable distribution of blank media revenues. Gfs Zurich conducted a representative survey for this purpose. In the survey, consumers were asked where they had “encountered” the last work they had copied for private use – regardless of the source from which they had made the copy: at a concert, the cinema, on the radio, on television, a new CD/LP or a DVD? SUISA has sufficient information about the works used in those distribution channels to be able to use such data as the distribution basis for the blank media revenues.

Henceforth, therefore, the revenues from the blank media levies will be allocated to the distribution categories used to distribute the revenues from these other distribution channels. This is consistent with the principle set forth in point 5.3.2 of the Distribution Rules (DR), namely: “Remuneration where no programmes are provided shall be allocated to such distribution categories in which the same or at least a similar kind of music prevails”. In certain cases, no alternative distribution channel could be determined. The corresponding share of the blank media revenues is therefore assigned to the distribution categories for radio broadcasts; since these are the categories with the broadest repertoire, this system benefits the greatest number of rightholders.

Point 5.5.5 has thus been amended to read:

Point 5.5.5 CT 4 (blank media), 4i (built-in digital storage media) – Blank media levies
Distribution categories
Audio 33.0% 1A
28.0% 2A
(for domestic licensing) 11.5% 21A
(for central licensing) 11.5% 21Z
16.0% 4
Video 16.0% 1C
12.0% 22A
14.0% 2C
8.0% 9A
17.0% 1A
17.0% 2A
The remaining 16% shall be allocated in supplement to the TV remuneration for foreign broadcasters under Tariff CT 1.
In the case of mobile phones and tablets, CT 4i revenues shall be allocated 90% to audio and 10% to video. In respect of the other blank media regulated by CT 4 and CT 4i, the relevant distribution key shall be determined by the type of blank media.

The Intellectual Property Institute approved this amendment on 6 April 2021; we expect to receive approval from the Liechtenstein regulatory authorities in the next few weeks. The amendment is effective three months after it is approved and will therefore be implemented for the next distribution of blank media revenues in September 2021.

Who receives more and who less money from private copying?

The re-allocation of the blank media revenues will have a positive effect overall. At least three times more authors and publishers will receive more money than before. For most members, however, the increase will be only a small amount. Those who will see a decrease in their blank media revenues are likely to be affected more strongly.

Nevertheless, we are convinced that the revision was both necessary and equitable. The decreases are mostly due to the cancellation of allocations to the online distribution categories, and to reduced allocations to the 21Z distribution categories for central licensing of CD productions. We have explained above why allocations to the online distribution classes are no longer justified today.

The same applies to the 33.0% allocation to distribution category 21Z for central licensing which is no longer justified since: the decision dates back to the heyday of the record market when SUISA was collecting about CHF 25 million per year in revenues for CD productions. By 2019, the distributable amount from central licensing was no more than CHF one million, yet CHF 2.3 million in blank media revenues were allocated to distribution category 21Z. Rightholders who earned CHF 1 from the distribution of their works on CD were collecting CHF 2.17 from the blank media levy.

Following the virtual collapse of the record market, these allocations largely overstepped the original intent. As a result a small number of rightholders were being favoured at the expense of the majority. The adjustments now introduced are more equitable for everyone, and we trust that even those who henceforth receive less income from the blank media levy will appreciate this fact.

Further Information:
SUISA Distribution Rules

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Nowadays, the lion’s share of private copying is done from the internet rather than from CDs as in the heyday of the record market. SUISA’s Distribution Rules have now been amended to reflect present circumstances. The adjustments are designed to ensure a more equitable distribution of the remuneration from private copying. Text by Anke Link

How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies

Consumers increasingly source their music from the internet. The move to digital forms of music consumption has caused a shift in the sources of music tapped for private copying. As a result, changes also had to be made in the distribution of blank media revenues. (Photo: Carlos Castilla / Shutterstock.com)

The Federal Copyright Act allows Swiss consumers to make copies for their own use and that of a close circle of friends and relatives, regardless which source is...read more

Tariff negotiations 2016 – an overview

While companies in other sectors are at their busiest during the Christmas period, SUISA “sales” hit their peak time during spring – this is when tariff negotiations must be brought to a conclusion and the approval for the tariffs to be valid from 1st January of the following year must be obtained from the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. Text by Anke Link

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (see picture), www.tonhalle-orchester.ch, is a member of orchester.ch, an association of Swiss professional orchestras with which SUISA has successfully reached a new tariff for copyright licence fees for performances by concert consortiums. (Photo: Priska Ketterer / Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

SUISA and many of its negotiation partners have agreed upon adding a new clause to the tariffs in the last few years, allowing an automatic extension of the relevant tariff in cases where none of the parties desire a new round of negotiations. This has now shown its benefits: None of the relevant tariffs has been terminated so that it has not been necessary to hold negotiations for these tariffs.

This has opened up additional capacity for the negotiation of new tariffs that come to an end in 2016. At the same time, SUISA has also been able to participate intensively in the negotiation process for tariffs managed by its sister organisations Suissimage and ProLitteris.

As early as in autumn 2015, SUISA had agreed a new Tariff D with orchester.ch, the association of Swiss professional orchestras, which will come into force from 01 July 2016. The tariff has been edited in terms of the wording, but the remuneration and the tariff system remain unchanged. The same applies for Common Tariff HV (hotel TV) and Common Tariff 4 (blank media levy) where an approval of the associations for the new version of the tariffs from 01 January 2017 could be swiftly reached.

Agreement on a new concert tariff from 2017

The negotiation of the new Common Tariff K (CT K) for concerts, concert-like performances, shows, ballet and theatre required more time to settle. Negotiations for this tariff had already begun in December 2013. The preceding tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb had been extended twice, in order to provide enough time for the negotiation of the new tariff.

This turned out to be a good investment as the time was used so that SUISA and its negotiation partners could agree upon a new tariff CT K which will enter into force from 01 January 2017. The new CT K will apply to all concerts and performances which have previously been covered by CT Ka and CT Kb. Individual performance categories have been formulated more clearly in the new tariff.

The tariff structure has also been changed compared to the previous tariffs. A basic criterion – the fact that organisers pay a licence fee based on a percentage of their income – still remains the same. Depending on the type and size of the event, different percentages apply. The different percentage rates take it better into account that there may be additional artistic performances during concerts which influence the character of the performance.

If such additional performances take place they have a diminishing effect on the percentage. In return, the previous discounts were deleted. Only those organisers who are members of an association for organisers may be subject to rebates if the respective association collaborates with SUISA. Overall, the new CT K provides for a fair remuneration and also contributes to an increased legal certainty for all partners.

The importance of the legal certainty can be illustrated by the seemingly never-ending process which preceded the first legally binding and valid Common Tariff 4e (Levy for private copying via smartphones). Rights holders had to wait more than five years until the remuneration due to them could finally be collected. SUISA is trying, wherever possible, to avoid such situations.

Number of tariffs reduced

Negotiations for the new Common Tariff 4i (Levy for integrated digital storage media in devices) which is going to combine the previous common tariffs 4d (MP3 player and hard disc recorders), 4e (mobile phones) and 4f (tablets). Instead of three tariffs, there will only be one, the CT 4i. This is another step towards a reduction of the number of tariffs requested by the public and the politicians.

During the negotiations for the new CT 4i, SUISA and its negotiation partners agreed on a lowering of the tariff rates per GB for smart phones and tablets and a lowering of the tariff rates per GB for hard disc recorders with a storage space of more than 2 TB. That way, the established increased storage capacity of these devices in the market has been taken into consideration.

Unfortunately, SUISA could not reach an agreement for Common Tariff 3a (background music and making available of broadcasts). This tariff procedure is unfortunately in dispute and may – see above – drag on over a longer period of time.

SUISA cooperates with others for further tariff negotiations

Apart from these “main negotiations”, SUISA also supported its sister society ProLitteris with the negotiations on a new Common Tariff 7 (“School tariff”) and other new common tariffs 8  and 9 (levy on photocopying and remuneration for digital networks). All three tariff negotiations could be concluded with agreements whereby a slight increase could be reached for CT 8 and 9.

SUISA also supported the negotiations led by Suissimage for Common Tariff 1 (cable re-transmission) and Common Tariff 12 (virtual video recorders and catch-up TV). An increase could be reached with the negotiation partners for both tariffs.

The broadcasters, however, on the side of the rights holders, have not supported this agreement for the CT 12. They deem the option provided by catch-up TV to skip the ads to be a threat to their business models and therefore wish to directly represent their own interests in the impending tariff approval procedure with the Federal Arbitration Commission.

Even though it has not been possible to reach mutually agreed deals in all negotiations, SUISA and its sister societies did manage to reach agreements in the majority of cases and therefore continue to safeguard the interests of all of its members.

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While companies in other sectors are at their busiest during the Christmas period, SUISA “sales” hit their peak time during spring – this is when tariff negotiations must be brought to a conclusion and the approval for the tariffs to be valid from 1st January of the following year must be obtained from the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. Text by Anke Link

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (see picture), www.tonhalle-orchester.ch, is a member of orchester.ch, an association of Swiss professional orchestras with which SUISA has successfully reached a new tariff for copyright licence fees for performances by concert consortiums. (Photo: Priska Ketterer / Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich)

SUISA and many of its negotiation partners have agreed upon adding a new clause to the tariffs in the last few...read more

Stream ripping – tape recorders on the internet

Stream ripping software records audio and video streams. A copy of the entire stream can thus be saved as a file. Swiss copyright legislation provides for a private copy remuneration which is applicable to recording and storage media. Stream ripping apps are not covered by the statutory obligation to pay a levy – just like the tape recorders in the past. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Stream ripping works just like a tape recorder on the internet: Audio and video streams can be recorded in their entirety by means of an application. The statutory obligation to pay a levy exists pursuant to Swiss copyright law for the resulting reproduction on the storage medium, but not for the actual software. (Photo: Evgeniy Yatskov / Shutterstock.com)

The consumers are happy: Thanks to streaming, music collections, video shop stock, radio and TV transmissions are available – always and anywhere. All you need is an internet connection. Contents which are otherwise only available online are now also accessible offline due to stream ripping. Special software applications for this purpose make it possible to create complete copies of the streamed audio or video files on a storage medium. The saved file can then also be played back without an internet connection.

From a technical perspective, a permanent flow of data packets is being transmitted via an internet connection from a server to a receiving device. Receiving devices can be smartphones, tablets or computers, for example. The incoming data packets are played back via such devices by means of a stream player software as a continuous music piece or video. After playback, the data packets are deleted on the receiving device at once.

A stream ripping application thus allows a tape-recording of such audio and video streams, as it were. Such applications store the data packets from the streaming service permanently on the receiving device. Put together, the data packets stored in the memory of the target device result in a complete copy of the audio or video file retrieved from the streaming service.

Remuneration for private copies for authors

You could also refer to the stream ripping application as a recording software. The functionality corresponds to that of a tape recorder. Instead of an audio or video tape, the content is recorded onto a storage medium as a file. The final result is a copy of the played, transmitted, or streamed original.

The possibility to make tons of music copies on audio tapes led to private copying to be anchored into legislation nearly 25 years ago. Since then, it is permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make copies of protected works for the use in people’s private circles or home life. In return, rights holders have a statutory entitlement to receive a remuneration for such private copies.

Such a remuneration or levy must be paid by the manufacturers and importers of the recording and storage devices. The levies are collected by the Swiss collective management organisations (CMOs) and distributed to the rightsholders. The selection of blank media carriers subject to a levy has increased due to technological developments from audio and video tapes via CD/DVD blanks to digital memory in MP3 players, smartphones and tablets.

Blank media levies apply for recording and storage media

The statutory duty to pay a levy only applies to recording and storage media. In the analogue example, the recording medium would be the tape, not the tape recorder. In the digital equivalent, the blank media carrier is the storage item. The recording software is the recorder.

Since the law only covers blank data carriers, levies for private copying cannot be claimed and collected from the makers of stream ripping applications. For the same reason it is not possible to claim levies from the providers of such applications i.e. the operators of software or app stores. They do not qualify as importers of a recording or storage medium, but as software sellers.

The stream ripping software as a product meanwhile depends on the contents of third parties. That’s nothing new, as it was the same case with tape recorders back in the day. Whether someone records music from a vinyl on to a tape or an audio or video stream onto a digital storage medium: It always involves the creation of a copy. For such reproductions to be used for private purposes, the so-called blank media levy was introduced in Switzerland. On the basis of this levy, authors, publishers and producers of music and films get their due remuneration for the copies that are being made.

Stream ripping – an obsolescent model?

Users of stream ripping applications should be aware that they might infringe the usage conditions of streaming platforms. There are providers which permit only the streaming as per their terms and conditions, but no downloads or copying of the music tracks or videos. A potential consequence of a detected infringement could be that the personal user account is blocked or deleted.

The propagation of subscriptions for (mainly mobile) internet access without any limitations of the data volume could have an impact on the usage of stream ripping applications anyway. If the capacities are not limited, it is possible to constantly access streaming platforms. This could reduce the demand to copy audio and video streams and save them locally for offline use.

Legal streaming services pay licence fees for authors’ rights

On top of that, the legal offer of the streaming providers has become so comprehensive in the meantime that the consumer demand for niche repertoire can be satisfied much better. Furthermore, streaming services such as Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify or Google Play Music offer functions to listen to the music offline as an integrated part of their subscriptions. Stream ripping apps are therefore no longer necessary to locally store personal music preferences for offline usage.

Said legal streaming providers also conclude licensing agreements with the CMOs and pay licence fees for the copyright in question. Composers, lyricists and publishers of the used music thus participate in the collections from the streaming services.

After all, this is something any music or film lover should definitely know: If you buy a streaming app, you pay the software provider, not the creators and artists whose works you would like to listen to or watch.

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Stream ripping software records audio and video streams. A copy of the entire stream can thus be saved as a file. Swiss copyright legislation provides for a private copy remuneration which is applicable to recording and storage media. Stream ripping apps are not covered by the statutory obligation to pay a levy – just like the tape recorders in the past. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Stream ripping works just like a tape recorder on the internet: Audio and video streams can be recorded in their entirety by means of an application. The statutory obligation to pay a levy exists pursuant to Swiss copyright law for the resulting reproduction on the storage medium, but not for the actual software. (Photo: Evgeniy Yatskov / Shutterstock.com)

The consumers are happy: Thanks to streaming, music collections, video...read more

How SUISA distributes levies collected for private copying

In 2014, SUISA has collected approx. CHF 13m on the basis of the common tariffs from private copying levies, of which about CHF 6.5m can be apportioned to SUISA members. The distribution of such revenue is made on a lump-sum basis, as there is no programme material. Here is an overview how SUISA distributes the private copying levies. Text by Irène Philipp

How SUISA distributes levies collected for private copying

Mobile phones and tablets allow consumers to make copies of music for private purposes. Manufacturers and importers of such devices therefore pay a levy which SUISA distributes to composers, lyricists and publishers. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The levies for private copying are jointly collected by the five Swiss collective management organisations, ProLitteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform. The levies are paid by the manufacturers or importers of the recording and storage devices. These levies are set out in the common tariffs 4, 4d, 4e, and 4f.

Which tariffs are applicable?

Since 1994, there is a tariff for audio and video tapes which governs the levies for blank tapes. Following the technological developments, further levies were added during the subsequent years. In addition to the CT 4a for blank tapes, further tariffs for blank CDs and blank DVDs (CT 4b and CT 4c) as well as for digital data storage media in mp3 players, HD recorders etc. (CT 4d) were created. The generic term “blank media levy” was introduced.

The market relevance of tapes, CDs and DVDs has decreased in recent years. As a consequence, sub-tariffs CT 4a, 4b and 4c were combined. For said media, tariff CT 4 has been in force since 2014 (blank media levy). Tariff CT 4d (digital data storage media) has been kept. Other new tariffs are those for digital storage in mobile phones (CT 4e) and tablets (CT 4f).

The blank media tariffs are negotiated on a regular basis. During such negotiations, the level of levies are determined based on current data and prices. If new recording and storage media allowing the copying of music, videos etc. for private purposes, are launched, new tariffs are determined and negotiated.

Levies for private copying are based on the Swiss Copyright Act. Legal bases and references are shown in the box at the end of the article. According to the law, you may, as a consumer, copy anything for yourself, close friends and relatives, irrespective which source the original comes from. Manufacturers and importers of e.g. smartphones and tablets are charged with a levy for end consumers to have this freedom to make copies. You can store copies of music pieces on these devices. This makes the devices more attractive, which, in turn, makes manufacturers and importers whose turnover comes from the sale of such products benefit from that. However, it is important that those that provide the source material for the copying, also benefit from it: authors and artists of the music, film makers, writers etc.

How does SUISA distribute its collections?

SUISA basically applies two different distribution possibilities: On the one hand, there is the direct distribution, on the other, the lump-sum or blanket distribution, with the latter being possible to be executed with or without programme material.

In the case of the direct distribution, copyright remuneration can be directly distributed onto the available programme material (work lists). This is also possible for concerts, for example: If songs by five rightsholders are performed during a concert, the five rightsholders receive the collections that were made for this concert.

In the case of the lump-sum or blanket distribution with programme material, the remuneration for the rightsholders is calculated on the basis of a point value per minute. For SRG broadcasts, for example, SUISA obtains a lump-sum payment on the one hand and detailed broadcast reports on the other hand. Due to the broadcast reports we know how many minutes of music have been played in total, plus exactly how long each work has been played. Based on the relevant data, a point value per minute is determined and the remuneration is then allocated to the rightsholders of the played works.

A lump-sum or blanket distribution without programme material is applied in the case where collections were made based on tariffs where the details on the actually used works are not available, resp. where it is not possible to establish them. The distribution of such income is made on the basis of existing programme material from various sources. The exact allocation of the money is specified in the SUISA distribution rules in detail.

Private copying levy distribution

The SUISA share of private copying remuneration amounted to approx. CHF 6.5m in 2014. Said collections were distributed based on the principle of a lump-sum or blanket distribution without programme material. No work lists are available for private copying; apart from an undesirable intrusion into the consumers’ private spheres, the effort involved in such a survey would be prohibitive. Collections are therefore allocated to so-called distribution categories where programme material has been received.

More specifically, the monies are allocated to the following distribution categories:

  • 1A (SRG radio broadcasts, advertising excluded)
  • 2A (Private broadcasters’ radio transmissions, advertising excluded)
  • 1C (SRG TV broadcasts, advertising excluded)
  • 21A (Commercially released sound recordings, incl. online sales)
  • 22A (Commercially released audiovisual recordings, incl. online sales)

In the course of the negotiations for blank media tariffs, various studies and surveys were made to capture the private copying behaviour of users. Said information has had and still has an influence over the form of the tariff and also the rules of the distribution.

For tariffs CT 4e (storage in mobile phones) and CT 4f (storage in tablets), the remuneration is calculated independently of the storage capacity of the devices. With regards to the collections for these tariffs, a distinction between audio and video cannot be made as the memory contained in the devices can be used for the storage of audio as well as audiovisual works. In the case of tariffs CT 4 and CT 4d such a distinction is, however, possible.

Before the income from the new tariffs for mobile phones and tablets can be distributed, it is necessary to amend the SUISA distribution rules accordingly. The change to the regulations has been approved by the SUISA Board and is currently being authorised by the supervisory institution, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. For the time being, one can only wait for its decision.

Private copying levies: Basic principles

The Swiss Copyright Act (URG) permits the copying of works protected by copyright for use in private circles. According to the law (Art. 19 para. 1 a URG), private means that copies are made by individuals for the use “within someone’s personal sphere and within a circle of persons closely connected to each other, such as relatives or friends”.

Those who wish to make copies of bought CDs or from music files off an internet download shop, for example, can do so in private without any restrictions. The law does, however, stipulate a levy for the recording and storage media (CDs, DVDs, mp3 players, mobile phones, tablets) which is due to the rightsholders of the copied works.

The levies are paid by the manufacturers and importers of the recording and storage devices. It is at the manufacturers’ and importers’ discretion to include the levy, as well as any other costs arising when manufacturing the devices, into the sales price. VAT and exchange range fluctuation, for example, are, however, examples for factors that impact on the calculation of the sales price for the devices much more than the actual private copying levies.

The duty to pay a levy arises for importers when they import the devices into Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, and for manufacturers when they make the relevant shipments from their factories or their warehouses.

Manufacturers are deemed to be parties who produce blank media in Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein and offer them in their commercially available format to traders or directly to consumers. Importers are deemed to be parties who import blank media carriers from abroad into Switzerland or into the Principality of Liechtenstein, irrespective whether they use them themselves, or whether they offer them to traders or directly to consumers. Importers are also deemed to be suppliers that are resident abroad, and that offer blank media via mail order in Switzerland or in the Principality of Liechtenstein and thus put consumers in a position as if they were acquiring the blank media from a domestic supplier.

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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.

In 2014, SUISA has collected approx. CHF 13m on the basis of the common tariffs from private copying levies, of which about CHF 6.5m can be apportioned to SUISA members. The distribution of such revenue is made on a lump-sum basis, as there is no programme material. Here is an overview how SUISA distributes the private copying levies. Text by Irène Philipp

How SUISA distributes levies collected for private copying

Mobile phones and tablets allow consumers to make copies of music for private purposes. Manufacturers and importers of such devices therefore pay a levy which SUISA distributes to composers, lyricists and publishers. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The levies for private copying are jointly collected by the five Swiss collective management organisations, ProLitteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform. The levies are paid by the manufacturers or importers of the recording and storage devices....read more

Fair play on smartphones for authors at last

Copying music, videos and e-books on a smartphone for their personal entertainment – A freedom consumers have enjoyed for a long time. Authors have not enjoyed fair play on smart phones until now: Thanks to tariff CT 4e which has now finally come into force, rightsholders receive a remuneration from the device manufacturers and importers. Vincent Salvadé, deputy CEO of SUISA, answers questions on the new tariff for smartphones.

Smartphones as mobile jukeboxes: The devices enable consumers to copy protected works for private purposes. Authors of these works now receive a payment based on the blank media levy. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Vincent Salvadé, a levy now has to be paid for smartphones. Who is paying it? Will smartphones become more expensive now?
The levies are paid by the manufacturers or importers of the smartphones. Of course it is up to them whether they shift the levy onto the retail price. Let’s take a look on the price ratio: For devices with 64GB storage, the listed price is around CHF 900. The authors’ remuneration for this storage size amounts to CHF 3.84. This is less than 0.5% of the listed price. VAT and exchange range fluctuations, are, however, examples for factors that impact on the calculation of the sales price for the devices much more than the actual blank media levies. Experience has shown that a remuneration for authors has no significant impact on the end consumer price.

Why does SUISA ask for money at all whenever smartphones are being sold?
Smartphones can also be used to make copies of music, videos etc. for private purposes. In Switzerland, making private copies of works protected by copyright is permitted. In return, the law provides for a remuneration to be paid for the recording media. There are some who are already criticising this system. Swiss consumers, however, benefit from the following advantage: They have the freedom to make copies of copyright protected works for private purposes. The remuneration for the authors is paid by the industry, i.e. the manufacturers and importers of the recording media.

Also worth mentioning: Smartphone levies are charged by all five Swiss collective management organisations. SUISA takes over the administration of the tariff for the repertoires of the other societies.

Who determines the price of the levy and how much is it for smartphones actually?
Collective management organisations such as SUISA have a statutory obligation to negotiate licence fees with the relevant industry and consumer associations. The tariffs must subsequently be approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission for the Administration of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights. If the tariff negotiations between the user associations and collective management organisations ended with an agreement, the Federal Arbitration Commission usually approves the negotiated tariff. If there is no agreement, however, the Federal Arbitration Commission decides on a tariff and uses criteria within legislation and jurisdiction as a basis. It is possible to appeal against the decisions taken by the Commission with the Federal Administrative Court and if necessary, the Federal Supreme Court after that.

The remuneration in the tariff as it has now been approved for the period 2015 to 2016 depends on the storage capacity of the device per gigabyte as shown in the table below.

Copyright Neighbouring rights Total
Up to and including 4 GB CHF 0.091 CHF 0.029 CHF 0.12
Up to and including 8 GB CHF 0.076 CHF 0.024 CHF 0.10
Up to and including 16 GB CHF 0.061 CHF 0.019 CHF 0.08
Up to and including 32 GB CHF 0.053 CHF 0.017 CHF 0.07
Up to and including 64 GB CHF 0.046 CHF 0.014 CHF 0.06

If the storage capacity is more than 64 GB, the same remuneration applies as for devices up to and including 64 GB but at a maximum of 2% of the listed price.

Who gets the money collected by SUISA?
SUISA transfers a part of the collections to the other collective management organisations participating in the tariff. These include Suissimage and the Société suisse des auteurs for audiovisual works, ProLitteris for literary works and photographs, as well as Swissperform for neighbouring rights, which are due to the artists, producers of recordings and producers of radio and TV broadcasts. The collective management organisations have the duty to remunerate the rightsholders they represent. The payout to the rightsholders is made pursuant to distribution rules which have to be approved by the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. The remaining part of the collections is distributed by SUISA to the rightsholders of musical works. In the case of SUISA, the money is therefore paid to composers, music lyricists, arrangers and their legal successors, or publishers.

Smartphones have been around for a while. Why is it that SUISA has not charged levies for them earlier?
The negotiation on the levies for smartphones have actually already begun in 2008. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to reach an agreement during the talks. In 2010, the Federal Arbitration Commission has approved a tariff for the first time. The Federal Administrative Court has, however, declared the approval to be void due to a procedural error. At the end of 2011, the Federal Arbitration Commission has also approved two new tariffs: one tariff for the period 2010 to 2011, another for the period 2012 to 2013. These new tariffs have also been appealed before the Federal Administrative Court which had been pending until the beginning of this year.

In the summer of 2014, we finally managed to reach an agreement with the negotiation partners. This concord has finally resolved this tricky situation and has subsequently been approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission on 25 November 2014. Now that the deadline for appeals has lapsed, the approval is legally binding.

The time-consuming process surrounding tariff CT 4e is a good example to demonstrate what type of challenges we have to deal with: The approval process for a tariff is taking much too long and should be improved. It has been a while since collective management organisations have asked for this to happen …

What will be the next thing for which SUISA is going to raise a blank media levy?
In the interest of its members, collective management organisations such as SUISA have the duty to keep up with technical developments and to ensure that authors get paid for the new exploitation forms. Private copying has been on the decline since the streaming technologies have emerged during the last few years. And if a copy is being made today, then it is usually made in the “cloud”, in other words, on a central server, which the user accesses via an internet connection. We are currently analysing this development in order to verify whether there is a potential obligation to pay a remuneration for this type of usage form.

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  1. Schenk Christian says:

    Ma question est de savoir si vous trouvez normal qu’en Suisse, nous pouvons regarder Swisscom tv en live mais qu’à l’étranger, notamment en Europe, Swisscom bloque en laissant un message que c’est à cause des droits d’auteur. Le fait est que nous payons très cher un abonné, très cher SERAFE et que les droits d’auteur sont payés à l’achat d’un Smartphone ou tablette. N’y a t’il pas là, un abus insultant face aux consommateurs Swisscom?

    • Cher Monsieur Schenk,

      Nous vous remercions de votre demande.

      Le «géoblocage» des contenus par les diffuseurs et les plateformes de vidéo à la demande est une norme internationale.

      Dans la mesure où les licences des ayants droit (scénaristes, producteurs de films, auteurs de musique, etc.) sont achetées pays par pays, les contenus audiovisuels ne peuvent être proposés que dans les pays où une licence a été accordée. Si une plate-forme de vidéo à la demande ou un organisme de diffusion n’a pas acheté de licences pour les contenus proposés sur la plate-forme dans certains pays, ils doivent les «géobloquer» afin de ne pas commettre de violation du droit.

      Pour toute autre question concernant lʼoffre de «Swisscom TV / Blue TV», nous vous invitons à vous adresser directement à Swisscom.

      Avec nos meilleures salutations
      Michael Wohlgemuth, SUISA Service juridique

  2. Christian S. says:

    Wahnsinnig? d.h. ich zahle fürs Lied auf CD, dann lad ich es auf’s Handy, zahl ich nochmal, dann spiel ich es im öffentlichen Raum, zahlen bitte! Dann hab ich noch einen MP3 player und bezahle nochmal? Aber moment – ich streame ja nur Musik auf mein Handy über einen bekannten Dienst, den ich monatlich bezahle – wieso bezahl ich da auch nochmal? Wahnsinnig?

    Zudem ist eure Frage zu “Wer erhält das Geld” nicht beantwortet! Ich sehe da nur, wer wieder mal profitiert! Nicht meine lokale Punkband des Vertrauens…

    • Guten Tag Herr S.

      Wenn Sie eine CD erwerben oder einen Song aus einem Online-Store herunterladen, dann gehört diese CD oder Datei Ihnen. Die Musik gehört aber nach wie vor den Erfindern, also den Komponisten und Textern. Wenn Sie die gleiche Musik nun aber auch auf Ihrem MP3-Player oder Smartphone hören wollen, dann dürfen Sie die CD und Songs selbst kopieren. Die Urheber haben aber für diese Privatkopie laut Urheberrechtsgesetz eine Vergütung zugut, denn Sie als Konsument ersparen sich den nochmaligen Kauf einer weiteren CD oder einer weiteren Datei. Klar: Für die Fälle, in denen Musik gestreamt und nicht aufs Handy kopiert wird, braucht es entsprechend keine Vergütung. Dass teilweise Konsumenten Musik nur streamen und nicht auf Handys kopieren, wurde bei der Berechnung der Vergütung berücksichtigt.

      Die Verwertungsgesellschaften stellen diese Vergütung allerdings nicht Ihnen, dem Konsumenten, in Rechnung, sondern den Herstellern resp. Importeuren dieser Geräte. Diese Unternehmen machen Geld damit, dass Konsumenten für Speicherplatz bezahlen, um urheberrechtlich geschützte Werke (Musik, Filme etc.) darauf zu kopieren. Natürlich können Hersteller/Importeure diese Vergütung in den Verkaufspreis hineinzukalkulieren – genauso wie andere Kosten für Herstellung, Entwicklung, Lohn etc. oder die Gewinnmarge. Wie im Blogbeitrag geschrieben haben diese Vergütungen erfahrungsgemäss keinen wesentlichen Einfluss auf die Endpreise der Geräte. Bei einem Smartphone mit 64GB Speicher macht diese Vergütung 3.84 CHF aus – dies sind bei einem Verkaufspreis von rund 850 CHF weniger als ein halbes Prozent.

      Es wäre natürlich schön, wenn man das Geld direkt denjenigen verteilen könnte, deren Musik letztlich auf die Geräte kopiert wird. Hierfür müsste man aber von jedem Konsumenten wissen, welche Songs er auf seinen Geräten hat. Diesen Eingriff in die Privatsphäre will niemand. Zudem wäre dies administrativ zu aufwändig und zu teuer, womit weniger Geld für die Künstler übrig bliebe. Aus diesem Grund wird das Geld nach einem festgelegten Schlüssel verteilt: Massgeblich ist, welche Werke auf Tonträger genutzt und im Radio gespielt werden. Davon profitiert vielleicht nicht Ihre lokale Punkband des Vertrauens oder die regional bekannte Metalband meiner Kollegen. Aber es gewährleistet immerhin, dass auf jene Werke, die aufgrund ihres Erfolgs mehr auf Leerträger kopiert werden, ein entsprechend grösserer Teil abgerechnet wird als auf erfolglose Titel.

      Beste Grüsse

      Giorgio Tebaldi / Kommunikation SUISA

      • Klar nicht erfassbar ist, welche Songs der Konsument auf seinen Geräten hat. Hingegen ist es im Zeitalter der elektronischen Downloads und des Streamens leicht erfassbar, wer welche Songs wieviele male und wie lange ab seinen Servern gestreamt und wie oft zum Download angeboten hat. Auf den Servern der Provider entstehen immer Eventlists, die mit einem einfachen Befehlsscript an die SUISA übertragen werden könnten. Die SUISA wertet die Daten aus und schreibt die Vergütung den Berechtigten Urhebern und Verlägen, Song für Song (d.h. präzise) gut….mehr oder weniger “Erfolg” ist dann nicht mehr das Vergütungskriterium, sondern jeder einzelne gestreamte oder heuntegeladene Song zählt…alle anderen Lösungen sind gelinde gesagt strafrechtlich relevante d.h. strafbare urheberrechtswidrige Vorgänge.

        • Manu Leuenberger says:

          Guten Tag

          Danke für den Kommentar. Der Vergütungsanspruch bei Smartphones wird erhoben für die Privatkopien, die auf den Geräten möglich sind. Damit ist die Vervielfältigung von Musik, Videos, Büchern etc. zu privaten Zwecken gemeint; also z.B. wenn der Nutzer einer Audio-CD auf sein Smartphone kopiert, um die Musik auch unterwegs zu hören. Private Kopien dieser Art können und sollen nicht erfasst werden: Der Kontrollaufwand ist nicht vertretbar, ebenso ist der Eingriff in die Privatsphäre unerwünscht.

          Das Downloaden und Streamen von legalen Quellen ist nicht Teil dieses Vergütungsanspruchs. Mit den lizenzierten Anbietern von Download-/Streaming-Services werden die Vergütungen aufgrund von Nutzungsmeldungen abgerechnet, auf denen die Anbieter die Views, Klicks oder Streams pro Song/Werk ausweisen müssen. Hier verteilen wir nach dem von ihnen beschriebenen Vorgehen mit den Eventlists, wir nennen sie Programme.

          Die Frage ist aber wie verteilt man die Einnahmen aus diesem Vergütungsanspruch, wenn wir bei privaten Kopien aus den erwähnten Gründen nicht registrieren können, welche Titel genutzt werden? Entgegen Ihrer Aussage gibt es hier keine urheberrechtswidrigen Vorgänge. Das Gesetz sieht für solche Fälle eine Regel vor: Wenn der Aufwand für die Verteilung unzumutbar hoch ist, darf aufgrund von statistisch sachgerechten Annäherungswerten verteilt werden (Art. 49 URG). Genau das passiert bei der Leerträgervergütung: Wir verteilen diese Einnahmen anhand der Verteildaten, die wir mit Programmen (Eventlists) in anderen Nutzungsbereichen erhalten. Aus repräsentativen Umfragen haben wir ermittelt, welche Werke für das private Kopieren genutzt werden. Es sind hauptsächlich Kopien von Sendungen oder von Tonträgern. Die Programme der Sender und die Produktionsmeldungen von Tonträgern werden also auch zur Verteilung der Leerträgervergütung beigezogen. Wenn eine lokale Band also eine Sendung in einem Radioprogramm hatte oder auf CD produziert wurde, bekommt sogar diese einen Anteil an der Leerträgervergütung.

          Freundliche Grüsse
          Manu Leuenberger / Kommunikation SUISA

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Copying music, videos and e-books on a smartphone for their personal entertainment – A freedom consumers have enjoyed for a long time. Authors have not enjoyed fair play on smart phones until now: Thanks to tariff CT 4e which has now finally come into force, rightsholders receive a remuneration from the device manufacturers and importers. Vincent Salvadé, deputy CEO of SUISA, answers questions on the new tariff for smartphones.

Smartphones as mobile jukeboxes: The devices enable consumers to copy protected works for private purposes. Authors of these works now receive a payment based on the blank media levy. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

Vincent Salvadé, a levy now has to be paid for smartphones. Who is paying it? Will smartphones become more expensive now?
The levies are paid by the manufacturers or importers of the smartphones....read more

Open letter to the National Council! Swiss artists for a blank media levy – video

About 3,200 Swiss artists are supporting the preservation of blank media levies via an open letter to the National Council. On behalf of the co-signatories from all artistic backgrounds and parts of the country, some artists say in a video why the blank media levy is important for consumers and Swiss creatives alike. The signatures include important names such as Tina Turner, Xavier Koller, Milena Moser, Anatole Taubmann and Bastian Baker.

The blank media levy is a freedom-based system and has been working well since 1992. Thanks to the levy it is possible to make private copies of CDs, MP3 files, films, books or photos. Authors and rights holders get paid on the basis of the blank media levy for the copies made.

90% of the collections made on the basis of the blank media levy are paid to rights holders. In other words, about 9 of 10 collected Swiss Francs are paid to artists. These collections are an important part of the income for domestic creatives. Furthermore, a part of the money (about CHF 1.3m each year) is used to support social funds for artists and to promote Swiss culture.

In the digital age, both artists and consumers benefit from the blank media levy. It is the technology companies that need to pay the remuneration. In other words: the manufacturers who make their money by selling devices or storage media which enable consumers to save and play copyright protected works.

“The basic principle that musicians also get paid whenever someone else earns money with our music must not be challenged”, says Christoph Trummer in the video. His beliefs do not just extend to music but include all types of creative performance. The principle applies for books, films, video, acting, dance, painting, photography, cabaret, theatre, opera and the entire diversity of Swiss art which is being created by the 3,200 signatories of the open letter.

Additional information:
Questions and answers on private copying / blank media levy can be found on the joint website of the Swiss collective management organisations

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  1. Wenn es Menschen gibt, die ohne Kunst, leben können, na gut, aber ich denke die Mehrheit kann es erwiesener Massen nicht! Unsere Gesellschaft war und ist seit jeher auf die Kunst angewiesen um sich ihr Seelenwohl zu bewahren. Deshalb muss den KünstlerInnen ein kreativer Freiraum garantiert sein, indem sie angemessen leben können. Die Leerträgervergütung hilft ganz entscheidend mit, uns die vielleicht wichtigste und völkerverbindendste Errungenschaft der Menschheit zu erhalten!

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.

About 3,200 Swiss artists are supporting the preservation of blank media levies via an open letter to the National Council. On behalf of the co-signatories from all artistic backgrounds and parts of the country, some artists say in a video why the blank media levy is important for consumers and Swiss creatives alike. The signatures include important names such as Tina Turner, Xavier Koller, Milena Moser, Anatole Taubmann and Bastian Baker.

The blank media levy is a freedom-based system and has been working well since 1992. Thanks to the levy it is possible to make private copies of CDs, MP3 files, films, books or photos. Authors and rights holders get paid on the basis of the blank media levy for the copies made.

90% of the collections made on the basis of the...read more