Tag Archives: Collective management organisation

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Text by Michelle Moser

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Saving for retirement: Swiss compensation offices do not agree on whether or not royalties are subject to social security contributions. (Photo: Nattapol Sritongcom / Shutterstock.com)

Musicians often earn their living from several different sources: fees from concerts, a teacher’s salary from the music school, fees for commissioned works, or remuneration collected by SUISA on their behalf.

The different cantonal compensation offices have no uniform position on whether the remuneration distributed by SUISA qualifies as income from gainful self-employment – which would be subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

AHV/AVS – mandatory insurance for all

All Swiss residents and persons gainfully employed in Switzerland are subject to mandatory retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance. And all those insured (except children) are accordingly required to pay social security (AHV/AVS) contributions. The contributions are normally assessed on the income earned from gainful employment.

For persons who are gainfully self-employed, contributions are assessed on the income earned from one’s own entrepreneurial, commercial, or business activities.

In principle, the following guidelines apply: AHV/AVS contributions must be paid on the earnings declared in one’s tax return. This is not the case for income from capital investments or real property, for example, which is taxable income but is not subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

Royalties: income from employment or from capital investment?

For SVA Zurich, the social security institution, royalties basically qualify as income from self-employment and should be declared accordingly. As a result, authors must register as self-employeds.

SVA Zurich does, however, make a distinction between authors who actively exploit their works and authors who do not. Authors who actively exploit their works after creating them (e.g. as a member of a band playing its own compositions) qualify as gainfully employed. This includes collective administration by SUISA. The earnings from such gainful employment are subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

The subsequent royalties received by authors who do not actively exploit their works after creating them, on the other hand, qualify as income from capital investments, and are not subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

In summary, for SVA Zurich what is decisive is whether an author participates in the performance of the works or merely “reaps” the proceeds from his earlier compositions.

Different practice from one canton to the other

Whether AHV/AVS contributions are payable on remuneration distributed by the collecting societies is decided differently by the compensation offices depending on who is asking, and the amount involved.

Unlike SVA Zurich, the compensation office of the canton of Vaud, for example, holds that remuneration for the creation of works is by definition subject to AHV/AVS contributions, while the remuneration from subsequent uses distributed by the collecting societies qualifies as capital gains and is not subject to social security contributions. It follows, therefore, that none of the remuneration distributed by the collecting societies is subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

In the final analysis, the decision on these social insurance issues does not lie with the collecting societies but with the compensation offices. For this reason, the Swiss collecting societies advise their members to contact the competent compensation office to establish what exactly their AHV/AVS contribution obligations are.

The different practices of cantonal compensation offices with regard to social security contributory obligations on royalties offers no legal certainty and is unsatisfactory. The Swiss collecting societies will follow this issue closely and keep their members informed of any changes.

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Why SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORMWhy SUISA members should also consider joining SWISSPERFORM Composers and lyricists who are SUISA members and are also active as artists and/or producers and whose performances are broadcast by Swiss or foreign radio and TV channels are entitled to receive a remuneration from SWISSPERFORM. For all those authors-composers-artists/producers, a membership with SWISSPERFORM is thus a necessary addition to their SUISA affiliation in order to safeguard their rights and the full remuneration they are entitled to. Read more
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  1. Ich bin erstaunt bezüglich unterschiedlicher Handhabung von Ausgleichskassen von Urheberrechten/-entschädigungen. Jede AHV-Ausgleichskasse hat die gesetzlichen Grundlagen anzuwenden und wenn etwas unklar ist, ist dies durch das BSV klarzustellen. Der unterschiedlichen Handhabung wären u.a. auch Autoren (mit oder ohne Vorlesung) ausgesetzt. Dies meine Ansicht als Eidg. Dipl. Sozialversicherungsexperte.

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Do royalties qualify as earnings from self-employment? Swiss AHV/AVS compensation offices follow different practices. Text by Michelle Moser

Are royalties subject to social security (AHV/AVS) contributions?

Saving for retirement: Swiss compensation offices do not agree on whether or not royalties are subject to social security contributions. (Photo: Nattapol Sritongcom / Shutterstock.com)

Musicians often earn their living from several different sources: fees from concerts, a teacher’s salary from the music school, fees for commissioned works, or remuneration collected by SUISA on their behalf.

The different cantonal compensation offices have no uniform position on whether the remuneration distributed by SUISA qualifies as income from gainful self-employment – which would be subject to AHV/AVS contributions.

AHV/AVS – mandatory insurance for all

All Swiss residents and persons gainfully employed in Switzerland are subject to mandatory retirement, disability, and survivors’ insurance. And all those insured (except children) are accordingly...read more

Negotiating in the age of corona … and with corona

Negotiating is one of SUISA’s key functions. SUISA negotiates tariffs and contracts inter alia. It must safeguard the interests of its members, ensure their legitimate demands are understood and accepted, and obtain the best possible terms for musical creation. It does this through discussion and compromise: in a nutshell, through human relations. But last spring, a new player invited itself to the negotiating table: Covid-19. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Negotiating in the age of corona … and with corona

The tariffs that are being negotiated now, during the corona crisis, are intended to apply in better times when music will hopefully be played again. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The dynamics have changed. Talks are now held mostly by videoconference. In other words, human relations take place through an interposed screen. This makes it more difficult to observe non-verbal reactions to a proposal, or simply to understand one’s counterparts. We must adapt … and regret the days when a handshake symbolised agreement.

Moreover, the crisis tends to freeze negotiating positions. On the one hand, the economy is in trouble: large events are banned, and the country goes from lockdown, to unlockdown, to re-lockdown. On the other, artists’ and creators’ revenues are in free fall. Under the circumstances, it is more difficult to make concessions and reach a compromise. Everyone is determined to protect what little they have left.

So what strategy should SUISA now adopt?

Firstly, certain sectors are clearly less impacted by the crisis than others. Online usages, for example, are not lagging: people are too scared – or are not allowed – to go to the cinema, so they watch a film on VoD. Music streaming is also doing well. These are therefore the areas SUISA should focus on to negotiate the best terms for its members. Who, for their part, are having a truly hard time.

“It is our duty today to prepare for the future and to support the equitable implementation of legal principles in favour of our members.”

We must, however, avoid one pitfall. In many areas, the fall in users’ revenues automatically has negative consequences for authors: after all, authors’ royalties are calculated as a percentage of users’ revenues. Users should not take advantage of the crisis to obtain better terms from SUISA. Otherwise authors will lose twice. We have had to remind our partners of this.

But the hard truth is that the live entertainment sector is in agony. Last spring, we interrupted certain negotiations hoping to start them again when the sun came back. After a short reprieve, the clouds are now building up again … and the tariff process takes time. Now, at the end of 2020, we are negotiating tariffs which will only come into force in 2022 when (as we dare hope) the crisis will be well behind us. It is our duty today to prepare for the future and to support the equitable implementation of legal principles in favour of our members. That is certainly not easy when our partners are losing money. But it is our responsibility for a better future.

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Negotiating is one of SUISA’s key functions. SUISA negotiates tariffs and contracts inter alia. It must safeguard the interests of its members, ensure their legitimate demands are understood and accepted, and obtain the best possible terms for musical creation. It does this through discussion and compromise: in a nutshell, through human relations. But last spring, a new player invited itself to the negotiating table: Covid-19. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Negotiating in the age of corona … and with corona

The tariffs that are being negotiated now, during the corona crisis, are intended to apply in better times when music will hopefully be played again. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The dynamics have changed. Talks are now held mostly by videoconference. In other words, human relations take place through an interposed screen. This makes it more difficult to observe non-verbal reactions to...read more

Income and expenditure, investments and an anniversary

A wide-ranging list of topics was on the agenda for discussion at the meetings of the SUISA Board on 28 and 29 September 2020. For the first time after the disruption caused by corona, a part of the meeting participants met in Lausanne while respecting the protective measures in person, while some members of the Board of Directors joined via videoconferencing from their home office. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Income and expenditure, investments and an anniversary

Snapshot of the Label Suisse Festival 2020 in Lausanne (to be seen in the picture: Corin Curschellas and Ursina Giger from the trio La Triada). The rights management monopoly of SUISA has a central significance for the cultural development and promotion of music in its entire diversity in Switzerland; that is the persuasion of the SUISA Board of Directors. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli & Dirk Hoogendoorn)

The Board of Directors took note of the fact that the situation regarding the collections in the crisis year have, so far, remained stable compared to the assumptions made in April. Expectations made in the corona budget that had been created in the spring during lockdown were even slightly exceeded on the collections side. Nevertheless, it is very likely that SUISA will close its 2020 financial year with a decrease in income of about 25% compared to the previous year. The expenditure so far is also within the economy budget, and at 12.7% less expenses even better than anticipated.

Christoph Trummer, Head of Political Projects at the Professional Association of Freelance Musicians, Sonoart, informed the Board members about the current state of affairs and the future development of the support measures for music creators. It shows that the cultural associations managed during the covid-19 crisis to take a joint and persistent stance vis-à-vis Parliament, but also offices and authorities, to speak with one voice and to obtain the support for creators and artists that is so urgently needed.

Expenses per tariff from collections to distribution

A rather pleasant result of the cost unit calculation was presented. Said calculation shows how high the expenditure per tariff is from collection to distribution. As a matter of fact, expenses are not the same for all tariffs, depending whether we must issue invoices to many individual customers or just a few, and whether the market survey and coverage is costly.

The costs for the collections and the distribution of copyright remuneration for concerts are, for example, lower than for events held by clubs or associations. In the former case, we often deal with professional event organisers and promoters who usually are aware of their duties when it comes to authors. In the case of events held by associations, sports clubs or office parties the people in charge organising these events often have to be made aware of their obligations.

Cost shares overall did, however, fall per tariff in the survey year 2019. This is because higher secondary income from securities income could be used to cover a large part of the costs. The SUISA Executive Committee is going to continue to explore all possibilities to process collections and distributions in a more cost-effective way. An important element for this shall be the continued automation of the licensing process: Event organisers and promoters shall be able to send online notifications for their events, in an uncomplicated manner. If they do not do so, the system is set to find events on the basis of key word searches and initiate the collection process.

Financial affairs

For the subsidiary Mint Digital Services, the SUISA Board of Directors approved the hypothecation of a securities depot as a guarantee, instead of the guarantee of surety planned for the summer for the licensing of large publishing catalogues.

The Board of Directors is, pursuant to the Articles of Association, responsible for the financial matters of SUISA. In general, the monies are supposed to be invested for the period which lies between the time of receipt of payment from the licensees until the distribution work has been finished and the payments have been made to rights owners. The investments are made on the basis of regulations. Due to the initiative of a member of the Board of Directors, this set of regulations including “security” and “reasonable return of investment” was extended by the criterion “sustainability”.

Past and future

SUISA turns 100 in 2023. The first preliminary preparations and planning work for the anniversary were launched. Inspired by a suggestion of the SUISA Communications Department, deliberations were made how the round birthday of the cooperative could be celebrated adequately. Possible jubilee projects are set to be worked on further.

Furthermore, the Board took note of a legal expert opinion on SUISA’s monopoly position and its future on a licensing market for copyright which has begun to open up. The rights management monopoly has already disappeared in the online rights sector. Latest developments show that SUISA is also facing increased competition in other rights management areas such as by foreign agencies which directly license concerts that take place in Switzerland. In the meantime, SUISA remains, due to the statutory provisions, obliged to a large degree to manage the rights belonging to its field of activity as comprehensively as possible, the expert opinion states.

The Board of Directors holds the view that the rights management monopoly of SUISA needs to be strengthened because it has a central significance for the cultural development, the promotion of music in its entire diversity in Switzerland for authors, music promoters and for consumers. The Executive Committee was tasked to take the necessary measures to inform the authorities and the public.

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A wide-ranging list of topics was on the agenda for discussion at the meetings of the SUISA Board on 28 and 29 September 2020. For the first time after the disruption caused by corona, a part of the meeting participants met in Lausanne while respecting the protective measures in person, while some members of the Board of Directors joined via videoconferencing from their home office. Report from the Board of Directors by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Income and expenditure, investments and an anniversary

Snapshot of the Label Suisse Festival 2020 in Lausanne (to be seen in the picture: Corin Curschellas and Ursina Giger from the trio La Triada). The rights management monopoly of SUISA has a central significance for the cultural development and promotion of music in its entire diversity in Switzerland; that is the persuasion of the SUISA Board of...read more

Support for SUISA members during the corona crisis

Following the federal COVID-19 ordinances, music usage plummeted depriving authors and publishers of a significant portion of their royalty revenues. SUISA offers its members financial support to bridge the loss in earnings. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Support for SUISA members during the corona crisis

No concerts means no revenues from performing rights. Instead, Kety Fusco played live music from her home for the SUISAblog “Music for Tomorrow” series and for SUISA Music Stories on social media. (Photo: screen shot video Kety Fusco)

Cancelled concerts, closed shops and cinema theatres, reduced advertising on radio and TV – the consequences of the federal measures against the spread of the coronavirus have a direct impact on rights management revenues: if there is no music usage, there is no royalty income.

SUISA offers its members financial support to bridge the loss in earnings:

Advances

First and foremost, SUISA has the option, as it has always had, to grant advances to its members. Both authors and publishers can qualify for an advance. The amount of the advance is based on the member’s average revenues in the preceding years. Advances can only be granted to members who have earned more than CHF 500 on average in royalties in recent years. Members may apply for an advance by email. Applications are processed within seven days. The decision is communicated in writing by email. If the applicant satisfies the qualification criteria, the advance will be paid immediately by bank transfer.

Under normal circumstances, advances are offset against the member’s next settlement. This means that the amount advanced is deducted from the distributable amount. As an immediate measure in the exceptional context of the corona pandemic, SUISA’s Board has decided that advances would not be offset before June 2022 at the earliest. The Board and the Executive Committee are keeping a close eye on the crisis situation and, depending on economic developments, may decide to further postpone the offsetting of such advances. In any event, repayment of these advances will not be due before June 2022 at the earliest.

Support payments for members

If an advance is insufficient to alleviate the existential financial hardship suffered by a member as a result of the loss in royalty revenues, the member may apply to SUISA for support payments. SUISA’s Pension Fund makes funds available to authors in the event of an emergency. As a further immediate measure, the Executive Committee has decided to create an additional emergency relief fund from which support payments can be made to authors and publishers alike. The emergency relief fund still has to be ratified by the General Meeting by postal voting. (Addendum added on 27.08.2020: The General Meeting approved the relief fund by a large majority. For more information, see article: “SUISA General Meeting: Emergency fund for authors and publishers approved”.)

In the framework of its rights administration responsibilities, SUISA provides support to members who suffer a loss in their royalty revenues. However, only limited funds are available for support payments. SUISA members who are not already receiving hardship relief from the emergency fund of Suisseculture Sociale or under other cantonal measures may apply for support payments from SUISA.

Applicants must prove their financial hardship. Applications for support payments can be submitted via the members’ portal “My account”. Application documentation will be processed within seven days. Decisions are communicated in writing by email. Payment is made by bank transfer as soon as an application is approved. Support payments do not have to be repaid.

Federal support measures and other aid

The financial support provided by SUISA is designed to help bridge a shortfall in royalty income. SUISA’s support is supplemental – not in lieu of or as an alternative to federal support measures. Information about the measures introduced by the Swiss government to alleviate the economic consequences of the corona pandemic on the cultural sector is available (in German, French and Italian) on the website of the Federal Office of Culture (FOC): www.bak.admin.ch/bak/de/home/themen/coronavirus.html

The Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia also publishes continuously updated information at: www.prohelvetia.ch/en/dossier/info-hub-covid-19/

Go to: www.suisseculture.ch for information about the emergency relief fund for cultural workers, and a link to the application portal. Applications for immediate aid can be submitted through this portal.

Helpful information for musicians is also available on the website of Sonart, the professional association of freelance musicians in Switzerland.

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Following the federal COVID-19 ordinances, music usage plummeted depriving authors and publishers of a significant portion of their royalty revenues. SUISA offers its members financial support to bridge the loss in earnings. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Support for SUISA members during the corona crisis

No concerts means no revenues from performing rights. Instead, Kety Fusco played live music from her home for the SUISAblog “Music for Tomorrow” series and for SUISA Music Stories on social media. (Photo: screen shot video Kety Fusco)

Cancelled concerts, closed shops and cinema theatres, reduced advertising on radio and TV – the consequences of the federal measures against the spread of the coronavirus have a direct impact on rights management revenues: if there is no music usage, there is no royalty income.

SUISA offers its members financial support to bridge the loss in earnings:

Advances

First and foremost,...read more

The revised copyright law has come into force

The coronavirus pandemic has naturally eclipsed this event. Yet the amended Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020 after the Pirate Party failed its attempt to launch a popular referendum. Text by Vincent Salvadé

The revised copyright law has come into force

The updated Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

This concluded the efforts of ten years’ work. The revision was initiated in 2010 when State Concillor Geraldine Savary, who subsequently joined SUISA’s Board, filed a postulate titled “Does Switzerland need a law against unlawful downloading of music?”

How will the new law affect SUISA’s activity? The following points are noteworthy:

The law introduces new anti-piracy measures:
Under certain conditions, hosting platforms are henceforth obliged to durably prevent unlawful content from being remade available through the use of their services (stay down obligation, Article 39d CopA); moreover, rightholders may process personal data insofar as this is essential for the purpose of criminal prosecution (Article 77i CopA).

Certain measures are designed to improve collective rights management:
Users must provide the collective rights management organisations with the necessary information in an electronic form allowing for automatic data processing (Article 51(1) CopA); collective rights management organisations are entitled to exchange the information provided by users with one another (Article 51(1bis) CopA); accelerated procedure for tariff appeals before the Federal Administrative Court (Article 74(2) CopA); and the Federal Arbitration Commission responsible for approving tariffs is now entitled to hear witnesses (see new Article 14(1)(h) of the Federal Act on Administrative Procedure).

Lastly, the notion of an “extended collective licence” has been introduced into Swiss law (Article 43a CopA):
Collecting societies can now grant a blanket authorisation for certain uses, even for rightholders they do not represent contractually; this enhances the legal certainty for users and secures additional remuneration for rightholders. This option applies to uses which cannot be individually controlled by rightholders; collecting societies would act as an “insurance” (of a sort) for users. This is a welcome innovation (already applied in Scandinavian countries) which underscores the role of “facilitator” often played by collective rights management organisations.

SUISA accompanied the entire legislative process. Not all these innovations are spectacular. But we believe that, globally, they will facilitate the performance of our mission in the service of rightholders.

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  1. Eva David says:

    Merci aux mandataires de Suisa dont le travail patient et tenace a permis d’aboutir à cette solution satisfaisante.

Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

The coronavirus pandemic has naturally eclipsed this event. Yet the amended Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020 after the Pirate Party failed its attempt to launch a popular referendum. Text by Vincent Salvadé

The revised copyright law has come into force

The updated Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

This concluded the efforts of ten years’ work. The revision was initiated in 2010 when State Concillor Geraldine Savary, who subsequently joined SUISA’s Board, filed a postulate titled “Does Switzerland need a law against unlawful downloading of music?”

How will the new law affect SUISA’s activity? The following points are noteworthy:

The law introduces new anti-piracy measures:
Under certain conditions, hosting platforms are henceforth obliged to durably prevent unlawful content from being remade available through the use of their services (stay down obligation, Article...read more

Two new faces for the Board meeting in autumn

At the General Meeting in June 2019, two new members were elected into the SUISA Board. At the first meeting after the elections in the course of the autumn meetings, the Board has reconstituted itself and dealt with cost unit accounting and business strategy. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Two new faces for the Board meeting in autumn

The newly elected Board members Sylvie Reinhard (left) and Grégoire Liechti. (Photos: Simon Tanner; Sibylle Roth)

In early October, the first meetings of the newly elected Board took place. In June 2019, the General Meeting elected Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to replace the Board members Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta who had stepped down due to the limitation of the term in office. The Board reconstituted itself during its first meeting after the elections. Marco Neeser was elected to be the new Vice President and the three Board Committees were newly appointed.

Cost unit accounting and business strategy

During its autumn meeting, the Board also dealt with the cost unit accounting for 2018 and the business strategy, just like every year. The cost unit accounting shows in detail how high the expenses for each individual usage sector or tariff in the past financial year were. It serves the purpose of identifying particularly cost intensive areas and to introduce the respective measures to improve the situation. In this context, the Executive Committee presented the processes for the licensing of concerts (Tariff K) and sound recordings (Tariff PI) in more detail.

Regarding the business strategy, the Board deliberated on the increasing competition of the collective management organisations and the huge repertoires, represented by the big publishing companies, but also the growing tendency of known authors to collect their authors´ rights directly for their performances – without the “detour” via the collective management organisations. It is expected that competition will grow.

SUISA can, compared to the collective management organisations in Germany or France, not count on its own repertoire when it comes to international fame. As a consequence, SUISA has to offer the most important services at high quality levels and at an attractive price in order to persist in the market.

Other meeting topics

Other items discussed during the meetings were the current tariff negotiations and the distribution results. SUISA´s sponsoring activities in 2020 were also a subject of the meeting in order to consider the respective amounts in time into the budget for 2020.

The Board has, finally, had some thoughts on the 100th Birthday of SUISA which will be celebrated in 2023. A little less far away, it also determined the meeting diary for 2020.

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At the General Meeting in June 2019, two new members were elected into the SUISA Board. At the first meeting after the elections in the course of the autumn meetings, the Board has reconstituted itself and dealt with cost unit accounting and business strategy. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Two new faces for the Board meeting in autumn

The newly elected Board members Sylvie Reinhard (left) and Grégoire Liechti. (Photos: Simon Tanner; Sibylle Roth)

In early October, the first meetings of the newly elected Board took place. In June 2019, the General Meeting elected Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to replace the Board members Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta who had stepped down due to the limitation of the term in office. The Board reconstituted itself during its first meeting after the elections. Marco Neeser was elected to be the...read more

A look back at the SUISA General Meeting 2019

Around 150 voting SUISA members attended the annual General Meeting on 21 June 2019 at the Kongresszentrum in Biel to help determine the direction of their cooperative. Among their decisions was the election of Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to the Board of Directors. SUISA members also passed a resolution for fair conditions for music creators in connection with the revision to the copyright law. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

A look back at the SUISA General Meeting 2019

SUISA members during voting for the Board of Directors for the period 2019-2023 at SUISA’s 2019 General Meeting, 21 June 2019, in the Concert Hall of the Kongresszentrum, Biel. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

‘Spherical, but more angular than trip hop, more emotionally charged than pop music and as organic as folk’ – that’s how SUISA Vice President Marco Zanotta described Zurich musician Annakin, who opened SUISA’s General Meeting. Together with guitarist Simon Rupp, Philipp Kuhn on keyboards and beatboxer Marzel (alias Marcel Zysset), Annakin – otherwise known as Ann Kathrin Lüthi – played songs from her latest album The End of Eternity, as well as ‘Sting Of Love’ from her 2014 album Stand Your Ground.

While the stage was being rearranged after the brief concert, the assembled SUISA members, guests and SUISA employees were able to watch a video that explained how ‘She Got Me’, the Swiss entry to the Eurovision Song Contest sung by Luca Hänni, came about. The song was written in June 2018 at the SUISA Songwriting Camp by SUISA member Luca Hänni with Canadian songwriters Laurell Barker and Frazer Mac and Swedish producer Jon Hällgren. ‘She Got Me’ reached an outstanding fourth place at the Eurovision grand final, has been streamed more than 30 million times and topped the Swiss single charts.

More women in music

In his welcoming address, SUISA President Xavier Dayer took the occasion of the Swiss women’s strike, which had taken place a week before, as impetus to discuss the proportion of women in music. Women currently represent 16% of SUISA members – leaving plenty of room for improvement. This is one of the reasons that SUISA entered into a partnership with Helvetiarockt in 2019, and invited the coordination and networking centre for jazz, pop and rock musicians to bring an information stand to the general meeting.

Members then approved the Annual Report and Management Report. Also approved were SUISA’s first-ever consolidated accounts, reflecting contributions from the two subsidiaries SUISA Digital Licensing AG and Mint Digital Services in 2018. The general meeting also discharged the Board of Directors, the management team and statutory auditor, and confirmed the mandate for the auditor BDO for 2019.

Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti elected to the SUISA Board of Directors

For long-serving Board members Bertrand Liechti and Marco Zanotta, this was their last General Meeting – they are retiring from the SUISA Board after 20 years due to the term limit. In their place, SUISA members elected Sylvie Reinhard, an entrepreneur and Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the digital magazine ‘Republic’, and Geneva-based music publisher Grégoire Liechti to the Board of Directors. The other 12 Board members, along with the members of the Distribution and Works Committee, were confirmed in office with no objections. At the recommendation of the SUISA Board, the general meeting also elected Marco Zanotta to the ComplaintsCommittee, which was established in 2018.

With the revision in 2018 of SUISA’s Articles of Association and the associated extended responsibilities of the General Meeting, the assembled members voted for the first time on compensation regulations for members of the Board and its committees, and on SUISA’s general investment policy.

Resolution calling for fair copyright legislation

Guest speaker Géraldine Savary, federal councillor and member of the SUISA Board, talked about the ongoing revision of Switzerland’s copyright legislation. In particular, she touched on two points that are critical for music creators. First – if the National Council has its way – hoteliers, owners of holiday homes, hospitals and prisons would not be required to pay copyright fees if their guests, patients or inmates listen to music or watch films on the radio/television devices provided. Second, the new copyright law stipulates a compensation regulation for video on demand (VoD) services that would work in favour of film-makers but would be counter-productive for music creators, as they have already negotiated contractual solutions with the VoD platforms. Accordingly, the use of music must be excluded from this new VoD regulation. The General Meeting passed a resolution in order to draw National Council attention to the importance of these two points in its forthcoming autumn session.

This was followed by updates on the current financial year from Vincent Salvadé, Irène Philipp Ziebold and Andreas Wegelin. Urs Schnell, Director of FONDATION SUISA, then reported on how SUISA’s music promotion foundation had performed in the financial year.

At about 2 pm, Xavier Dayer brought the General Meeting to a close and gave notice of the next General Meeting, which will take place on Friday, 26 June 2020 at the Bierhübeli in Bern.

Afterwards, participants enjoyed a light lunch in the foyer of the Kongresszentrum, an opportunity for SUISA employees, guests and colleagues to talk, sign resolutions, find out about Helvetiarockt projects at the organisation’s stand or even initiate new projects.

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Around 150 voting SUISA members attended the annual General Meeting on 21 June 2019 at the Kongresszentrum in Biel to help determine the direction of their cooperative. Among their decisions was the election of Sylvie Reinhard and Grégoire Liechti to the Board of Directors. SUISA members also passed a resolution for fair conditions for music creators in connection with the revision to the copyright law. Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

A look back at the SUISA General Meeting 2019

SUISA members during voting for the Board of Directors for the period 2019-2023 at SUISA’s 2019 General Meeting, 21 June 2019, in the Concert Hall of the Kongresszentrum, Biel. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

‘Spherical, but more angular than trip hop, more emotionally charged than pop music and as organic as folk’ – that’s how SUISA Vice President Marco Zanotta described Zurich musician Annakin, who opened...read more

Everyone come and join us at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne

Dear members, on 21 June 2019, it’s that time of the year again. At our General Assembly, you will have the opportunity to contact the executives of your cooperative society SUISA and to co-determine the future of your collective management organisation. On that day, we hope that we see a lot of you in Biel/Bienne. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Everyone come and join us at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne

Co-determine the future of your collective management organisation and find out about your cooperative society’s news first hand when you attend the SUISA General Assembly. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

At the upcoming General Assembly, two new Board members need to be elected and – for the first time in SUISA’s history – consolidated financial statements need to be approved. SUISA applied new structures for itself with a view to the digital age where listening to recorded music via the internet constantly gains importance. On the one hand, the parent company is involved in a joint venture with the US-American society SESAC, on the other hand, online licences are now issued on a global basis via a subsidiary company called SUISA Digital Licensing, based in Liechtenstein.

Be informed first hand when it comes to the latest developments in copyright legislation. Both at European as well at Swiss levels, there is a lot in motion. The European legislative proposal has, above all, driven mainly young internet users to protest on the internet and in the streets. Fired up by social media platforms, it is alleged that freedom of expression was seriously at risk because of the new copyright.

What really is happening with respect to the protection of authors and their works during the exchange on the global internet marketplace is featured on our SUISAblog for you to read, and you can also hear about it first hand at our General Assembly, among others from Géraldine Savary, member of the Swiss Council of States.

Our FONDATION SUISA, the foundation for Swiss music, has also chosen to follow new paths: Instead of granting awards to musicians that are already known, start-up funding is intended to ensure that more new music projects are brought into the limelight. I hope you have a rewarding reading on our SUISAblog and would be very pleased to personally welcome you on Friday, 21 June 2019 at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne.

Click here for the registration form of the General Assembly.

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When SUISA does politicsWhen SUISA does politics SUISA and the other Swiss rights administration societies have never been as actively involved in politics as in 2018. But is it really justified for SUISA to become engaged in politics? The revision of copyright law certainly has something to do with SUISA’s political engagement. But the rights administration societies have also taken a stand on numerous other issues: the “No Billag” initiative, gambling legislation, revision of telecommunications law, various parliamentary motions and initiatives, etc. Read more
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  1. Gerhard Hählen says:

    Wie kommt man zu einem Anmeldeformular für die GV und mit Programm der GV? Seit ich die digitale Version der Kommunikation angemeldet habe, kriege ich kein Anmeldeformular für die GV mehr?!?

  2. E.Rick Sommer says:

    Liebe SUISA am 21. Juni ist die GV in Biel könnten Sie vielleicht die Uhrzeit angeben wann beginnt die GV
    mit Freundlichen Gruss Rick

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.

Dear members, on 21 June 2019, it’s that time of the year again. At our General Assembly, you will have the opportunity to contact the executives of your cooperative society SUISA and to co-determine the future of your collective management organisation. On that day, we hope that we see a lot of you in Biel/Bienne. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Everyone come and join us at our General Assembly in Biel/Bienne

Co-determine the future of your collective management organisation and find out about your cooperative society’s news first hand when you attend the SUISA General Assembly. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

At the upcoming General Assembly, two new Board members need to be elected and – for the first time in SUISA’s history – consolidated financial statements need to be approved. SUISA applied new structures for itself with a view to the digital age where listening to...read more

When SUISA does politics

SUISA and the other Swiss rights administration societies have never been as actively involved in politics as in 2018. But is it really justified for SUISA to become engaged in politics? By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

When SUISA does politics

SUISA’s political work is geared to creating a favourable framework for Swiss musical creators in terms of rights management. (Photo: Trybex / Shutterstock.com)

The revision of copyright law certainly has something to do with SUISA’s political engagement. But the rights administration societies have also taken a stand on numerous other issues: the “No Billag” initiative, gambling legislation, revision of telecommunications law, various parliamentary motions and initiatives, etc. Moreover, the societies regularly respond to consultation procedures on a broad range of legislative proposals. This shows that music, and culture in general, have become ubiquitous in our society. Music and culture are multi-faceted and as such are affected by a great number of political issues.

But is it really justified for SUISA to become engaged in politics? Yes. When we act, we do so without partisan labels, motivated solely by our members’ interests. Rights management can rarely be dissociated from politics.

“Generally speaking, our political actions are always aimed at achieving a favourable legal framework for rights management.”

In recent months, SUISA’s tariff negotiations have triggered two parliamentary interventions in Bern: first, in an attempt to counter our supplementary common tariff 3a, which had been confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court at the end of 2017, National Councilor Philippe Nantermod filed a parliamentary initiative demanding that licence fees be abolished for hotel rooms and the like; and second, National Councilor Martin Candinas submitted a motion proposing to disregard State subsidies to local radio stations in peripheral regions in the copyright calculation basis, although the matter has already been decided to the contrary on several occasions by the authorities responsible for approving the tariffs. In both cases, politics were the means chosen to try to defeat what we have struggled to achieve through our rights management activities.

Generally speaking, our political actions are always designed to foster a favourable legal framework for rights management. That is just as true for the revision of copyright law as it was earlier this year in our stand against the “No Billag” initiative: both were driven by the same motivation. Recently, we intervened to ensure that the revision of the telecommunications legislation would not jeopardise a balanced solution for authors’ rights with regard to replay TV.

Such political action requires major investment in terms of argumentation and persuasion. But it has proved worthwhile: on 13 June 2018, the Council of States rejected the Candinas motion (as well as the alternative proposed by the Federal Council) by 22 votes to 21. Would the outcome have been the same if the musical world had not mobilised? SUISA therefore intends to continue resolutely on this path and pursue its active political engagement, in particular against the parliamentary initiative of National Councilor Nantermod.

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SUISA and the other Swiss rights administration societies have never been as actively involved in politics as in 2018. But is it really justified for SUISA to become engaged in politics? By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

When SUISA does politics

SUISA’s political work is geared to creating a favourable framework for Swiss musical creators in terms of rights management. (Photo: Trybex / Shutterstock.com)

The revision of copyright law certainly has something to do with SUISA’s political engagement. But the rights administration societies have also taken a stand on numerous other issues: the “No Billag” initiative, gambling legislation, revision of telecommunications law, various parliamentary motions and initiatives, etc. Moreover, the societies regularly respond to consultation procedures on a broad range of legislative proposals. This shows that music, and culture in general, have become ubiquitous in our society. Music...read more

Replay TV: catching up with advertising revenues

Replay TV (also known as time-shift or catch-up TV) offers consumers the option of watching television broadcasts on a time-shifted basis instead of at the regular scheduled time. This function, which is very popular with viewers, is now jeopardised by an ongoing legal and political dispute. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Replay TV: catching up with advertising revenues

Replay TV: Thanks to digital technology, viewers can go back in time up to seven days and catch up on any programmes they may have missed. (Photo: Getty Images / Steve Lawrence)

Broadcasting companies, i.e. TV channels, are demanding veto rights on the time-shifted use of their programmes. What is at stake? Their advertising revenues. After all, who will watch commercials if you can skip them in replay? This dispute is of significance for SUISA and for musical rightholders too.

Current status

In past decisions, the Federal Arbitration Commission for copyright and neighbouring rights has equated subscription to a replay TV service with copying for private use, which is permitted by Article 19(2) FCA. In exchange, rightholders (including, in this case, broadcasting companies) are entitled to remuneration in accordance with Article 20(2) FCA, levied by the collecting societies in accordance with Common Tariff 12 (CT 12).

This has been the status since 2013, and broadcasters have not disputed it before the civil courts. This situation has several advantages: the distributors of the broadcasting programmes (Swisscom TV, UPC, Sunrise, etc) can offer their customers attractive services in exchange for a fee. And the collecting societies collect the fees and pass them on to the copyright and neighbouring rights rightholders.

However, in February 2018, the Federal Arbitration Commission responsible for reviewing the tariffs of the collecting societies approved the new CT 12, which provides for a slight increase in these fees, for the period 2017 to 2020. On 21 March 2018, 23 broadcasting companies appealed this decision before the Federal Administration Court. They argued that replay TV was not governed by the legal regime for private copying, and should be subject to their consent. On 12 September 2018, the Court ruled that the broadcasting companies were not entitled to appeal.

In parallel, however, turning to account the ongoing revision of the Telecommunications Act (TCA), the broadcasting companies had also demanded veto rights for replay TV in that context. In July 2018, the Transport and Telecommunications Committee of the National Council (TTC-N) followed their reasoning and introduced Article 12e TCA. This triggered a number of reactions from stakeholders opposed to the new provision. Finally, the Committee backed down and proposed that the issue be resolved in the framework of the copyright law revision.

The issue

SUISA appreciates that broadcasting companies should seek to safeguard their advertising income. This is also in the interest of the holders of musical rights, since the tariffs governing broadcasting rights (tariff A for the SSR and Common Tariff S for private broadcasters) are based on broadcasters’ revenues.

By way of reminder: based on tariff A and CT S, SUISA collected about CHF 16.8 million in remuneration from Swiss TV broadcasters in 2017, plus an additional CHF 1.3 million from the Swiss advertising windows of foreign broadcasters. By comparison, TC 12 generated slightly over CHF 3 million for musical rightholders. We should be careful not to lop off the branch on which musical rights are sitting.

Solutions

However, granting veto rights to broadcasting companies on replay TV seems unjustified. By refusing their consent, broadcasters would limit the offer available to consumers and, as a result, reduce CT 12 revenues for rightholders. By limiting private copying options, which is now regularly the case on the cloud, we would be sounding the death knell for a system that is the envy of our neighbours and has contributed to developing innovative digital services.

We feel that existing copyright law provides for a well-balanced system: under Articles 59 and 60 FCA, remuneration under CT 12 must be fair. That means on the one hand, that distributors must compensate the broadcasting companies commensurately with the significant revenues generated by replay TV. On the other hand, Articles 59 and 60 FCA are worded in sufficiently flexible terms to take into account, at least partially, the same distributors’ loss in earnings.

At the same time, the law could require distributors to obtain the broadcaster’s consent, not to their offering replay TV services to their customers, but to enabling their customers to skip the commercials. This means distributors would have to take the necessary technical measures to prevent viewers from skipping commercials when the broadcaster withholds its consent. Consumers may at first be reluctant to accept such solutions. But such measures would be the lesser evil compared with a broadcaster veto liable to significantly limit the current offer. And, for a number of stakeholders, it is a win-win solution:

  • providers who distribute the programmes could continue offering full replay TV, while consumers could continue subscribing to that option;
  • distribution companies would be able to preserve or increase their advertising revenues since they would have an additional audience of viewers who are unable to tune into programmes at the scheduled times;
  • other rightholders would continue to collect significant broadcasting distribution revenues (tariff A and CT S in the case of musical rights) while taking advantage of the booming revenue flows from CT 12.

Switzerland always favours balanced solutions. The legal regime for replay TV should be no exception to the rule; the interests of all stakeholders must be taken into account.

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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.

Replay TV (also known as time-shift or catch-up TV) offers consumers the option of watching television broadcasts on a time-shifted basis instead of at the regular scheduled time. This function, which is very popular with viewers, is now jeopardised by an ongoing legal and political dispute. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Replay TV: catching up with advertising revenues

Replay TV: Thanks to digital technology, viewers can go back in time up to seven days and catch up on any programmes they may have missed. (Photo: Getty Images / Steve Lawrence)

Broadcasting companies, i.e. TV channels, are demanding veto rights on the time-shifted use of their programmes. What is at stake? Their advertising revenues. After all, who will watch commercials if you can skip them in replay? This dispute is of significance for SUISA and for musical rightholders too.

Current status

In past decisions,...read more