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Corporate events with music: what and how much is payable in licence fees?

Christmas dinners, team events and New Years’ cocktail parties – winter is the peak season for corporate events. If music is involved, the event must be reported to SUISA and licence fees are due. Text by Martin Korrodi

Corporate events with music: what and how much is payable in licence fees?

Winter is the peak season for corporate events. If music – live or recorded – is involved, please remember that remuneration is due. (Photo: Poznyakov / Shutterstock.com)

Neither the events a company organises for its employees, nor those it organises for its customers qualify as events accessible to the public. It is often assumed, therefore, that these are private events which need not be reported to SUISA since the copyright rules for private use apply.

Not open to the public, but not private either

Music use is only considered private when it takes place within a small circle of people with close ties to each other, like relatives and close friends. This is not generally the case with corporate events. That is why, for copyright purposes, these events do not qualify as private use – a licence (permission) to use music must therefore be obtained from SUISA.

Live bands and DJs for dancing and entertainment

Companies often hire live bands for events like Christmas dinners and cocktail parties to entertain guests while they eat and accompany the dancing afterwards. Or dinner may be followed by a party with a DJ set. The use of music – live or recorded – at these events is regulated by Common Tariff Hb (CT Hb) which covers music uses for dancing and entertainment.

If the event is held in a venue with a capacity of less than 400 people, the flat rate for small events (from CHF 33.30) applies. These flat rates apply as long as any entrance fee charged is less than CHF 17.00. If the capacity of the venue exceeds 400 people, the licence fee is 5% of the music-related costs, i.e. notably, the fees of the performing musicians in the case of live music, or 6.5% in the case of recorded music.

General meetings with musical intermissions

General meetings and product presentations are not entertainment events as such, but music regularly plays an important role in such occasions. Musicians perform live, or music may be played from recordings, at the start, at the end, or during breaks between discussions and presentations. Musical intermissions at such events are also covered by CT Hb – licence fees are calculated in the same way as for the above-described events.

Workshops, seminars, and training courses

Music may also play a role in a completely different type of corporate event, for example when music is used in the framework of a business workshop or in videos during seminar presentations and training courses. Such uses are generally licensed under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a), which applies to background music in particular.

Sometimes the conference hall operator holds a permanent licence under CT 3a and the organiser of the event does not have to do anything. Otherwise, a flat rate based on the relevant surface area applies (from CHF 19.20 per month).

Such events may also involve uses which are not covered by CT 3a. For example, if a feature film is projected, Common Tariff E applies and, in addition, the performance rights must be obtained from the film renter; if live music is played in the framework of the event, CT Hb applies.

Concerts for staff

Certain companies organise private concerts with well-known live acts for their staff. The purpose of a concert is not to provide musical accompaniment for a social gathering or to animate the dance floor – the focus is solely and entirely on the music played by the band.

Concerts are regulated by Common Tariff K (CT K) which, in the case of small concerts (less than 1000 persons), provides for a licence fee of 9% of the music-related costs. In addition to concerts, CT K applies to other performances like stand-up comedy shows or magician’s shows, albeit with lower rates.

Musical events for customers

And finally, there are events which are specially organised for customers: for the opening of a new location, for example, or to celebrate a corporate anniversary. Unless a concert is involved, these events are licensed in accordance with CT Hb. Here too, in the absence of ticket revenues, licence fees are determined based on music-related costs.

Links to the application forms on SUISA’s website
CT Hb: www.suisa.ch/hb
CT 3a: www.suisa.ch/3a
CT K: www.suisa.ch/k
A set list with information about the songs, composers and playing duration must always be attached to applications under CT K; for applications under CT HB, a set list is only required in the case of live music.
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Christmas dinners, team events and New Years’ cocktail parties – winter is the peak season for corporate events. If music is involved, the event must be reported to SUISA and licence fees are due. Text by Martin Korrodi

Corporate events with music: what and how much is payable in licence fees?

Winter is the peak season for corporate events. If music – live or recorded – is involved, please remember that remuneration is due. (Photo: Poznyakov / Shutterstock.com)

Neither the events a company organises for its employees, nor those it organises for its customers qualify as events accessible to the public. It is often assumed, therefore, that these are private events which need not be reported to SUISA since the copyright rules for private use apply.

Not open to the public, but not private either

Music use is only considered private when it takes place within a small...read more

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

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

From the 2021 Annual Report

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

1. Legislation

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

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

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

2. Tariffs

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

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

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

3. Distribution Rules

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

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

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

4. Regulatory authority

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

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

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

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

From the 2021 Annual Report

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

1. Legislation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Levy for private copies on laptops and external hard disks

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

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

For MP3 players and the like:

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

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

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

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

Registration of storage devices subject to a mandatory levy

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies

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

How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies

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

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

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

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

How are the blank media revenues distributed?

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

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

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

What sources are used for private copying today?

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

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

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

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

How do the Distribution Rules account for the new circumstances?

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

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

Point 5.5.5 has thus been amended to read:

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

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

Who receives more and who less money from private copying?

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

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

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

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

Further Information:
SUISA Distribution Rules

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

How private copying produces revenue – distribution of blank media levies

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

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

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax – none wants to listen to heavy metal during a medical examination or treatment. And commercials too only work with the right music, often specially commissioned. In short, there are any number of examples of the ways in which music can contribute to the success of a business.

Remuneration for composers, lyricists, and publishers

It follows that those who compose the music and write the lyrics – the authors – are entitled to payment. This is done through SUISA, which grants licences for the different music uses and collects the fees in exchange. The amount of the licence fees depends essentially on the value status of the music in the corresponding use. For example, in the case of a symphonic concert, which one generally attends just for the music, the fees will be higher than for the background music in the waiting room at the doctor’s where listening to music is not the main purpose of the visit.

Music from all over the world thanks to SUISA

The tariffs for the different music uses are negotiated at regular intervals between SUISA and the associations of users (e.g. Gastrosuisse for music uses in the hospitality industry); they are jointly set, and then approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights.

And because SUISA represents the entire world repertoire in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, a licence from SUISA allows the holder to use virtually any music, from anywhere the world over. SUISA distributes the proceeds worldwide to the authors and publishers of the music thus used. For each CHF 100 it collects, SUISA distributes CHF 87 to music authors and publishers.

SUISA issues licences to over 120.000 users, including radio and TV broadcasters, concert organisers, clubs, cafés and restaurants, event and party organisers, shop owners, and online music services. This year, SUISA is planning to conduct a targeted market campaign covering music uses in businesses and will be contacting potential customers directly with its offerings.

Music uses in companies

Three of the most common music uses in businesses are explained below:

1. Background music in sales rooms and offices

In Switzerland, over 100,000 businesses play music via different technologies to create the desired atmosphere on their premises – sales rooms, offices, waiting rooms, etc. In company cars, when on hold, or in the lift, music entertains your customers and employees. Various studies show that music also serves to steer consumer behaviour.

Such uses of music in businesses qualify as public uses and are subject to a fee. Businesses accordingly pay a fee under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) to the authors, publishers, artists, or producers. “Common” means that in addition to covering the copyrights managed by SUISA, the tariff also covers those of the other copyright administration societies like Swissperform (for performing artists and producers) and Suissimage (for film creators). SUISA acts as central collecting agent for this tariff on behalf of all the Swiss collecting societies and distributes their share of the collected revenues to the authors and publishers of the music.

Examples of background music uses (CT 3a)
Where?
• Office premises (e.g. common rooms, offices, meeting rooms)
• Sales areas (e.g. sales rooms, restaurants, inns and hotels)
• Company vehicles
• Lines on hold
• Museums, exhibitions
• Medical practices (patient rooms, surgeries, waiting rooms)
How?
• Retransmission of radio broadcasts and music recordings
• Retransmission of TV broadcasts and films (film projections with announced time and venue; public viewings on giant screens with a diagonal exceeding 3 metres are regulated separately).
• Operation of interactive multimedia terminals
Further information background music uses (CT 3a)
CT 3a portal
SUISA website, about CT 3a: www.suisa.ch/3a
Distribution of CT 3a revenues:
www.suisablog.ch/en/how-suisa-distributes-fees-collected-for-background-entertainment/

2. Videos and films with music on the Internet

Ever more businesses are relying on digital formats to reach their customers through professional websites or contributions to social media. Digital communication is important to reach and maintain a connection with customers and other target groups, and not only in extra-ordinary times like during this pandemic. Videos with a musical backdrop play an essential role in this regard, contributing to make a product or service more appealing to customers.

Persons wishing to use a music recording in a video must first understand the distinction between the two types of licensable rights, namely:

  • on the one hand, the rights in the audio recording which are held by the record label;
  • on the other, the copyrights in the work itself, i.e. the composition and lyrics, if any, which are held by the music publisher and/or the authors.

The record label is responsible for the neighbouring rights in the audio recording. In the case of a video recording with music, permission and licences for the synchronisation and re-recording of the recording must be obtained from the label.

For the author’s rights in the work, the music publisher and SUISA are responsible. SUISA grants licences for the reproduction of the work as part of the video production, and for the making available of the work in the video on an own website and/or on social media platforms. The music publisher grants the licence for the synchronisation right in a work. To publish a video with a musical backdrop, one must first contact the publisher and ask whether the song can actually be used in a video.

The licensing procedure is basically the same for any company. For smaller firms with no more than 49 employees and annual turnover up to CHF 9 million, SUISA offers an all-in solution with its partner Audion. You can purchase a licence covering both the author’s rights and those of the label/producer for an annual fee of CHF 344. Thanks to this all-in arrangement, small businesses may use as many short videos with music as they wish to promote their image, products, and services on their website and social media profiles. This arrangement ensures easy access to a licence for the use of music protected by copyright.

Further information about the use of videos with music on websites
Customer portal Music on websites
FAQs:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/online/music-on-the-internet-for-small-businesses/questions-answers.html
SUISAblog articles about the all-in arrangement:
www.suisablog.ch/en/collective-management-is-a-service-for-music-creators-and-music-users-alike/

3. Music for company events

Christmas parties, general meetings, product presentations – music is often an important component of company events. These are licensed under Common Tariff Hb (CT Hb) which regulates music for dance and entertainment outside the hospitality industry. CT Hb applies to live performances: a band hired for the Christmas party, for example, or a DJ at a staff party, as well as events with musical intermissions such as general meetings, or company events organised for customers.

In terms of rates, the tariff distinguishes between small and large events. Small events are those organised in venues with a capacity of up to 400 people. The fees here are flat fees, per day and per event, depending on the number of persons attending. In the case of large events, since companies do not generally sell tickets for admission, tariff rates are calculated based on the costs sustained in connection with the use of the music. These costs typically consist of the artists’ fees and expenses, instrument rental fees, and the rent charged for the venue. If admission is charged, other calculation bases may apply.

The tariff also provides for a number of discounts – for example, for companies that conclude a contract with SUISA under CT Hb for all their events, or which organise more than 10 events per year.

Companies in the hospitality industry
Inns, pubs, and restaurants:
For entertainment and dance events in restaurants and the like, the applicable tariff is CT H, not CT Hb. CT H applies to the same events as CT Hb, but because of the association with food and beverage, another calculation model is used which takes into account the price of the cheapest alcoholic beverage in addition to the number of persons attending and the admission price.
Hotels:
It is not always clear for hotels what surface areas to use as the calculation basis, so the following should be helpful: CT 3a also applies to the surface area of hotel rooms. SUISA often receives reports from hotels where the surface areas of the rooms have not been included in the total usage area. For hotel rooms, depending on the total area concerned (rooms and common rooms), an additional fee is charged on top of the base fee (Common Tariff 3a, section 6).
Further information about music events
Outside the hospitality industry, CT Hb:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/organisers-of-events/events-parties/parties-and-other-dance-events.html
For the hospitality industry, CT H:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/restaurants-hotels/clubs-bars-restaurants/djs-or-musicians.html
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Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax –...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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  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

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.

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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

How SUISA distributes fees collected for background entertainment

More than 100,000 companies in Switzerland use music, TV and films for background entertainment purposes. For these usages, the companies pay a fee based on Common Tariff 3a to authors, publishers, performers or producers. How and to whom are these revenues paid? Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

How SUISA distributes fees collected for background entertainment

Considered by many to be part of the pub atmosphere just like teak furniture or dartboards: premier league games on the telly. Producers of the broadcasts have the right to receive a remuneration for usages outside domestic and private circles or home life. (Photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock.com)

Just like lighting or decoration, suitable background music is an important contributing factor to make customers and guests feel good in a shop, hairdresser or restaurant. Plus, live transmissions of a football or cricket match are equally part of the interior décor of a pub, just like dark furniture, wooden shields and the dartboard.

Similar to the obligation to pay makers of the furniture, the decoration or the lighting, composers, lyricists, performers, scriptwriters or producers are entitled by law to receive a remuneration for the use of their works and performances outside the private circle. The five Swiss collective management organisations Pro Litteris, SSA, SUISA, Suissimage and Swissperform are responsible for this task. SUISA collects the remuneration for the use of music, films and TV broadcasts pursuant to the Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) on their behalves.

What does SUISA do with the collected money from background entertainment?

The first step is that the collected money is split among the five Swiss collective management organisations based on a fixed distribution key. The SUISA share for the coverage of music contents is slightly more than half of the income. Each society is then responsible in a second step to pay out these collected fees to authors and artists, publishers and producers.

In the case of SUISA, 88% of the above-mentioned fifty percent is distributed to the rightsholders. This means that of the CHF 100 that were collected, CHF 88 are paid out to creators and their publishers.

How and to whom are these revenues paid? SUISA usually knows three different possibilities of distribution: direct distribution, blanket distribution with programme material and blanket distribution without programme material (see box). Programme material consists of lists with the works which were performed or broadcast.

In the case of the CT 3a, the money is nearly exclusively paid by way of a lump-sum without programme material. Submitting and processing the work lists in this category would be linked to an enormous effort for customers and SUISA alike, and they would be in no proportion to the actual benefit. Instead, SUISA uses the programme material already available from various sources to allocate the collections made on the basis of the CT 3a. SUISA ensures during this process that lists and/or usages are considered for this allocation, enabling that the remuneration is distributed as fairly as possible.

A distribution which is as fair as possible – even without a list of the performed works

Based on empirical data there are cases where it is assumed that a major part of the companies, shops, restaurants etc. uses works which are also broadcast on the radio, resp. TV. Accordingly, a major part of the income from CT 3a is allocated on the basis of the programme material for the use of music, TV broadcasts and films from radio and TV transmissions. SUISA also takes into account that not just pop, rock or urban is played but also other genres such as traditional or folk music and even church music. A part of the collections is thus also distributed on the basis of programme lists for church performances, brass music or yodelling clubs.

In order to distribute the money to the creators and artists, it is thus allocated to other similar distribution categories for performing and broadcasting rights (see distribution rules, Art. 5.5.2).
Should a member receive a payment from one of these distribution categories, it also receives a share from the income for background music entertainment from CT 3a.

In some exceptional cases in background entertainment, there is a direct accounting process for the distribution of collected fees. This happens, for example, for music which is used in a museum for an exhibition, or music which is used in a company’s phone loop for a longer period. In such cases, the music in question is usually commissioned.

SUISA distributes four times a year. In 2018, more than CHF 132m were paid out to composers, lyricists and publishers of music.

Types of distribution and distribution categories

SUISA distributes the collections from authors’ rights in three different ways:

  1. In a direct accounting scenario, copyright remuneration can be allocated directly across the available lists of works that have been performed. This is also possible for concerts, for example: If songs of five co-authors are performed during a concert, these five rightsholders receive the fees collected for this concert.
  2. In the case of a blanket distribution with programme material, copyright remuneration is calculated on the basis of a point value. For SRG broadcasts, for example, SUISA receives a lump-sum payment on the one hand and detailed broadcast reports on the other hand. The broadcast reports include details on how many seconds of music have been transmitted in total, plus the exact duration of each work. A point value per second is determined based on these details and the remuneration is paid to authors and publishers of the played works.
  3. A blanket distribution without programme material takes place when it comes to collections based on tariffs where there is no information provided on the works that have actually been used, or if that information cannot be established. The distribution of such income is made on the basis of available programme material from several sources. The exact allocation of the money is specified in the SUISA distribution rules in detail.

The collected revenue is distributed on the basis of distribution categories. The latter correspond to various usages, e.g. music in concerts, on radio and TV channels of the SRG, or private broadcasters, in churches etc.

Details can be found in the SUISA distribution rules.

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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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More than 100,000 companies in Switzerland use music, TV and films for background entertainment purposes. For these usages, the companies pay a fee based on Common Tariff 3a to authors, publishers, performers or producers. How and to whom are these revenues paid? Text by Giorgio Tebaldi

How SUISA distributes fees collected for background entertainment

Considered by many to be part of the pub atmosphere just like teak furniture or dartboards: premier league games on the telly. Producers of the broadcasts have the right to receive a remuneration for usages outside domestic and private circles or home life. (Photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock.com)

Just like lighting or decoration, suitable background music is an important contributing factor to make customers and guests feel good in a shop, hairdresser or restaurant. Plus, live transmissions of a football or cricket match are equally part of the...read more

Changes in distribution for Common Tariff K and Z revenues

The CHF 20 limit for the distribution of revenues under Common Tariffs K (concerts) and Z (circuses) has been eliminated. As a result, amounts previously allocated to distribution category 4C will be otherwise regulated. The changes concern points 4.1, 4.2, 5.4 and 5.5 of SUISA’s Distribution Rules. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in distribution for Common Tariff K and Z revenues

SUISA has optimised its distribution rules for revenues from live performances. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Revenues from CT K and CT Z had hitherto been allocated to two different distribution categories. Amounts over CHF 20 per work were allocated to DC 4B “Concerts and other performances with revenues of more than CHF 20 per work”. Distribution in this category was made on a per file basis. On the other hand, performance revenues of less than CHF 20 per work were allocated to DC 4C “Concerts with revenues of up to CHF 20 per work” and were then distributed on a flat-rate basis.

As is in the nature of flat-rate solutions which at best only approximate real circumstances, this practice did not always produce satisfactory results. In the case of DC 4C, a flat point value, calculated based on the revenues and programme information of all the events assigned to this distribution category, was applied.

Distribution based on actual usage is more advantageous

The flat point value actually applied could be higher or lower than the actual point value of an individual event. Therefore, it could happen that entitled parties would receive a higher amount than that actually paid by the organiser in respect of an event for which only the minimum fee under Tariff K had been paid. Naturally, the opposite was equally possible. The changes made in the Distribution Rules now eliminate the potential disadvantage or advantage for the beneficiaries of DC 4C.

In practice, these changes remove the CHF 20 limit and eliminate distribution category 4C altogether. Henceforth, all revenues from CT K and CT Z – regardless of amount or point value per work – will be allocated to and distributed in DC 4B. The rules for DC 4B itself remain unchanged; only the name of this category has been changed. It is now called: “Concerts & concert-like performances.”

The revenues previously allocated to DC 4C will henceforth flow into DC 4B as well. These consist in the allocations from revenues without programme information from Tariffs Hb, L, Ma, 3a, 7, 8, K and Z, as well as Tariff B revenues from orchestra consortia (with programme information).

Overview of changes in Distribution Rules

Here, in a nutshell, are the advantages of the changes in the Distribution Rules:

  • Even smaller amounts will be equitably distributed per file when programme information is available. This corresponds to a per-work distribution where the proceeds from an event will be distributed directly to the entitled parties.
  • Hitherto, only the entitled parties under DC 4C had the benefit of the above-listed allocations. Since both distribution categories (4B and 4C) relate to concert repertoires, there is no objective reason not to take into account DC 4B works in the distribution of allocations. Thanks to these changes, this will now be the case.
  • By introducing per-file distribution for all performances subject to Tariffs K and Z, settlement statements will be more transparent. Members will now be able to clearly see the make-up of their revenues from live performances under this Tariff.

The changes in the Distribution Rules will first be implemented in the September 2019 distribution.

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The CHF 20 limit for the distribution of revenues under Common Tariffs K (concerts) and Z (circuses) has been eliminated. As a result, amounts previously allocated to distribution category 4C will be otherwise regulated. The changes concern points 4.1, 4.2, 5.4 and 5.5 of SUISA’s Distribution Rules. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in distribution for Common Tariff K and Z revenues

SUISA has optimised its distribution rules for revenues from live performances. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Revenues from CT K and CT Z had hitherto been allocated to two different distribution categories. Amounts over CHF 20 per work were allocated to DC 4B “Concerts and other performances with revenues of more than CHF 20 per work”. Distribution in this category was made on a per file basis. On the other hand, performance revenues of less than CHF 20 per work were allocated to...read more

Common 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. Text by Martin Korrodi; Video by Sibylle Roth

On 15 February 2019, SUISA dispatched the first 1,000 CT 3a invoices for usage period 2019 to customers such as selling businesses, shopping malls, catering outlets or guesthouse landlords. Prior to the first dispatch, the migrated Billag data was analysed and manually cleaned up in order to ensure that the invoices were going to be correctly generated. The dispatch scope was intentionally kept small so that any technical or organisational problems could be detected and resolved quickly.

With increasing experience, the dispatch volume could be increased step by step – this way, after five months (February to June), more than half of the 3a customers have already received an invoice. Until mid-June, about 58,000 invoices were sent out with a total invoiced of nearly CHF 17 million. From April onwards, and in addition to the invoices, the first reminders had to be dispatched, from May the second reminders so that up to 20,000 mailings per month left the building.

CT 3a customer service in numbers

In line with the big number of invoices and reminders, the customer service must process a lot of feedback and queries. More than 2,000 phone conversations with customers were held in May alone, and about 600 electronic messages (contact forms and e-mails) were processed. Add to that about 160 mailings that reach us per month via traditional post.

What’s great is that many of our customers visit our website www.suisa.ch/3a and use the online portal for their queries and issues. Since the beginning of the year, 504 new customers registered online and obtained a CT3a licence, and 1,419 customers asked questions regarding their invoices via the online portal. The tariff allows a 5% discount to those customers who use the online portal for processing their CT 3a business with SUISA.

Under the leadership of Nevio Tebaldi, a team of 16 people is looking after the 3a customers; they share 12 full-time positions (1,200 in job percent). During the development phase, three additional people who support the team and take over duties in the field of data cleanup are available temporarily.

Frequently asked questions

The most frequently asked questions by the customers affect the new responsibility for the invoicing process from 2019. The systems change in terms of the radio and TV reception fees and the closure of the Billag AG seem to have created confusion so that customers do not always understand why they receive an invoice from SUISA and what the purpose of the owed fee is.

The confusion of the copyright fee with the radio and TV reception fees is probably due to the fact that Billag had dispatched both invoices until the end of 2018 – one of them on behalf of the Federal Office of Communication (Bakom) and the other one on behalf of SUISA. Within the commercial field, this co-operation made absolute sense since businesses which run a radio or TV set in their business location do not just have to pay the fee to the Bakom but – unlike private persons – require an additional licence for copyright pursuant to CT 3a.

From 2019, the starting point for radio and TV reception fees has changed fundamentally: A general fee is replacing the previously device-based reception fee. This general fee will be levied nationwide to all households and businesses. The obligation to pay the fee as well as the amount of the levy is, additionally, depending on the turnover of businesses: Businesses with a turnover of less than CHF 500,000 are exempt of the fee – businesses with higher turnovers are automatically invoiced by the Federal Tax Administration Office in a six-tier tariff category system.

With regards to the copyright fees based on CT 3a, there are, however, no major changes: The tariff continues to depend on the actual usage scope and is thus based on the area music is piped to. There is no turnover threshold – even businesses with less than CHF 500,000 have to pay a fee for copyright. The only “change” affects the sender of the invoices which is no longer Billag but SUISA.

The “successor” of Billag, Serafe AG plays no role for business customers since it exclusively invoices private households with the radio and TV reception fees on behalf of Bakom and has therefore nothing to do with businesses.

New contacts for businesses from 2019. (Graphics: Sibylle Roth)

 

Usage scope covered by CT 3a
The following usages are relevant for CT 3a: all exploitations in venues outside domestic and private circle or home life, such as in selling businesses, shopping malls, restaurants, lounges, office spaces, work spaces, storage spaces, company vehicles (car radio), ski lift stations, meeting rooms, seminar rooms, guest rooms (these are defined as guest and patient rooms as well as holiday homes), museums, exhibitions etc.
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SUISA makes music possibleSUISA makes music possible A new mission statement, a new organisation chart! Fairness, dedication and passion – these three concepts make up SUISA’s new mission statement. “SUISA makes music possible” is at the centre of the new mission statement. The same principle has been applied to SUISA’s new organisation chart. Read more
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  1. Alain Cloux SA says:

    Bonjour,
    Nous sommes 2 personnes au bureau, qui payons chacun notre redevance à nos adresses privées respectives.
    Nous écoutons la radio au bureau.
    Pourquoi l’entreprise doit elle également payer une redevance, alors que la musique n’est diffusée que pour nous 2 ?

    Qu’est-ce que le droit voisin ??

    Merci d’avance pour vos réponses.
    Cordialement

    • Madame, Monsieur,

      Merci de votre question.

      Les factures reçues à vos adresses privées que vous mentionnez concernent la redevance de réception radio/TV obligatoire, qui doit être payée par les ménages privés et les entreprises en vertu de la loi sur la radio et la télévision (LRTV). SUISA facture aux entreprises les montants dus pour les droits d’auteur. Ces deux éléments n’ont aucun lien entre eux et sont utilisés pour financer différents secteurs d’activité.

      La redevance de réception radio/TV est perçue à la demande de l’Office fédéral de la communication (OFCOM). Ces recettes sont réparties en faveur des émetteurs de radio et de télévision suisses afin qu’ils puissent produire des émissions. Cette redevance est facturée par la société Serafe SA (pour les ménages privés) et par l’administration fédérale des finances (pour les entreprises). Les entreprises dont le chiffre d’affaires est inférieur à CHF 500 000 sont exonérées de cette redevance.

      Redevances de droit d’auteur: SUISA gère les droits d’auteur des musicien-ne-s, compositeurs-trices, producteurs-trices, etc. qui créent des contenus musicaux ou audiovisuels (vidéo ou TV) et qui ont droit à une rémunération pour leurs prestations et l’utilisation de leurs œuvres. Nos factures se fondent sur la loi sur le droit d’auteur et sur le tarif commun 3a. Le tarif commun 3a permet de facturer ensemble les redevances pour les droits d’auteur et les droits voisins.

      Votre entreprise a besoin de licences SUISA dans les cas suivants, par exemple:

      – Dans vos locaux internes ou dans des espaces externes sous votre responsabilité, de la musique ou des films/vidéos sont diffusés à partir d’une radio, d’un CD, d’Internet, etc. et sont rendus perceptible pour les employés et/ou les clients.
      – Vous mettez à disposition des appareils pour la diffusion d’émissions de radio ou de télévision. Par exemple dans des chambres d’hôtes ou des salles d’attente, des appartements de vacances, un foyer, etc.
      – Vous diffusez de la musique dans votre file d’attente téléphonique.
      – Vous disposez de véhicules d’entreprise avec autoradios.
      – Vous mettez de la musique ou des vidéos sur Internet : site web, Youtube, Instagram, etc.

      Si aucun de ces critères ne s’applique à votre entreprise, nous vous prions de nous le confirmer via notre portail clients sous la rubrique «Déclaration de cessation»: http://www.suisa.ch/portailclients

      Remarque importante: si vous n’avez pas de licence, vous êtes tenus d’interdire à vos employé-e-s, par le biais d’instructions écrites, la consommation d’éléments tels que musique, Youtube, vidéo, télévision, etc.

      Les droits voisins sont des droits eux aussi définis dans la loi sur le droit d’auteur, pour les artistes exécutants, les producteurs de phonogrammes et de vidéogrammes et les organismes de radiodiffusion et de télévision. Vous trouverez d’autres informations sur les droits voisins et sur le droit d’auteur en général sur le site de l’Institut Fédéral de la Propriété Intellectuelle: http://www.ige.ch/fr/proteger-votre-pi/droit-dauteur/notions-fondamentales

      En espérant que ces informations vous auront été utiles, nous vous prions de recevoir, Madame, Monsieur, nos meilleures salutations.
      Michael Meier / Service clientèle SUISA

Leave a Reply

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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. Text by Martin Korrodi; Video by Sibylle Roth

On 15 February 2019, SUISA dispatched the first 1,000 CT 3a invoices for usage period 2019 to customers such as selling businesses, shopping malls, catering outlets or guesthouse landlords. Prior to the first dispatch, the migrated...read more

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Businesses that play background music on their premises or show broadcasts on screens are required to pay licence fees in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. As of 2019, SUISA will once again manage all customers under this Tariff directly. Text by Martin Korrodi

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Under copyright law, playing background music in a shopping centre like in the above example qualifies as a use outside the private sphere. That is why businesses need a licence, which they can obtain from SUISA in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. (Photo: Unsplash, Victor Xok)

Pursuant to the Federal Copyright Act (Article 10(2)(f)), the reception of broadcasts in businesses is a use outside the private sphere and is therefore subject to a licence. As a result, in addition to paying Billag reception fees – and conversely to private households – businesses which play radio or TV sets on their premises need to licence the authors’ rights under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a). These licences are granted by SUISA.

Hitherto, Billag AG would invoice the licence fees under CT 3a for SUISA’s account. Since Billag was also responsible for invoicing radio and TV reception fees, the cooperation generated advantageous synergies. Both invoices could be issued to customers from a single source, saving time and effort on all sides.

Meanwhile, owing to a number of developments, this cooperation cannot be continued after the end of this year: thus in 2015, the Federal Act on Radio and Television was revised and the device-based reception fee was replaced by a general levy. This levy is collected from all households – regardless whether or not they actually possess a reception device.

Uses outside the private sphere are subject to licence fees

Under the new system, only businesses with turnover in excess of CHF 500,000 have to pay the licence fee. The State estimates that about 75% of Swiss businesses will not be required to pay the licence fee even if they receive broadcasts on their premises.

The minimum turnover limit does not, however, apply to authors’ rights. All uses of works outside the private sphere are relevant in terms of copyright law. In public areas like shops and restaurants, for example, background music – whether piped in from the radio, internet or a sound recording – is subject to a fee in accordance with CT 3a. And the showing of broadcasts or videoclips, from Youtube for example, also requires a licence from SUISA. Accordingly, many small businesses that do not pay radio and TV fees will still have to pay fees under CT 3a.

In addition to the change in the radio and TV remuneration system, in March 2017 the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) decided not to renew Billag’s collection agency mandate. Henceforth, household radio and TV fees will be collected by Serafe AG. For businesses, the fees will be collected by the Federal tax authorities in the framework of the VAT collection procedure. As a result, Billag has lost its main business activity and will wind up operations at the end of 2018. This is another reason why SUISA is obliged to reorganise its CT 3a-invoicing system as of the coming year.

SUISA to manage CT 3a for businesses as of 2019

After considering a number of options, it was decided in autumn 2016 that SUISA would once again manage CT 3a for businesses starting in January 2019. SUISA already issues invoices to about 2000 companies which do not have radio and TV reception but play background music from other sources (CDs, DVDs, etc.).

As of 2019, Billag’s 106,000 business customers will be taken over by SUISA; this six-fold increase in SUISA’s active customer count – realised in a single stroke – will trigger huge growth in processing volumes. Therefore task-oriented processes and largely automated IT infrastructure solutions will be essential to ensure the smooth and proper functioning of customer relations in the CT 3a area.

The necessary steps in this regard were initiated in the current year: a project team working in close cooperation with Billag is preparing the take-over of the customer portfolio at the technical and organisational levels. A customer centre is being established with the equivalent of 12 full-time positions (17 persons overall) to provide support and guidance, in writing or by phone, to CT 3a customers.

Multilingual CT 3a customer centre

To ensure as little change as possible for customers, the customer centre will take over Billag’s existing hotline number (0844 234 234). Moreover, an online portal will be set up to secure access to all relevant services. The customer centre will cater to all users, nationwide, in four languages (English, German, French, Italian).

The new team will also be responsible for market coverage. Since there are very few spontaneous declarations from users of background music, potential customers will be contacted and questioned about their practices as regards background entertainment. SUISA plans to conduct four direct mailing campaigns per year, each designed to reach about 10,000 businesses across all economic sectors.

The customer centre team started work on 1 November 2018. By the end of the year, the team will have received appropriate training, and systems and processes will be in place and fully tested. Officially, the customer centre is to open in the new year; it will be at the disposal of 3a customers as of 7 January 2019.

Complaints procedure
The tariff for background music and TV reception, CT 3a, was negotiated with the representative user associations (Gastrosuisse, Hotelleriesuisse, the umbrella association for rights’ users DUN, the Swiss Retail Federation, inter alia) in 2015 and 2016. It proved impossible to reach a consensus, and the proposed tariff was submitted to the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights (ESchK). The draft tariff submitted by the Swiss collecting societies proposed an average increase of 14% in the fees for Billag customers. In November 2016, the Federal Arbitration Commission decided in favour of the collecting societies and approved the proposed tariff. However, several user associations appealed the decision to the Federal Administrative Court; proceedings are still pending. The appeal does not have suspensive effect and SUISA can start collecting fees based on the new CT3a in 2019. However, the distribution of the proceeds to the entitled parties must be stayed until a definitive ruling on the tariff is handed down.
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  1. Thomas Ernst says:

    Zu begrüssen wäre, wenn die Rechnung spätestens ab 2021 elektronisch zugestellt werden könnte.

    • Sehr geehrter Herr Ernst

      Danke für Ihren Kommentar. Die SUISA ist dabei, Ihre Systeme umzustellen und wird im Laufe des nächsten Jahres ihren Kunden elektronische Rechnungen für die Hintergrundunterhaltung anbieten. Wir haben bei Ihnen im System vermerkt, dass Sie die nächste Rechnung elektronisch erhalten werden.

      Freundliche Grüsse

      Nevio Tebaldi, SUISA, Leiter Kundendienst

  2. Reto says:

    Genau. Viel bla bla keinerlei Inhalt!
    1 Seite Text und die 2-3 Sätze die alle die das lesen interessieren sind nicht dabei!
    A Muss ich zahlen
    B Wieviel!

    A la Betriebe mit bis zu 60 Plätzen zahlen monatlich X Fr
    Betriebe mit bis zu 120 Plätzen zahlen monatlich X Fr
    Betriebe mit über 120 Plätzen zahlen monatlich X Fr

    Fertig!

    • Giorgio Tebaldi says:

      Guten Tag Reto

      Ausführliche Informationen zur Hintergrundunterhaltung finden Sie unter http://www.suisa.ch/3a sowie unter https://www.suisa.ch/de/kunden/verkauf-gewerbe/verkaufs-und-dienstleistungsbetriebe/hintergrundmusik-music-on-hold-gt3a/faq-gt-3a.html.

      Sie müssen eine Vergütung gemäss GT 3a bezahlen, wenn mindestens einer der folgenden Punkte zutrifft:

      – In Ihrem Restaurant, Ladenlokal oder sonstigen Räumen Ihres Betriebes läuft Hintergrundmusik.
      – Sie geben in Ihren Betriebsräumen Filme, Radio- oder Fernsehsendungen wieder.
      – Sie betreiben Gästezimmer, Ferienwohnungen, Patientenzimmer oder ähnliches und stellen dort entsprechende Geräte für die Wiedergabe von Filmen, Radio- und Fernsehsendungen zur Verfügung.
      – Sie spielen Musik in Ihrer Telefonwarteschleife ab.

      Wenn sie also Werke und Leistungen nutzen, die Komponistinnen, Textautoren, Interpretinnen, Drehbuchautoren oder Produzentinnen geschaffen haben, haben diese laut Gesetz ein Recht darauf, für die Nutzung ihrer Werke und Leistungen eine Vergütung zu erhalten.

      Wieviel Sie bezahlen müssen, hängt von der Fläche ab, auf der Hintergrundmusik läuft, bzw. auf der Filme und Fernsehsendungen wiedergegeben werden.

      Für Hintergrundmusik beträgt die Vergütung auf einer Fläche von bis zu 1000 m2 CHF 19.20 pro Monat (zuzügl. MWSt). Für die Nutzung audiovisueller Werke und Leistungen (Filme und Fernsehsendungen) beträgt die Vergütung auf einer Fläche bis 1000 m2 CHF 20.80 pro Monat (zuzügl. MWSt). Für grössere Flächen gelten zusätzliche Entschädigungen gemäss Ziffer 6 des Tarifs. Diese Pauschalen gelten jeweils auch für die Musik in Telefonwarteschleifen, abgestuft nach Anzahl Amtslinien.

      Die Flächen pro Standort werden addiert, einschliesslich allfälliger Gästezimmer. Wenn ein Kunde mehrere Standorte (Geschäftslokale, Betriebsstätten, Filialen etc.) betreibt, so ist die Vergütung für jeden Standort separat geschuldet.

      Freundliche Grüsse

      Giorgio Tebaldi / SUISA Kommunikation

  3. Konrad Hugentobler says:

    Typisches juristisches Bla Bla. Definiert zuerst gefälligst mal, was genau Gebührenpflichtig ist und was nicht. Beispielsweise wird eine Firma ja wohl kaum Suisa bezahlen müssen, wenn ihre Mitarbeiter auf privaten Geräten Musik mit Kopfhörer hören. Was ist genau Berieselung? Ist es nun doch (noch) von Geräten abhängig? Muss eine Firma Suisa bezahlen, wenn Mitarbeiter auf ihrem Arbeitscomputer YouTube Videos schauen? Das wäre ja an Absurdität nicht zu übertreffen.

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.

Businesses that play background music on their premises or show broadcasts on screens are required to pay licence fees in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. As of 2019, SUISA will once again manage all customers under this Tariff directly. Text by Martin Korrodi

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Under copyright law, playing background music in a shopping centre like in the above example qualifies as a use outside the private sphere. That is why businesses need a licence, which they can obtain from SUISA in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. (Photo: Unsplash, Victor Xok)

Pursuant to the Federal Copyright Act (Article 10(2)(f)), the reception of broadcasts in businesses is a use outside the private sphere and is therefore subject to a licence. As a result, in addition to paying Billag reception fees – and conversely to private households...read more