Tag Archives: Collective management

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.

Related articles
Switzerland finally has a new copyright law!Switzerland finally has a new copyright law! On 27 September 2019, both the National Council and the Council of States at last held a final vote approving the partial revision of the Swiss Federal Copyright Act, ending a process initiated in 2010 with a postulate by Géraldine Savary. It is now for the Federal Council to determine when the modernised Copyright Act will come into force – unless a referendum is successful. Read more
Adapting federal copyright law to digital usageAdapting federal copyright law to digital usage On 26 March 2019, after months of protest on the streets and in the Internet community, the European Parliament approved the proposal for a new EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Revision of copyright law in Switzerland and the EU: where are the similarities, where are the differences? Read more
Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their worksCopyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works The Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. Read more
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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.

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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

Collective management is a service for music creators and music users alike

Whether it’s background music in businesses or the new blanket license deal covering videos with music on the internet for small businesses: In both cases, a lot of music by a lot of rightsholders (composers, lyricists, music publishers) is used by a large number of companies. SUISA acts as a point of contact for these companies as well as for the beneficiaries, simplifying the authorisation for the use of works and processing the due copyright royalties. By Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO

Collective management is a service for music creators and music users alike

With offers such as the newly introduced annual flat rate for online use of music in web videos, SUISA is simplifying how copyright royalties are processed, for customers and beneficiaries alike. (Photo: one photo / Shutterstock.com)

Up to now, you had to obtain a licence from SUISA for the copyright in accordance with Tariff VN for every single video with music on the internet. With this, the copyright was settled, and additional action was also required with regard to neighbouring rights (related rights). The whole licensing process was therefore complex and sometimes difficult to understand.

Joint licence for copyright and neighbouring rights

Together with Audion GmbH, SUISA has now developed a simpler, attractive licensing model for small enterprises of up to 49 staff and up to CHF 9m turnover. Against payment of an annual fee of CHF 344.00 (excl. VAT), small enterprises and individuals can put videos with music onto their own website as well as publish them on their own social media channels. Thanks to the collaboration between SUISA and Audion GmbH, the annual blanket fee is covering the acquisition of both copyright and neighbouring rights.

Not included in the package are advertising videos, pure music videos, videos with a production budget of more than CHF 15,000 and videos with a total playing time of more than 10 minutes. In addition, synchronisation rights must continue to be obtained directly from the publishers or the authors.

Audion GmbH – a rights agency

Audion GmbH is an independent rights agency founded in 2015 by IFPI Switzerland (the industry umbrella association of music labels in Switzerland), which brokers licenses for marginal uses of music recordings between users and music labels.

It is characteristic of Audion’s field of activity that it restricts itself selectively to niches where smaller and non-commercial users in particular face the administrative challenge of obtaining the necessary licences from a large number of music labels. Audion thus meets a user requirement and offers the choice of acquiring the necessary rights either directly from the rightsholders or as a rights bundle from Audion.

The landscape of music labels has changed dramatically with the development of digital distribution and marketing opportunities. Booking agencies, for example, are increasingly taking over label functions. It is therefore partly unclear where the rights need to be obtained from. Audion can help here by acquiring the rights for the user from the various labels.

Joint collection: Background music and videos on websites

As of 1 January 2019, SUISA will once again be responsible for all customers for the Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a, background music). Prior to this, Billag AG had been issuing the invoice. These customers are companies that play background music on their premises, broadcast TV programmes, use music on hold and/or publish videos with music on their websites. Customers can therefore be the same when it comes to using the music in background entertainment and in videos on websites. In both cases, a lot of music by a lot of rightsholders music publishers is used by a large customer group.

This inevitably leads to the requirement that we simplify the licensing of both uses and, in particular, to offer them together. For this purpose, the existing web portal for CT 3a licences is to be adapted in such a way that customers can register both uses at the same time and thus easily license their respective uses.

Outlook: Large enterprises

The newly introduced annual flat rate for the online use of music in web videos applies to small businesses. An offer for large companies – i.e. companies that employ more than 49 people or generate more than CHF 9m in annual sales – is currently being prepared with the aim of offering these companies a simple and adequate solution. As soon as all necessary measures and decisions have been taken on this issue, we will inform you.

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Videos with music on the internet: New offer for small enterprisesVideos with music on the internet: New offer for small enterprises Until now, enterprises and individuals had to license each video with music on their websites and social media channels individually at SUISA. From November 2019 onwards, SUISA and its partner Audion GmbH offer an annual lump sum for online usage of music in web videos to small enterprises. Read more
Common Tariff 3a: A hundred thousand new SUISA business customers | plus videoCommon Tariff 3a: A hundred thousand new SUISA business customers | plus video With regards to Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a), SUISA has been managing all customers directly again since 01 January 2019. In order to do so, data of about 100,000 customers which received their 3a invoices via Billag in the past years, has been migrated into the SUISA systems. A new team of 16 staff is responsible for all customers of this tariff and provides customer service in four languages. In the meantime, more than 58,000 invoices have left the building – time to take a first provisional look back. Read more
Switzerland finally has a new copyright law!Switzerland finally has a new copyright law! On 27 September 2019, both the National Council and the Council of States at last held a final vote approving the partial revision of the Swiss Federal Copyright Act, ending a process initiated in 2010 with a postulate by Géraldine Savary. It is now for the Federal Council to determine when the modernised Copyright Act will come into force – unless a referendum is successful. Read more
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  1. Liebe Frau Ziebold

    Ich bin einerseits Mitglied der SUISA und froh, dass diese meine Interessen als Urheber wahrnimmt. Andrerseits bin ich auch eine 1-Mann-Firma, allein in einem Büro. Alles, was ich über GT 3a lese, erscheint mir plausibel, trifft aber auf mein Unternehmen nicht zu. Ich hasse Hintergrundmusik, weil sie mich beim Arbeiten stört, und selbst wenn ich ein Radio während der Arbeit laufen liesse, wäre ich der einzige, der es hört. Von einer gewerblichen Nutzung, die ja wenigsten ein Ohrenpaar eines Mitarbeiters oder eines Kunden voraussetzt, bin ich also weit entfernt. Ich verfüge auch nicht über ein Geschäftsauto, das – wie ich mir von einer SUISA Mitarbeiterin habe sagen lassen – auch als Büroraum zählen würde. Sie meinte dann auch, dass ich wohl nicht zahlungspflichtig sei.

    Der zuständige Sachbearbeiter sieht das aber ganz anders und meint, ich müsse einfach zahlen. Er glaubt nicht, dass er das näher begründen müsste und weigert sich auch, mir die rechtlichen Grundlagen zuzustellen. Er bezeichnet aber die GT 3a-FAQs auf Ihrer Website als nicht verbindlich, die meiner Meinung nach deutlich machen, dass ich nicht unter die GT 3a Zahlungspflicht falle. Also, wenn ich einem Kunden eine Rechnung schicke, muss ich das immer begründen können. Ich habe nun eine Betreibungsandrohung ihres Inkasso-Büros im Haus, nachdem eine Rechnung und 1 Mahnung nicht beantwortet wurden, die gar nie bei mir eigetroffen sind. Aber das ist eine andere Geschichte.

    Meine Frage an Sie lautet nun: Hat ihr Mitarbeiter recht? Muss einfach jede Firma GT3a zahlen? Wenn ja, warum gibt man sich dann so Mühe mit der Spezifizierung der Fälle, wenn es gar keine Ausnahmen gibt? Gibt es für diese Null-Ausnahme-Regelung eine rechtliche Grundlage, die Sie mir anstelle Ihres Mitarbeiters zustellen können? Sind Ihre Mitarbeitenden angehalten, nach dem Versand 1 Rechnung und 1 (nicht eingeschriebenen) Mahnung Ihr Inkasso-Büro in Gang zu setzen mit entsprechenden Mehrgebühren? Warum erhalten nicht einfach alle Firmen eine Rechnung?

    Ihre Meinung dazu interessiert mich sehr.

    Mit freundlichen Grüssen

    M. Gabriel

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      Lieber Herr Gabriel
      Wir danken Ihnen für Ihre konstruktive Rückmeldung. Ihr Anliegen ist uns wichtig und wir werden die spezifische Sachlage hinsichtlich Ihrer 1-Mann-Firma und der erfolgten Kommunikation inklusive der vorhandenen Informationen dazu intern betrachten. Gerne setzen wir uns mit Ihnen in Kürze noch persönlich in Verbindung, um weitere konkrete Falldetails von Ihnen zu erfahren und mit Ihnen zu besprechen.
      Bis dahin wünschen wir Ihnen alles Gute.
      Freundliche Grüsse, Manu Leuenberger / SUISA Kommunikation

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Whether it’s background music in businesses or the new blanket license deal covering videos with music on the internet for small businesses: In both cases, a lot of music by a lot of rightsholders (composers, lyricists, music publishers) is used by a large number of companies. SUISA acts as a point of contact for these companies as well as for the beneficiaries, simplifying the authorisation for the use of works and processing the due copyright royalties. By Irène Philipp Ziebold, COO

Collective management is a service for music creators and music users alike

With offers such as the newly introduced annual flat rate for online use of music in web videos, SUISA is simplifying how copyright royalties are processed, for customers and beneficiaries alike. (Photo: one photo / Shutterstock.com)

Up to now, you had to obtain a licence from SUISA for the copyright in accordance...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.

Related articles
Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committeesCopyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. The bill reflects the compromise reached by the AGUR12 II working group at the beginning of March 2017. Parliament has started working on the bill, and SUISA was invited to present its point of view on 12 April 2018 at a hearing organised by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the National Council. SUISA also had the opportunity to state its views before the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council, first in writing and then orally on 18 May 2018. Read more
Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collectionsChanges in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections In the last few years, cable network providers switched their offerings from analogue to digital. In order to take these changes into consideration, the distribution of the collections arising from Tariffs CT 1 (cable networks), CT 2a (retransmitters) and CT 2b (IP based networks) was aligned. In item 5.5.1 of the distribution rules the calculation basis of the reference parameter “number of subscribers” was changed to “daily reach”. Read more
Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their worksCopyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works The Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. Read more
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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.

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

No adequate share for audiovisual artists regarding video on demand and streaming success

Film director Ursula Meier is speeding from one success to the next, both in Switzerland as well as abroad. She elaborates why it is necessary to enhance the value of the position of film makers and actors in the video on demand (VOD) sector in the course of the copyright law review. Text/Interview by guest author Jürg Ruchti, CEO, SSA

No adequate share for audiovisual artists regarding video on demand and streaming success

Ursula Meier is a film director and a member of SSA. SSA is a sister society of SUISA and manages copyright for stage and audiovisual works. (Photo: Claude Dussez)

Ursula Meier, you are a member of the Société Suisse des Auteurs (SSA) – why?
Well, first and foremost because SSA looks after my copyright in an efficient manner. It also provides me with additional services: SSA is a cooperative society which is based on mutuality and solidarity and defends the interests of creators of audiovisual and stage works.

Creatives are asking for an implementation of new provisions regarding the video on demand (VOD) into the Swiss Copyright Act.
Yes, that’s very important. Thanks to the internet, our works are being consumed as often as never before but creatives are not paid to the extent that they would deserve. Digital economy players claim the income which have arisen from the consumption of our works but reject any obligations above and beyond that.

But isn’t it the case that authors negotiate their rights with the producer when they create a film?
Yes, but the contractual chains for the exploitation of the works are so complex and sometimes opaque that the income does actually not reach the artist or creator. There is a multitude of contracting parties. The digital economy leaves producers in an unprecedented state of uncertainty. They don’t know whether they’ll ever get their investment back. There are several reasons for that. This affects the levels of remuneration which they can grant artists during the contractual negotiations prior to the completion of a film. Our conditions have thus got worse.

Why should VOD platforms be obliged to remunerate authors via their collective management organisations?
Because if that were the case, authors would get a fair share of the success of their work, since their collective management organisations would get involved with the last player in the value chain i.e. the party which is in direct contact with the consumer. In the TV sector in Switzerland, this model has been established for quite some time and it works to our satisfaction. The current law does actually provide an obligation to pay for the rental of video tapes or DVDs. Since VOD has now taken over this market segment, the law should be adapted to this development.

The suggested new provision does, however, not seem to be beyond all doubt.
No, since it contains two contentious issues: First, it also affects music which does not want this provision since its system already works well in all countries. This is not the case for scriptwriters, directors and actors. A collective management of their rights only exists in few countries and the platforms often operate from other countries. The second issue which is problematic relates to works which are commissioned by TV broadcasters: The legislative draft provides for them to be excluded from the new mandatory remuneration for artists.

What exactly is the problem in the case of commissioned work?
These works are the most sought after works on this new market, for example series. The circle of principals has grown: In future, VOD platforms join TV broadcasters. There is no reason to treat the former in any other way than the latter. Works do follow a path. Sooner or later they can be consumed on a multitude of platforms. If commissioned works are being excluded from this new VOD right, authors do not receive any remuneration for their online exploitation. Their situation would therefore hardly improve. Here’s an example: A new series, commissioned by the RTS, which subsequently is made available via a streaming service such as Amazon would be exempt from the new legislation. This exclusion undermines the meaning of the new law and its general intention consequently misses the mark. The argument which forms the basis to this legal article does not reflect reality and I hope that this will be resolved in the course of the debates in the respective sessions.

About Ursula Meier
Ursula Meier is an internationally renowned film director. “Home” (with Isabelle Huppert) was among the nominated films at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and received numerous international awards. In 2012, “L’enfant d’en haut” (with Léa Seydoux and Kacey Mottet Klein) was awarded the special prize Silberner Bär [Silver Bear] at the Berlinale [Berlin Film Festival]. Just like “Home”, in 2010, the film was given three Swiss film awards, among them the award for the best film, and it also represented Switzerland at the Oscars. At the beginning of 2018, Ursula Meier completed “Journal de ma tête”, a TV film with Fanny Ardant and Kacey Mottet Klein. The film was nominated for the Berlinale. Ursula Meier was the president of the jury for the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
About the remuneration right for video on demand
Online platforms that make available feature films (cinema and TV) have replaced DVD rental. Whereas, under Article 13 FCA, authors and artists used to receive a share of DVD rental revenues, this is no longer the case for online availability. The revised legislation must ensure that authors and performing artists, as the primary creators of value, participate in this new economic model. Swisscopyright welcomed the introduction of a right to remuneration in Articles 13a and 35a FCA-B in principle. The collecting societies, however, underscored that the right to remuneration must be supplemental to the fees paid to the creators by producers (for the commissioning of works, the performances therein and the corresponding rights). The FCʼs proposal is not clear in this respect. Swisscopyright argues that the parliamentary debates must make it clear that the right to receive remuneration is supplemental to, and not in lieu of, such fees.
“The composers and publishers of film music entrust their rights to collective rights management societies like SUISA which act directly vis à vis the VoD platforms. The contractual system for music assures composers more favourable financial conditions than they would have under a statutory remuneration right.”
Moreover, the exclusion of music works from the new right to remuneration was an essential element of the AGUR 12 II compromise; regrettably, the FC has not included this exclusion in its proposal. Since the voluntary collective management model functions well in the music sector, we should come back to the solution advocated by AGUR12 II. The music and the audiovisual sector diverge significantly in this respect “The composers and publishers of film music entrust their rights to collective rights management societies like SUISA which act directly vis à vis the VoD platforms (alongside the aggregators who handle all other rights in the film). The contractual system for music assures composers more favourable financial conditions than they would have under a statutory remuneration right.
In the field of music, however, it is necessary to ensure that the revenues distributed by collecting societies are properly apportioned between the composer and the publisher. The composer must in any event receive an equitable share. Article 49(3) FCA already guarantees this for concerts, radio broadcasts and CD productions. But this rule only applies to areas under federal regulation, and therefore not to VoD. As a result, Swisscopyright proposes rewording paragraph 5 of Article 13a FCA-B to stipulate the composerʼs right to a fair share of the voluntary collective management revenues, in line with SUISAʼs current practice.
Excerpt from the SUISAblog-Article: “Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees” by Vincent Salvadé.

The interview with Ursula Meier was conducted for the “Sessionsbrief” (session letter) (PDF, in German) of Swisscopyright, published in September 2018. Swisscopyright is the joint umbrella of the five Swiss collective management organisations ProLitteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform. With the “Sessionsbrief”, the societies inform interested parties from within the political scene as well as the public on subjects affecting copyright.

Swisscopyright Website

Related articles
Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committeesCopyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. The bill reflects the compromise reached by the AGUR12 II working group at the beginning of March 2017. Parliament has started working on the bill, and SUISA was invited to present its point of view on 12 April 2018 at a hearing organised by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the National Council. SUISA also had the opportunity to state its views before the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council, first in writing and then orally on 18 May 2018. Read more
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Peter Reber: “Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created” The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision. Read more
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Your email address will not be published.

Film director Ursula Meier is speeding from one success to the next, both in Switzerland as well as abroad. She elaborates why it is necessary to enhance the value of the position of film makers and actors in the video on demand (VOD) sector in the course of the copyright law review. Text/Interview by guest author Jürg Ruchti, CEO, SSA

No adequate share for audiovisual artists regarding video on demand and streaming success

Ursula Meier is a film director and a member of SSA. SSA is a sister society of SUISA and manages copyright for stage and audiovisual works. (Photo: Claude Dussez)

Ursula Meier, you are a member of the Société Suisse des Auteurs (SSA) – why?
Well, first and foremost because SSA looks after my copyright in an efficient manner. It also provides me with additional services: SSA is a cooperative society which is based on...read more

Strong together

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

Strong together

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exploitation rights in the EU and review of SUISA’s Articles of AssociationExploitation rights in the EU and review of SUISA’s Articles of Association
Liechtenstein has been – other than Switzerland – a member of the European Economic Area since 1995 and must, as such, accept a major proportion of the European Union legal provisions. What do EU exploitation rights have to do with the revision of the SUISA Articles of Association? Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers131.4m Swiss Francs for composers, lyricists and publishers It was with satisfaction that members of the SUISA Board approved the results of the previous year during their meeting at the end of March 2017. The total turnover was 3.2% higher than that of the previous year. An overall amount of CHF 131.4m can be paid out to rights holders. The Board has, in addition, decided that a supplementary distribution of 7% shall be carried out on top of all regular distributions in 2018. Read more
Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their worksCopyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works The Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. Read more
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22 June 2018: it’s that time of the year again. As a member of the Cooperative Society SUISA entitled to vote you will be able to decide on the future of your copyright society and to take stock with respect to the past business year at the General Assembly in the Bierhüebli in Bern. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

Strong together

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

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

Exploitation rights in the EU and review of SUISA’s Articles of Association

Liechtenstein has been – other than Switzerland – a member of the European Economic Area since 1995 and must, as such, accept a major proportion of the European Union legal provisions. What do EU exploitation rights have to do with the revision of the SUISA Articles of Association? Text by Bernhard Wittweiler

Exploitation rights in the EU and review of SUISA’s Articles of Association

Copyright developments in Europe are of importance for Switzerland’s SUISA, too: The image shows CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre on 06 March 2018 handing a petition to the European Parliament. It had been signed by 14,000 authors and composers requesting fair rules in the digital marketplace in order to stop the “transfer of value” on the internet. (Photo: CISAC / Iris Haidau)

The European Union (EU) had, for quite some time, established rules for the collective management of copyright and neighbouring rights via the collective management organisations. Initially, individual decisions were passed by the EU Commission and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which were derived from EU Competition Laws. The EU bodies thus managed to break up the strict territorial demarcation between the collective management organisations (CMO) and the exclusivity of the rights assignment, to facilitate rightsholders’ switching to another CMO and to create more competition between the CMOs in general.

In the nascent age of online exploitation of music, the EU Commission set another milestone with its Recommendation of October 2005. It wanted to achieve the biggest possible competition between the CMOs regarding online rights management as well as improve transparency and equal treatment of all rights holders in the CMOs. The Recommendation resulted in the complete freedom of rightsholders to choose which CMO in Europe they wish to entrust with their online rights, in the creation of one-stop-shops for online licences and multi-territorial online licences.

Rules for collective management

But it didn’t stop there. Over the years, the needs grew for a comprehensive and standardised regulation of the collective management organisations’ activities in the EU and for a harmonised internal market as the basis for collective management. Thus, on 26 February 2014, the Directive on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market (CRM Directive) was issued. Directives are paramount to laws in significance, but do not take direct effect; instead, they have to be implemented by individual EU member states into their national laws.

The CRM Directive has the aim to set minimal standards regarding an orderly mode of operation of collective management organisations (corporate governance), their finance management, transparency and accountability vis-a-vis members, sister societies and the public, the right of co-determination of members, equal treatment and non-discrimination of rights holders, sister societies and users, settlement of disputes, management and licensing of online rights as well as the supervision of CMOs by the authorities.

EU Directive authoritative for Liechtenstein

The CRM Directive of the EU was declared to be authoritative for the States of the European Economic Area (EEA), and thus also Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein therefore had to adopt the Directive and implement it into its national laws. For this purpose, a new, distinct law was created, the Liechtenstein Collecting Societies Act (VGG), which was passed on 29 March 2018 by the Landtag (Parliament). Previous provisions for the collective management in the copyright laws of Liechtenstein were taken over into the VGG.

SUISA has been active in the Principality of Liechtenstein for decades, since 1999 with its own state licence and under the supervision of the respective authority, the Office of Economic Affairs in Liechtenstein, as the supervisory authority. Authors and publishers from Liechtenstein are SUISA members, SUISA collects licence fees for copyright in Liechtenstein based on its tariffs for the music usages that take place there. Just like in Switzerland, the tariffs and the distribution rules valid for Liechtenstein require a state licence and SUISA has to be accountable to Liechtenstein’s supervisory authority each year regarding its business activities.

Adaptation of SUISA Articles of Association

With its activities and licence to operate in Liechtenstein, SUISA is subject to the provisions in Liechtenstein regarding collective management. We are therefore obliged to fulfil the specifications and requirements of the new VGG – and thus also the CRM Directive of the EU. The new provisions do not entail no earth-shattering or major innovations, we already adhere to the majority of the provisions which have been a matter of course for us for a long time. Nevertheless, there are still some areas that require adaptation.

The necessary changes of the SUISA Articles of Association will be presented to the General Assembly on 22 June 2018 for ratification so that they may enter into force from 01 January 2019.

The most important of the proposed changes to the Articles of Association are the following:

  • SUISA membership is no longer dependent on nationality, residence or any other link to Switzerland or Liechtenstein (authors) respectively a presence in Switzerland or Liechtenstein (publishers) (item 5.1);
  • extension of the competence of the General Assembly (item 9.2.2);
  • preparation and publication of a transparency report which shows various information and key figures in addition to the annual report (item 9.2.3);
  • facilitation of electronic participation at the GA, provided that the statutory provisions (in the Swiss OR, the Swiss Federal Code of Obligations) allow us to do so (item 9.2.10, new);
  • declarations by the Board and Management to the GA regarding conflicts of interest (items 9.3.11 and 9.6.4, new);
  • creation of a Complaints Committee (item 9.5, new).

Revision of the Articles of Association for online business

One important strategic business sector of SUISA that depends on the revision of the Articles of Association is the following: SUISA has been licensing music of SUISA members at pan-European level since 2013 in the online sector, partially even far beyond Europe’s borders. Pursuant to the EU Directive, collective management organisations must meet certain standards in order to be able to carry out cross-border licensing within the European Union.

So that SUISA may continue its pan-European licensing in the online sector, the provisions of the EU Directive must be adhered to. The online business is a focus of SUISA’s strategy for the immediate future. By way of revising the Articles of Association, the conditions will be met that SUISA can directly negotiate with and collect from online providers such as iTunes or Spotify regarding exploitations outside Switzerland and Liechtenstein, too.

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SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts!SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts! SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly takes place on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. It will be opened with a music performance by the ad hoc formation Swiss Ländlermix in line with the theme; “Folk music – Switzerland crossways”. Important business items on the agenda are the review of the Articles of Association, the new Complaints Committee and an election of a substitute for the Distribution and Works Committee. Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform will attend as guest speaker. Read more
Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committeesCopyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. The bill reflects the compromise reached by the AGUR12 II working group at the beginning of March 2017. Parliament has started working on the bill, and SUISA was invited to present its point of view on 12 April 2018 at a hearing organised by the Science, Education and Culture Committee of the National Council. SUISA also had the opportunity to state its views before the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council, first in writing and then orally on 18 May 2018. Read more
Publishers’ participation at SUISA not at riskPublishers’ participation at SUISA not at risk A decision by the European Court of Justice dating back to 2015 and two German court decisions made last year have challenged the basic principle of a participation of publishers with respect to remuneration paid out by collective management organisations. Here are the reasons why what happened at Gema cannot repeat itself at SUISA. Read more
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Liechtenstein has been – other than Switzerland – a member of the European Economic Area since 1995 and must, as such, accept a major proportion of the European Union legal provisions. What do EU exploitation rights have to do with the revision of the SUISA Articles of Association? Text by Bernhard Wittweiler

Exploitation rights in the EU and review of SUISA’s Articles of Association

Copyright developments in Europe are of importance for Switzerland’s SUISA, too: The image shows CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre on 06 March 2018 handing a petition to the European Parliament. It had been signed by 14,000 authors and composers requesting fair rules in the digital marketplace in order to stop the “transfer of value” on the internet. (Photo: CISAC / Iris Haidau)

The European Union (EU) had, for quite some time, established rules for the collective management of copyright and neighbouring rights...read more

Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees

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

Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees

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

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

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

1. General appraisal of the FCʼs bill

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

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

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

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

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

2. Right of remuneration for VoD

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

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

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

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

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

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Blockchain – an ending or future for collective management organisations?Blockchain – an ending or future for collective management organisations? Dear members, everyone in the music industry is talking about “Blockchain” at the moment. But it’s not easy to find anyone who can explain in simple terms what it’s all about … Read more
Changes to the distribution of collections for internet useChanges to the distribution of collections for internet use New distribution keys will be used for the distribution of collections for internet use (audio and video on demand offers). For downloads, a new key of 25% for performing rights and 75% for reproduction rights shall be applied. For streaming, the split shall consist of 75% performing rights and 25% reproduction rights. Read more
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On 22 November 2017, the Federal Council presented its Message on the revision of the Federal Copyright Act (FCA), and referred the copyright bill (FCA-B) to the two houses of Parliament. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Copyright law revision: work starts in the parliamentary committees

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

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

Blockchain – an ending or future for collective management organisations?

Dear members, everyone in the music industry is talking about “Blockchain” at the moment. But it’s not easy to find anyone who can explain in simple terms what it’s all about … By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

British singer songwriter Imogen Heap is said to be the pioneer in the practical application of Blockchain technology for music distribution: Since October 2015, her single “Tiny Human” can be purchased and licensed online via the platform Ujomusic. The payment of the parties involved is based on pre-defined distribution rules via crypto currency. (Photo: Screenshot ujomusic.com)

Blockchain is a technology, a database, a register. It enables the secure exchange of information in a network which is based on the contribution of qualified participants (miners) who check the validity of the transaction by means of the processing power of their computers. All transactions are grouped into blocks which are linked with one another and each participant can check whether the validation operation is correct. This is also how Bitcoin works.

You haven’t quite grasped all of the above? Me neither. It appears, however, that this technology which is based on “smart contracts” gets away without intermediaries: The composer could therefore be paid for concert tickets or music streaming directly. There is even word in the street that this could be the end of collective management organisations.

“Collective management of rights is more than just pure technology. It is based on an important value: a joint defence of creative work.”

Same old story: Since online music emerged about 20 years ago, people predicted that the internet would free authors and help them to become independent of intermediaries. Well, collective management organisations are still here and they constitute an indispensable counterweight to internet giants.

Collective management of rights is, after all, more than just pure technology. It is based on an important value: a joint defence of creative work. Authors will always need an organisation which supports them, which negotiates contracts for them (including smart contracts) and campaign for fair transaction conditions (even if they have been certified by the Blockchain).

But hold on a minute: This statement does not allow us to rest on our laurels. It’s the duty of collective management organisations to be interested in the Blockchain, to understand it and to try and use it for the utmost advantage of authors and publishers.

“Collective management organisations hold essential information which ensures that the remuneration is transferred to the right persons.”

SUISA collaborates with its sister societies to achieve this aim – in Switzerland and abroad. This technology could, after all, be instrumental in avoiding conflicts among rights holders with respect to a work or regarding their due remuneration.

Collective management organisations hold essential information which ensures that the remuneration is transferred to the right persons, and they also possess powerful IT instruments. So how would it be possible that they’re skipped in the transaction validation process?

One thing is for sure: You must not leave the technology companies alone to deal with these questions. Otherwise the Blockchain would become a blocking chain – at the detriment of creative work!

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Mint Digital Services: FAQsMint Digital Services: FAQs SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs. Read more
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All comments will be moderated. This may take some time and we reserve the right not to publish comments that contradict the conditions of use.

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Dear members, everyone in the music industry is talking about “Blockchain” at the moment. But it’s not easy to find anyone who can explain in simple terms what it’s all about … By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

British singer songwriter Imogen Heap is said to be the pioneer in the practical application of Blockchain technology for music distribution: Since October 2015, her single “Tiny Human” can be purchased and licensed online via the platform Ujomusic. The payment of the parties involved is based on pre-defined distribution rules via crypto currency. (Photo: Screenshot ujomusic.com)

Blockchain is a technology, a database, a register. It enables the secure exchange of information in a network which is based on the contribution of qualified participants (miners) who check the validity of the transaction by means of the processing...read more

Swiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working group

Given the diverging reactions to the preliminary draft for the copyright law review, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga consulted the AGUR12 again in the summer of 2016 – the latter is a working group consisting of representatives from the affected sectors. The working group had the goal to look for conjoint solutions. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Swiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working group

The exhibition “Oh Yeah! Pop music in Switzerland” in the Museum for Communication in Berne covered 60 years of Swiss pop culture in the form of a multimedia experience (as pictured). An exhibition such as this would be able to benefit from a simplified rights acquisition via an extended collective licence (ECL). The introduction of such a licence has been one of the issues being discussed regarding a possible review of the Swiss Copyright Law. (Photo: Museum for Communication / Hannes Saxer)

For this purpose, several sub-groups were created; they were tasked with analysing several topics. SUISA was leading one of these sub-groups (working group 1) which focussed on four questions: Introduction of the extended collective licence, governance of the so-called “orphan” works, a possible new exception in copyright for science and the question of secondary publication rights of publicly financed scientific works.

Working group 1 consisted of the following representatives: Authors (Suisseculture), work users (DUN), libraries (BIS), music producers (IFPI), book publishers (SBVV), the Federal Office of Culture and the collective management organisations (Swissperform and SUISA). It was active between October 2016 and February 2017 and achieved the following results:

Extended collective licence

The extended collective licence (ECL) is a legal institution which is common in the Nordic countries, authorising collective management organisations to be active on behalf of all rightsholders as long as the societies are sufficiently representative. The working group holds the view that the ECL brings advantages both to rightsholders and users and consumers alike. It grants the former a remuneration for the mass exploitations of their works and performances, which individuals can hardly control and monitor. For the users, the ECL simplifies that process for obtaining the rights for projects which are connected with several goods protected by copyright (URG, CopA). This is particularly important in our digital age. Finally, the ECL could entail a growth in the number of cultural goods that are offered legally.

The working group has therefore presented a draft for a legal provision to introduce the ECL. It was careful when wording the draft that the legal basis would not be used to licence usages which clash with offers that are individually authorised by the rightsholders. Furthermore, the working group endeavoured to secure the freedom of the rightsholders by providing them with the opportunity to opt out from an ECL if the provisions are unacceptable for them.

Orphan works

Works are referred to as ‘orphan works’ if the rightsholders are unknown or cannot be located. Current legislation contains a provision on orphan works (Art. 22b URG/CopA) which authorises users to obtain the necessary exploitation rights via the licensed collective management organisations if the rightsholders cannot be contacted. This provision is, however, limited to sound and audiovisual recordings.

The working group suggests to expand this solution to all orphan works provided that they can be located in the archives of libraries, schools, museums and other institutions which contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage. It also recommends a solution in such cases where the collective management organisations cannot pay rightsholders after a period of ten years has lapsed: The money would then have to be invested into retirement funds and cultural promotion funds.

Exception for science

The working group is of the opinion that an exception of the exclusive right can be justified if the works are reproduced for scientific purposes by technical processes. These processes are, among others, data processing (text and data mining, TDM) and other similar procedures by means of which works are reproduced automatically in order for specific common features to be identified, for example. The European Union also plans to introduce such an exception.

The working group did, however, not reach an agreement concerning the issue whether this exception should be accompanied by a right to receive remuneration for the affected authors. The authors from the literature sector supported such a move whereas the users pleaded for an exception free of charge.

Technical measures simplify reading and processing of sources for scientists. Reading is a way to enjoy a work free from copyright. SUISA therefore reckons that a right to receive remuneration for the usage of sources in the context of a scientific activity is not advisable. An important factor, however, is to watch out whether the exploitation of the scientific research falls under copyright if this result contains recognisable, protected works. Furthermore, authors’ moral rights must remain unchanged, and the teaching activity must not fall under the new exception as they are already subject to a special regulation pursuant to Art. 19 and 20 URG/CopA (which provides for authors’ remuneration). The proposal of the working group takes these demands into account.

Secondary publication right

Work users, especially academic circles at Universities, wish to change the Swiss Code of Obligations in order to prohibit an author of a scientific work to assign his rights to make a work available to a publisher free of charge if it has been largely funded by the public authorities. It is the aim to allow authors to publish their works for free access on the internet, parallel to the publication by the publisher.

The working group was not able to submit a proposal regarding this issue as the opinions within the group varied too much. For publishers, such a provision would be the same as an actual expropriation and would prevent them from investing in the scientific sector.

What next?

The working group 1 has submitted its proposals to the AGUR12. The latter will discuss them together with other issues affecting the URG review (such as the fight against piracy or private copying). AGUR12 has finally established a supported compromise package where the three proposals described earlier by working group 1 were taken into consideration.

While it had to represent very different parts of the business, working group 1 managed to bring about an approach of the divergent views. This certainly contributed to a growth of the mutual understanding among the parties, and that a compromise could be found. A compromise, whose elements will be anchored in the law sooner or later, or so we hope.

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“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created” The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision. Read more
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  1. Maruchka says:

    Droit d’auteur – révision
    Je ne suis pas sure d’avoir compris le chapitre ‘pour la science’

    Une petite vraie interrogation/apréhension : où s’arrête l’exception, ‘pour la science’ ?
    peut-on réquisitionner quelqu’un – juste pour la science – ?

    la science c’est des mio de personnes…
    la science ne sait-elle pas aller demander de la même façon, que n’importe quelle personne, qui veut diffuser une oeuvre ?
    si le scientifique aspirait à travailler gratuit, pour sa bonne cause ; reste que prendre c’est voler et obliger c’est très rarement bien.

    suggestion D : le scientifique fait sa demande à l’auteur et lui demande son prix/propose un tarif le scientifique informe l’auteur, qui a 10-15 jours (vs. poste) pour exprimer et exposer un éventuel désaccord et définir un autre tarif, que celui proposé par le scientifique
    + un tarif minimum mentionné dans les articles – calculé en fonction de la valeur ajoutée par l’oeuvre et des tarifs en vigueur dans le secteur du scientifique ou de l’artiste (l’oeuvrier) ; le tarif le plus élevé étant appliqué
    – en effet, dans ce genre de situation, ne faudrait-il normalement demander un audit par l’artiste ou un contrat de travail pour le scientifique-artiste ?
    pourquoi pas ?
    + subventions sont à disposition du scientifique, qui voudrait investir dans une recherche, p.ex. musicale

    Souvenez-vous quand nous montions aux fronton, pour défendre l’idée, le droit à la réflexion.
    Rappelez-vous quand le propriétaire du piano ou des toiles et de la peinture était le propriétaire de l’oeuvre, car l’esprit n’avait que peu de valeur, c’était le bien matériel qui comptait et qui recevait la somme totale des mérites, l’artiste vivant d’amour de son art et d’eau fraîche, rosée
    jusqu’à ce que sa toile ou sa musique finisse par lui rapporter argent…, enfin…, à ceux qui détenaient ses oeuvres ; lui n’ayant pas connu le jeans

    certains sont montés aux barricades, ce ne fut ni simple, ni rapide, peut-être y a-t-il eu des vies risquées mais la raisons a eu le dessus et le droit d’auteur est né, affaiblissant sans doute l’esclavagisme (ancrage du concept)
    cela a pris du temps, pour nous apporter le droit d’auteur, donc, à présent, que nous pouvons en profiter, faut-il vraiment le concéder, sans tenir compte des autres outils et données scientifiques comme un travail artistique ?
    mais pourquoi ?

    Voilà pour la science.

    Par contre se prendre un droit d’auteur sur quelque chose de visible (=/= créé par l’homme), comme par exemple une plante brésilienne brevetée aux USA/par USA c’est inconcevable…

    C’est un sujet qui me tient à coeur… 🙂

    • Nicolas Pont says:

      La restriction en faveur de l’utilisation à des fins scientifiques a été notamment conçue pour favoriser la fouille de textes et de données (text and data mining ou TDM).

      Il s’agit par exemple de pouvoir analyser et découvrir d’éventuels liens entre les nombreuses publications scientifiques, afin de trouver de nouvelles pistes de recherche, notamment dans le domaine de la médecine.

      Sans restriction en faveur de l’utilisation à des fins scientifiques, les chercheurs devraient, pour fouiller et compiler des extraits de textes, demander l’autorisation préalable des auteurs de ces textes, protégés par le droit d’auteur. Cela n’est tout simplement pas possible d’un point de vue pratique.

      SUISA est favorable à la restriction, qui ne devrait toutefois que peu concerner les oeuvres musicales.

      Ce qui se fait dans le secret du laboratoire du chercheur est difficilement contrôlable et il est donc également complexe de faire valoir un droit d’auteur sur cet acte.

      En revanche, il est capital que le résultat de la recherche scientifique ne puisse pas être exploité librement, s’il reproduit des oeuvres protégées. Les auteurs de ces oeuvres protégées doivent avoir leur mot à dire sur cette exploitation et avoir les moyens de demander une rémunération. C’est l’une des priorités de SUISA.

      L’exception pour la science ne doit pas concerner l’enseignement, y compris dans les universités, puisque la loi prévoit un droit à rémunération en faveur des auteurs dans ce cadre. Ce droit à rémunération fait l’objet du tarif commun 7, lequel ne doit pas être touché par une exception pour la science. C’est l’autre priorité de SUISA.

      Nicolas Pont / Service juridique SUISA Lausanne

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Given the diverging reactions to the preliminary draft for the copyright law review, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga consulted the AGUR12 again in the summer of 2016 – the latter is a working group consisting of representatives from the affected sectors. The working group had the goal to look for conjoint solutions. Text by Vincent Salvadé

Swiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working group

The exhibition “Oh Yeah! Pop music in Switzerland” in the Museum for Communication in Berne covered 60 years of Swiss pop culture in the form of a multimedia experience (as pictured). An exhibition such as this would be able to benefit from a simplified rights acquisition via an extended collective licence (ECL). The introduction of such a licence has been one of the issues being discussed regarding a possible review of the Swiss Copyright Law. (Photo: Museum...read more

“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision.

“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

Peter Reber is a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser and a SUISA member since 1971 (Foto: zVg)

Peter Reber, you have been a SUISA member since 1971. Why?
Peter Reber: It goes without saying that you don’t go to the baker and help yourself from the shelf with the bread rolls without paying. Not everyone understands that you can’t simply use intellectual property without paying, as it’s much more complex and needs explaining in more depth. Composers and lyricists are not in a position to manage their interests on a national and international level themselves. Without an institution such as SUISA and its international partners, I would never have been able to find an economic foundation for my activity. Many songs would never have been written. SUISA does not just manage my financial interests, but is also the prerequisite for a diverse range of activities in our country.

Copyright issues are subject to change. How do artists and musicians have to adapt to it?
Of course it also is down to us artists to deal with those issues. We witness such developments in every day situations, after all. Due to the digital revolution such as loss-free copying and the rapid development of the new media, i.e. the internet, many new questions have to be answered. As an artist, I pass my feedback and my issues on to SUISA; in return, I benefit from the workshops and infos which SUISA offers to us authors.

The Federal Council intends to tie collective management organisations more closely to the government. What is your stance regarding these plans?
I have been a SUISA member for 45 years. As a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser, I know the entire spectrum of the music business. It is very complex, as it ranges from aesthetic via organisational to legal issues. Due to its flexibility and the flat hierarchy within SUISA it has always been possible for me to find someone to talk to about my issues. My issues have always been in good hands as a consequence of the profound knowledge of the SUISA staff. I would have huge concerns if the government and the politicians would increase the influence and control over our copyright society. It is important to me that SUISA retains a certain independence. Only if it does, can it represent the interests of us authors in a credible manner and does not turn into a playground for other political and economic interests.

Where could copyright be improved from your point of view?
There is always and everywhere room for improvement. Important steps have been introduced by SUISA already in some ways: Authors have the opportunity today to let SUISA only represent them in partial aspects and to manage the other areas themselves, for example.
The biggest problem, however, has been and will remain the fact that the public still does not show enough understanding for the fact that intellectual property is worth protecting and must be paid for, too. That’s an area where us authors and our SUISA have to continue to work on.

On Peter Reber
With more than 40 gold and platinum awards for more than 2 million sold sound recordings, Peter Reber can be counted among the most successful Swiss composers, lyricists and performers. From 1968 to 1981, he has been member of the successful band Peter, Sue & Marc, after that he began an equally successful solo career. During his career, Peter Reber has written more than one thousand lyrics, melodies and arrangements and provided six Swiss contributions to the Eurovision Song Contest. His compositions have been published on sound recordings by more than hundred national and international artists, from folk musicians to rock musicians. 2016, he received the Swiss Music Award for his life’s work. www.peterreber.ch

The interview with Peter Reber was conducted for the “Sessionsbrief” (session letter) of Swisscopyright. Swisscopyright is the joint umbrella of the five Swiss collective management organisations ProLitteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform. With the “Sessionsbrief”, the societies inform interested parties from within the political scene as well as the public on subjects affecting copyright.

Swisscopyright Sessionsbrief September 2016 (PDF)
Swisscopyright Website

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  1. Giorgio Tebaldi says:

    Lieber Jean-Pierre

    Die SUISA kommuniziert seit 2008 die Löhne der Geschäftsleitung transparent in ihrem Jahresbericht (www.suisa.ch/jahresbericht). 2015 belief sich der Lohn unseres Generaldirektors auf CHF 307’506, wie man im letzten Jahresbericht auf Seite 32 lesen kann; insgesamt erhielten die drei GL-Mitglieder CHF 776’349. Das ist um einiges tiefer als die von Dir genannten CHF 400’000 pro Person.

    Die Verwaltungskosten sind für die SUISA natürlich ein wichtiges Thema, und wir sind entsprechend darum bemüht, unseren Aufwand so gering wie möglich zu halten. Dass die Kosten der SUISA – und auch der anderen vier Schweizer Verwertungsgesellschaften – in einem angemessenen Rahmen sind hat Ende 2015 übrigens eine Studie im Auftrag des Instituts für Geistiges Eigentum (IGE) gezeigt: https://blog.suisa.ch/de/die-suisa-arbeitet-kostenbewusst/ / https://www.ige.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/Urheberrecht/d/Studie_Verwaltungskosten/MM_IGE_Abschluss_der_Verwaltungskostenanalyse14012016.pdf.

    Herzliche Grüsse
    Giorgio Tebaldi / Leiter Kommunikation

  2. Nicht nur als langjähriges SUISA-Mitglied (Tonträger “Face the world” von A touch of class; jp’s acoustic instrumentals & Disco (S)Hits) bin zwar generell und grundsätzlich ebenso gegen staatliche Eingriffe aller Art.
    Da ich bis Ende April ’13 hauptberuflich 18 Jahre lang als geschäftsleitender Berater der Communication Executive AG (Tochter des Headhunters Engineering Management Selection Schweiz) aktiv war, ist mir allerdings konkret bekannt, welche fürstlichen Löhne sich die erweiterte Geschäftsleitung der SUISA seit Jahrzehnten genehmigt: Da es sich dabei um über 400’000.- CHF Jahresgehalt pro Person und Jahr handelt, ist nur völlig logisch und nachvollziehbar, dass die Entschädigungen an all die echten Musiker und musikalisch eher trivialen Musikanten zur Deckung dieser “Overhead”-Kosten ZU LASTEN der Künstler allzu mickrig ausfallen müssen!
    Gegen diesen Schutz der GF-Pfründe ist längst konkreter Handlungsbedarf angezeigt; und es wäre äusserst sinnvoll, wenn die SUISA-Verantwortlichen diesbezüglich selbst ein Einsehen hätten!…

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The famous and popular musician Peter Reber has been a SUISA member since 1971. In a written interview, the composer, lyricist, artist and publisher explains, why his collective management organisation is important for him and why – from his point of view – it is not necessary that collective management organisations should be subject to a stricter supervision.

“Without an organisation like SUISA many songs would never have been created”

Peter Reber is a composer, lyricist, publisher, artist and event organiser and a SUISA member since 1971 (Foto: zVg)

Peter Reber, you have been a SUISA member since 1971. Why?
Peter Reber: It goes without saying that you don’t go to the baker and help yourself from the shelf with the bread rolls without paying. Not everyone understands that you can’t simply use intellectual property without paying, as it’s much more complex and needs explaining in...read more