Tag Archives: Distribution rules

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

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

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

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

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

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

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

Further requirements for becoming a member of the VWK

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

Tasks of the distribution and works committee

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

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

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

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

Candidate entries

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

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

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

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

Wanted: New member for the Distribution and Works Committee

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

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

Changes 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. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the distribution of collections for internet use

SUISA changes its distribution keys for the income from streaming and downloads. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

For years, the distribution split between authors and publishers in terms of the allocation of the collections from performing and broadcasting rights on the one hand, and reproduction rights on the other hand has been agreed separately. SUISA has accordingly provided for different distribution keys in its distribution rules for the two rights categories.

For online uses, there is no separate distribution key which could be directly agreed on by the contracting parties. As a consequence, the collections from online uses are on the one hand distributed in analogy with the performing rights distribution key and on the other hand in accordance with the reproduction rights distribution key (cf. item 2.1.2 of the distribution rules).

Up to now, SUISA has been distributing 100% of collections from streaming in accordance with the distribution key for performing rights and 100% of collections for downloads in accordance with the distribution key for reproduction rights. This meant, however, that SUISA held a special position internationally and, at the same time, this practice no longer met the latest developments in the online sector.

New distribution keys for downloads and streaming

Apart from taking a look at the usual rules applicable abroad, technical procedures were also evaluated with a view to the analysis that led to the determination of the new distribution ratios of the distribution keys for download and streaming. Technically speaking, the making available of a work is based on the creation of a copy of the work on the server of the provider, the transmission of the copy to the consumer as well as the performance resp. potential storage on the terminal device of the consumer.

During discussions among the various committees (Distribution and Works Committee andBoard) with respect to the proposed changes, various views regarding the performing and reproduction rights shares existed with respect to the weighting of the distribution keys.

In particular the question arose how the aspect of transitoriness resp. repeated playback of a work should be considered for streaming, and which percentage should reflect this for the weighting of the performing share.

In the end, the following split was agreed:

  • Download: 25% of collections shall be allocated to the performing rights distribution key and 75% to the reproduction rights distribution key.
  • Streams: 75% of collections shall be allocated to the performing rights distribution key and 25% to the reproduction rights distribution key.

Distribution of the collections from video on demand (VOD)

At the same time, the provisions regarding the distribution of collections from video on demand were adjusted. The respective revenues shall now be distributed in analogy to download and streaming “per file” (per work). Prior to that, the revenues from video on demand had been supplemented to the remuneration for broadcasts of pay TV. The change now also permits in this sector that collections are distributed in a more exact and pinpointed manner.

For further information see the distribution rules of SUISA.

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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. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes to the distribution of collections for internet use

SUISA changes its distribution keys for the income from streaming and downloads. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

For years, the distribution split between authors and publishers in terms of the allocation of the collections from performing and broadcasting rights on the one hand, and reproduction rights on the other hand has been agreed separately. SUISA has accordingly provided for different distribution keys in its distribution rules for the two rights categories.

For online uses, there is no separate...read more

Changes 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”. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

Even though there is a plethora of digital TV programmes available, only a few of them fill TV screens for a longer period. (Foto: Zeber / Shutterstock.com)

Cable network providers have carried out a migration of their offerings from analogue to digital in the last few years. The number of the radio and TV programmes on offer is now many times higher than before. Until recently, the number of subscribers acted as the calculation basis for the distribution of income from Tariffs CT 1, CT 2a and CT 2b. As a consequence, the distribution depended on the receptability, i.e. on how many subscribers of a cable network provider had the option to receive a specific channel.

With the increase of the broadcaster offerings, the significance of the subscriber numbers regarding the actual work usage has decreased remarkably. This is due to the fact that of the multitude of channels that consumers have at their fingertips today, they only use a few in reality. With the switch of the calculation basis to the reference parameter “daily reach”, what counts in terms of distribution now is what consumers actually watch.

The daily reach corresponds with the share of people who have watched or listened to a specific programme on an average day for at least 30 seconds. The relevant usage is thus registered which goes above and beyond a mere channel hopping.

Distribution more exact based on actual usage

Due to the daily reach as a calculation basis the actual usage is now taken into consideration more: The copyright royalties now flow to those channels that have really been watched or listened to. Channels which were not selected by the consumer or where consumers merely hop through, are not taken into consideration for the allocations into the three broadcaster groupings (SRG SSR, Swiss private channels, foreign channels).

The switch to the reference parameter of the daily reach will entail that more money is going to be distributed to Swiss channels. In the case of the calculation based on subscriber numbers so far, many foreign channels were taken into consideration which are in fact only used by a very small portion of subscribers. This will no longer be the case with a calculation basis in accordance with the daily reach.

IGE (Institute of Intellectual Property) decision dated 26/07/2017 (PDF 1.47 MB, only in German) in relation to “Review of item 5.5.1 distribution rules: Distribution of collections from CT 1, 2a and 2b”
Further information on the distribution keys of SUISA

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Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

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”. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Changes in relation to the distribution of Tariff CT 1 and CT 2 collections

Even though there is a plethora of digital TV programmes available, only a few of them fill TV screens for a longer period. (Foto: Zeber / Shutterstock.com)

Cable network providers have carried out a migration of their offerings from analogue to digital in the last few years. The number of the radio and TV programmes on offer is now many...read more

Publishers’ 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. Text by Martin Korrodi

Publishers’ participation at SUISA not at risk

A decision by the Supreme Court Berlin has shaken the traditional distribution practice at Gema. Due to the legal situation in Switzerland, publishers will be able to participate – as usual – in the distributable amount from SUISA. (Photo: Niroworld / Shutterstock.com)

It was the decision by the Supreme Court Berlin against Gema in particular which left many publisher members of SUISA in a state of uncertainty, as it rather specifically affects the participation of music publishers in the payment of royalties. Would it also be possible in Switzerland that a comparable decision could declare the long-term distribution practice by SUISA to be invalid?

The decision of the Supreme Court Berlin

On 14 November 2016, the Supreme Court Berlin decided that Gema may only include such members in its royalty collection pay-outs who have effectively transferred their rights management to it. Even if the decision only refers to two specific cases, where authors disagreed with the participation of their publishers, the court’s reasoning challenges Gema practices in general.

A central argument in the opinion of the court is the so-called principle of priority: It determines that a rights owner cannot assign his/her rights a second time after he/she has already made a valid rights transfer to a third party – the first rights transfer collides with any subsequent rights transfer of the same rights.

In this context, what this actually specifically means is that an author who has already assigned his/her rights to Gema via a rights administration agreement, cannot assign those rights once more when signing a publishing contract. As a consequence, a participation of the publisher is – based on this decision – out of the question, as the publisher has not acquired any rights which justify a participation.

Furthermore, a participation of the publisher is not justified if only the “publishing rights” have been assigned. Publishing rights in the music sector traditionally includes only the right of reproduction and distribution of music scores. These rights are not managed by Gema. Since, in this case, the definition of the assigned rights in the publishing agreement is too limited, no justification for a publisher participation arises as a consequence.

The court has determined the distribution plans of Gema to be invalid, as far as they provide for a generic publisher participation which only requires the conclusion of a rights administration agreement as well as the notification of the published works, and not the assignment of rights. This, however, was leading to a participation of a party without entitlement to the remuneration, which, in turn, was in violation of the legally embedded prohibition of arbitrary action.

Law and practice in Switzerland

In general, the principle of priority for right assignments also applies in Switzerland: Such authors that have originally acquired and validly assigned rights, cannot transfer these rights again to a third party at a later point in time. In line with local laws this does not automatically imply that a publisher has no right to a participation as soon as an author has joined SUISA prior to the conclusion of a publishing agreement.

These findings are mainly linked to the fact that Swiss Law does not make the entitlement to participate in the remuneration dependent on whether the party holding the rights has actually assigned the rights to the collective management organisation. Art. 49 URG (Swiss Copyright Act) expressly distinguishes between the “original holders of rights” (authors) and “other entitled parties” (such as publishers), between whom the distributable amount is to be shared. The entitlement of a publisher to participate in the remuneration therefore mainly arises from the contractual agreements the publisher has entered into with the author.

Publishers’ participation at SUISA

In line with the above, SUISA may only consider a publisher for distribution purposes if the authors have agreed to this and expressly instruct SUISA to participate the publisher in all or specific remuneration arising from the exploitation of their works (so-called right of instruction of the principal). It is necessary to take into consideration – even in Switzerland – that the scope of the rights assignment is unequivocally stated in the agreement, so that SUISA may participate the publisher in the collections from the individual usage rights and compensation claims. It can therefore be assumed that a mere assignment of the subjective publishing right without further specifying the respective rights may not justify a publisher’s participation in all rights managed by SUISA either.

Furthermore, the distribution rules – in analogy to the legal situation in Germany – must not contain any provisions which imply that publishers participate in the collected remuneration as a principle without specifying an express contractual basis. The SUISA distribution rules meet these requirements by admitting publishers as parties entitled to receive a payment only in those cases where they fulfil their “contractual obligations” vis-a-vis the authors. With regards to the determination of the relevant shares of the parties entitled to receive a payment the distribution rules refer to the contractual arrangements between authors and publishers.

As a consequence it seems rather unlikely that a publisher participation at SUISA would fail for the same reasons as was the case in the European Union and especially in Germany. Despite this position, SUISA is currently optimising some provisions in its distribution rules, its general terms and conditions for rights administration and the SUISA model publishing agreement in order to exclude any residual risks.

Reactions to the decision in Germany
The German Bundestag has immediately suggested the launch of a review of the Act on Collective Management Organisations (CMO Act, VGG) in order to counteract the legal uncertainty which had arisen as a consequence of the decision. The new provisions affect the participation of publishers that have not assigned the rights directly (mitigation of the principle of priority) on the one hand, and the option to participate a publisher in the remuneration collected from the management of statutory compensation claims, on the other hand.
In order to legitimate the publisher participation for the past and guarantee it for the future, Gema has made a confirmation process available to its members. In the course of this process, the involved parties can declare their consent to the shares determined in the Gema distribution plan and to agree with a mutual participation which is not based on who has actually assigned the rights to Gema. www.gema.de/de/aktuelles/verlegerbeteiligung/
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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.

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. Text by Martin Korrodi

Publishers’ participation at SUISA not at risk

A decision by the Supreme Court Berlin has shaken the traditional distribution practice at Gema. Due to the legal situation in Switzerland, publishers will be able to participate – as usual – in the distributable amount from SUISA. (Photo: Niroworld / Shutterstock.com)

It was the decision by the Supreme Court Berlin against Gema in particular which left many publisher members of SUISA in a state of uncertainty, as it rather specifically affects the participation of...read more

New distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights

The SUISA distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights will be changed from 01 January 2017 onwards. For works with an original publisher, the share of the author shall be 66.67% and that of the publisher 33.33%. The distribution rules are thus adapted to the CISAC key which is applied at international level. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

8/12 for authors, 4/12 for publishers: SUISA will adapt its distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights to European standards again. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The majority of SUISA’s European sister societies apply the so-called “CISAC key” when it comes to originally published works in the performing and broadcasting rights sector. CISAC is the international umbrella for collective management organisations (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs). The shares of the distribution key recommended by the umbrella organisation for performances and broadcasts amount to 66.67% for authors and 33.33% for publishers.

SUISA’s distribution key

SUISA’s distribution key had deviated from the internationally established CISAC standard in the past. Up to now, SUISA distribution rules provided that the shares for originally published works for performing and broadcasting rights was 65% for authors and a maximum of 35% for publishers. Regarding the production of sound and audio-visual recordings, the composers receive 60% and the publishers 40%.

In the case of works with a sub-publisher, the author has an entitlement as per the distribution rules to receive 50%, and the publisher and sub-publisher to claim the remaining 50% for performances and broadcasts. Regarding the production of sound and audio-visual recordings, the composers receive 40% and the publisher and sub-publisher share the remaining 60%. In this context, it is worth mentioning that SUISA usually adopts the contractually agreed split between the publisher and the sub-publisher in the case of sub-published works. Only in the absence of such agreed splits will SUISA apply the keys established by the distribution rules.

Alignment with the European CISAC standard

The distribution keys by SUISA will now be adapted in the case of originally published works in the performing and broadcasting rights to European standards. The keys relating to the production of sound and audio-visual recordings (mechanical reproduction rights) shall remain unchanged in the distribution rules. Strictly speaking, the application of the CISAC key of 67% for authors and 33.33% for publishers is nothing new, but rather a re-introduction of a previous provision.

The key applied on a Europe-wide level is actually expressed in fractions 8/12 (author’s share) resp. 4/12 (publisher’s share). When SUISA began working with IT systems back in 1962, the aim was to avoid decimal places after the decimal point. As a consequence, SUISA changed the key, and rounded it to 65%, resp. 35%. The majority of the other European societies kept the translated fractions i.e. 66.67% and 33.33%.

Effects of the changed distribution rules

Thanks to the adaptation of the distribution keys, authors will be remunerated with the share that is deemed as standard in the European area. While the publisher share will be decreased by 1.67%, they will, together with the authors, benefit from positive effects which the changes bring about.

Apart from the harmonisation with other European societies, the (re)introduction of the CISAC key for originally published works entails further significant advantages:

  • Important increase in efficiency during work registration: Processing of SUISA works with international contributors will become simpler. Difficult conversions in the case of joint productions with international authors become redundant.
  • Processing distributions of the sister societies will be significantly simplified: The matching distribution keys will facilitate the processing of distributions by international sister societies to a great extent.

Validity of the changes to the distribution rules

Both the SUISA Board of Directors as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) have agreed to this change. The new distribution keys will come into force from 01 January 2017 without any retroactivity. This means, that all works declared after 01 January 2017 will be registered with the new distribution key. In the case of works that had been registered before that date, the distribution key in place shall remain valid. These works will not be changed.

The decision of the IPI dated 28 July 2016 is published at the SUISA website.

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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.

The SUISA distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights will be changed from 01 January 2017 onwards. For works with an original publisher, the share of the author shall be 66.67% and that of the publisher 33.33%. The distribution rules are thus adapted to the CISAC key which is applied at international level. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

8/12 for authors, 4/12 for publishers: SUISA will adapt its distribution key for performing and broadcasting rights to European standards again. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

The majority of SUISA’s European sister societies apply the so-called “CISAC key” when it comes to originally published works in the performing and broadcasting rights sector. CISAC is the international umbrella for collective management organisations (Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs). The shares of the distribution key recommended by the...read more

Publishing agreements: What do I need to consider?

Publishing agreements in Switzerland are governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) The respective statutory provisions on it are, however, not very detailed. In the case of music publishing agreements in particular, you cannot simply rely on the law. Besides, the contractual parties may also stipulate their own arrangements in the agreement. So what do you have to be aware of with respect to publishing agreements? Text by Nicolas Pont

Publishing agreements are concludes between all parties involved in a work: authors (composers, lyricists, arrangers) and a publisher. (Photo: Alexskopje / Shutterstock.com)

The publishing agreement is incorporated into the law (Art. 380 ff. OR). The legal provisions are, however, not mandatory, and the parties have a lot of room to manoeuvre for the negotiations prior to signing the agreement. In cases of doubt, it might help to refer to the commented version of the SUISA model agreement.

Publishers can be referred to as the “managers of a work” – as the entity or person whose duty it is to promote the work. They seek to maximise usage and exploitation, e.g. in the form of radio broadcasts, synchronisation with audiovisual works and sales of music score. In return for this promotional activity, publishers who are members of collective management organisations (CMOs) benefit from part of the royalties for the usage of the works. The publisher is thus included in the works registration as an interested party and obtains a percentage of the work remuneration.

Entering into agreements and contracting parties

SUISA’s model agreement can be used as a contractual basis and adapted as required, but usually, each publisher has its own agreement. SUISA members have the opportunity as authors or publishers to have SUISA’s legal department check their agreement prior to signature free of charge. Our legal department may correct any disadvantageous provisions and also provide details on the professionalism of the publisher.

The law assumes that the author is the individual that has created the work. This means that a group of authors cannot be considered as authors. Only an individual member of a band can be a contracting party and sign the agreement. In order for the works to be completely integrated as the subject matter of the publishing agreement, all who have contributed to the creation of the composition must therefore sign the publishing agreement.

Furthermore, attention should also be paid to the fact that arrangements of works already published are not automatically published with the same publisher. As arrangements must be protected in their own right according to the law, the publisher must acquire the rights on them in a separate agreement with the arranger.

Term of the agreement

The agreement may be in effect between 3 (minimum duration stipulated by SUISA) and up to 70 years after the death of the author (statutory term of protection for a work). It is generally in the interest of a publisher to sign an agreement which spans as many years as possible, whereas authors are interested in limiting the term covering the assignment of their rights. It is, of course, possible to enter into a three-year-agreement which – if it is not being terminated – can be extended on a rolling basis of one year. Such an option does not require any additional steps.

If you determine the term of the agreement, the investment of the publisher should be taken into consideration, e.g. in cases where music score is being published. In any case, the parties should be aware of how long they are bound contractually. Another important point is to realise how difficult it might be to dissolve an agreement prior to its end date if the parties end up having a conflict. It is absolutely vital that rightsholders inform SUISA in any case so that SUISA can adapt its documentation.

Remuneration for the publisher

The percentage for the publisher is jointly determined by the parties. There is only one mandatory provision: In accordance with SUISA’s distribution rules, the publisher may only receive a maximum share of 35% of the remuneration from performing and broadcasting rights (e.g. for concerts and radio broadcasts). Subject to this reservation, the parties are free to determine the percentage. If no percentages have been entered into the agreement by the contracting parties, those determined by the distribution rules shall apply.

Agreements often do not contain explicit percentages, but rather refer to the applicability of the distribution rules of the respective collective management organisation. In the case of agreements with foreign publishers who register their catalogues with the society in their country, this leads to the application of foreign distribution rules: For performing and broadcasting rights, a publisher in Germany therefore receives 33.33% (GEMA), and 50% in England (PRS).

The international umbrella association of the collective management organisations, CISAC, has set out a guideline for the distribution key between authors and publishers that publishers should not receive more than 33.33% for performances and broadcasts. The 230 CISAC member societies from 120 countries are free to adapt this key. Many societies, such as GEMA and SACEM already apply this recommended distribution. SUISA also wishes to adapt its rules and regulations to this CISAC guideline. The respective application for a change of the SUISA distribution rules has been submitted to the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) at the beginning of 2016. The IPI approval is still pending and would not come into force before 2017.

An “admin publisher”, which merely creates a connection with a collecting society (i.e. completes work registrations, checks distribution statements and possibly submits complaints etc.) should, logically, receive a smaller percentage than a publisher who is also looking after the promotion and placement of the work and the search for a producer.

You should not forget to determine the distribution of such monies that are not being paid by the collecting societies (e.g. for synchronisation rights). These revenues are usually split 50/50 between the publisher and the author. Finally, the author usually receives a 10% share of the income arising from the sales of music score.

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  1. Der Text sollte updated werden. Nach dem neuen Verteilungsreglement der SUISA erhält der Verleger neu höchstens 33,33% der Vergütung
    aus den Aufführungs- und Senderechten. (Im Text steht noch die alte Regel von 35%)

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Publishing agreements in Switzerland are governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) The respective statutory provisions on it are, however, not very detailed. In the case of music publishing agreements in particular, you cannot simply rely on the law. Besides, the contractual parties may also stipulate their own arrangements in the agreement. So what do you have to be aware of with respect to publishing agreements? Text by Nicolas Pont

Publishing agreements are concludes between all parties involved in a work: authors (composers, lyricists, arrangers) and a publisher. (Photo: Alexskopje / Shutterstock.com)

The publishing agreement is incorporated into the law (Art. 380 ff. OR). The legal provisions are, however, not mandatory, and the parties have a lot of room to manoeuvre for the negotiations prior to signing the agreement. In cases of...read more

Revision of distribution categories 1C/1D and 2C/2D

The rules for the distribution of licence fees for broadcast music in SRG TV programmes and in private TV broadcasters’ programmes are undergoing some partial changes. The relevant amendments in SUISA’s distribution rules affect distribution categories 1C, 1D, 2C and 2D.

Revision of distribution categories 1C/1D and 2C/2D

The winner of the talent show, Tiziana, presents the song “Hold Me” during a TV programme. She is accompanied by SUISA member Marc Sway (r.), who composed the piece together with Sekou Neblett. Both song writers receive royalties for the broadcast of their music on TV via SUISA. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

When Swiss TV stations transmit music, composers and lyricists of the broadcast music subsequently receive money from SUISA for it. Tariff A for SRG broadcasts and CT S for the other (private) broadcasters determine how much broadcasters have to pay in order to be able to play music. There are also rules determining how the money is distributed: They are laid out in SUISA’s distribution rules.

An important rule for the distribution of the income from TV broadcast programmes is set out in item 3.3 of the SUISA distribution rules. Said item covers the “classification of the SRG broadcast programmes (advertising excluded) and the private broadcasters (advertising excluded)”. The second paragraph of item 3.3 specifically deals with TV broadcasts and the relevant distribution categories 1C, 1D, 2C and 2D.

Aims of the changes to the distribution rules

Said distribution categories, which govern the distribution of income from the SRG TV broadcasts and private TV stations, have now been revised. The main aims of these changes were:

  • When it comes to the remuneration for music in films, the new regulations provide that only the duration of the music itself, not the duration of the film are instrumental.
  • Remuneration for music serving the purpose of recognising stations, station networks or broadcasts – in short: jingles – respectively the purpose of providing a background or backdrop, shall be determined by a standard factor. What’s new is that this distribution now also includes opening and end titles’ music for series and logos.

Music duration instead of film duration

By changing the distribution rules, the significance of the music in films is established independently of the duration of a film. A distinction is no longer made by film duration as it had been the case previously (longer or shorter than 60 minutes). As this relates to the calculation of authors’ remuneration for music, it is only the duration of the music that should be instrumental. By taking the music duration into consideration, a film with more music automatically obtains more money than a film with less music.

A comparison with sister societies abroad has shown that they also use the duration of the music, not the film, as connecting factor for the distribution. The falling away of the 60-minute-limits constitutes a simplification of the distribution process and leads to a neutral weighting of the film score – as it will be independent of the film duration.

Standard factor for music with repetitive character

The term “jingle” shall be defined as follows, in line with SUISA’ distribution rules: Music which serves the recognition of broadcasters, station networks and programmes or the provision of a background or backdrop. Idents, loops, trailers, billboards etc., background music, e.g. for information programmes, sport and quiz shows, music for test cards, audiotexts and still images, and now also opening and end titles for series and logos also fall under this category.

Such “jingles” often serve the purpose of spectator retention and are intensively repeated during the TV transmissions. The repetitive character of jingles is taken into account in terms of the distribution by separately allocating the significance of this music in broadcast programmes.

The weighting of jingles for the distribution shall now be based on a standard factor of 0.25. Compared to the previous regulations, the factor does not decrease proportionally to how often the jingle is broadcast. The new standard factor corresponds to the previous level for the 13th to 52nd broadcast. Compared to the old tiered model, the new factor is lower than previously for the 1st to the 12th broadcast. However, it is higher for all repetitions beyond the 53rd broadcast. By changing the distribution rules, the multiple usage of music such as is the case for idents to daily broadcast news programmes will be weighted more heavily.

Impact on the distribution and settlements

These distribution rules changes can entail shifts in the pay-outs to composers and publishers. Stage or tiered models, as were previously applicable with the respective changing factors per number of broadcasts or film duration in minutes, are always subject to a certain arbitrariness and might have to be constantly adapted as a consequence. The new weightings that have now been introduced with standard weighting rates allow a linear development of the remuneration and therefore lead to a fairer overall distribution result.

The change of item 3.3 paragraph 2 of the distribution rules has been approved by the IPI with its decisions dated 19 November 2015 as well as 15 December 2015. It applies to the income from 2016 and shall have an influence in the distributions from 15/12/2016 onwards for the first time.

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The rules for the distribution of licence fees for broadcast music in SRG TV programmes and in private TV broadcasters’ programmes are undergoing some partial changes. The relevant amendments in SUISA’s distribution rules affect distribution categories 1C, 1D, 2C and 2D.

Revision of distribution categories 1C/1D and 2C/2D

The winner of the talent show, Tiziana, presents the song “Hold Me” during a TV programme. She is accompanied by SUISA member Marc Sway (r.), who composed the piece together with Sekou Neblett. Both song writers receive royalties for the broadcast of their music on TV via SUISA. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

When Swiss TV stations transmit music, composers and lyricists of the broadcast music subsequently receive money from SUISA for it. Tariff A for SRG broadcasts and CT S for the other (private) broadcasters determine how much broadcasters have to pay in order...read more

Continuously improving collections

SUISA’s Board meeting of December 2015 was marked by numbers and regulations. Board members discussed the 2016 budget. They revised individual articles of the distribution rules. Furthermore, they approved an increase of the admission fee from 2016 and prepared the revision of the rules for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF) for the General Assembly. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Continuously improving collections

Die Schweizer Genossenschaft der Urheber und Verleger von Musik hat für das Geschäftsjahr 2016 eine Einnahmensteigerung von 1,76% budgetiert. (Bild: Manu Leuenberger)

The SUISA Board ratified the 2016 budget during its meeting in December 2015. The budget provides for a slight increase in collections (+1.76%). Broadcasting rights, fair compensation revenues and the online sector are expected to contribute to this rise. In terms of expenditure, a slightly higher amount is expected (+ 1.6%). The budget thus covers the increased need for IT specialists (salaries) and additional IT licence costs. Other factors leading to an increase in expenditure are more intensive sponsoring activities and the accompaniment of the copyright debate, and more costs for PR activities.

Projections above and beyond 2016 are mainly dependent on the regulatory background. If the conditions remain stable, a positive development in terms of income can be expected.

Admission fees and cost deductions

The number of SUISA members continues to grow. On the one hand, this growth is good news, on the other hand it means a steep increase in terms of administrative efforts. A higher admission fee for new members is intended to equalise the ratio between effort and income. The Board members have ratified the admission fee increase. From 2016 onwards, the one-off fee for new admissions amounts to CHF 200 for authors and CHF 400 for publishers. SUISA will still not charge an annual fee for its members. Some sister societies abroad are charging annual fees.

Moreover, cost deductions for the distribution in 2016 have been set. The Board decided to retain the percentage levels of 2015.

Changes to rules and regulations

Various applications for changes to the distribution rules were approved. The updated definition of the term “publisher and sub-publisher” as well as some changes to the wording of Tariff VN and Common Tariff 10 were also approved. A revision of the “shares of members and principals of SUISA” was partially approved.

The regulations for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF) are to be updated with clearer provisions and terms adapted to professional providence. The actual level of the pension payments for authors and the contributions to publishers shall remain unchanged. The Board has ratified the changes. They will be explained in the invitation to the General Assembly. Said changes will be voted on during the General Assembly.

General Assembly 2016

SUISA’s General Assembly for this year will take place on Friday, 24th June 2016, 11am, in the Paul Klee Centre in Berne.

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SUISA’s Board meeting of December 2015 was marked by numbers and regulations. Board members discussed the 2016 budget. They revised individual articles of the distribution rules. Furthermore, they approved an increase of the admission fee from 2016 and prepared the revision of the rules for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF) for the General Assembly. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller

Continuously improving collections

Die Schweizer Genossenschaft der Urheber und Verleger von Musik hat für das Geschäftsjahr 2016 eine Einnahmensteigerung von 1,76% budgetiert. (Bild: Manu Leuenberger)

The SUISA Board ratified the 2016 budget during its meeting in December 2015. The budget provides for a slight increase in collections (+1.76%). Broadcasting rights, fair compensation revenues and the online sector are expected to contribute to this rise. In terms of expenditure, a slightly higher...read more

“Creatives can be proud of their cooperative society SUISA”

One day prior to the General Assembly 2015, the SUISA Board has held meetings in Fribourg. On the agenda were items such as auditors’ reports, changes to the distribution rules, business in relation to the FONDATION SUISA and details surrounding the General Assembly. The SUISA Board bade farewell to Monika Kaelin after her 16 years in office due to the restriction of the period of office. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller and Manu Leuenberger

"Creatives can be proud of their cooperative society SUISA”

Monika Kaelin signs the “Manifest of the SUISA members” during SUISA’s General Assembly 2012. Due to the restriction of the Board members’ period of office, Monika Kaelin retired from the SUISA Board in June 2015 after 16 years in office. During her farewell, she vowed to continue supporting copyright matters. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

The SUISA Board met on 18 June 2015 in Fribourg for an ordinary meeting. Prior to the meeting of the main Board, the Board Committee for Tariffs and Distribution as well as the Communications and Organisation Committee held their own discussions. The Board committees decide on motions or deliberate and ratify business on behalf of the Board. The most important topics for the meeting of the main Board were the auditors’ reports, changes to the distribution rules, business relating to the FONDATION SUISA and details with respect to the General Assembly which took place on the next day.

Auditors’ reports

In the course of their annual audit, the BDO AG presented three reports: The “report on the annual accounts 2014 for the attention of the General Assembly” (can be accessed in the annual report 2014, page 20) as well as the “explanatory report for the attention of the management and the Board”. The explanatory report must be created upon request by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) and is passed on to the supervisory authority in the course of the annual audit of SUISA’s business activities. Based on the “exhaustive report on the annual accounts 2014 for the attention of the Board”, internal processes are optimised and improved. The Board members have taken note of all three reports.

Changes to the distribution rules

The Board discussed changes to the distribution rules in connection with tariffs CT 4 (private copying), PI (sound carriers, music videos), as well as international income. In relation to tariffs CT 4 and PI, the changes affected the structure of the tariffs: In the case of the common tariff for private copying, tariffs CT 4a, 4b and 4c were condensed. The old tariff VM was integrated into the new Tariff PI for sound carriers and music videos.

Such fundamental changes relating to tariff structures often entail changes to the distribution rules. The process for changing the distribution rules is the following: SUISA’s management checks the change and creates a specific proposal. After that, the members of the Distribution and Works Committee, followed by the members of the Board Committee for Tariffs and Distribution decide on the proposal. The change has to then be ratified by the main Board. It is subsequently submitted to the IPI and the supervisory authority of Liechtenstein and, once ratified by them, can enter into force. SUISA informs its members on ratified changes to the distribution rules via the SUISA website, the SUISAblog and SUISAinfo.

FONDATION SUISA

The SUISA Board has newly elected Kathrin Renggli into the foundation council of FONDATION SUISA as a replacement for Peter Schmidlin, who had passed away at the end of May. The Board members have also agreed to two changes in the foundation deed of the FONDATION SUISA.

Preparations for the GA and farewell

Furthermore, the last details for the General Assembly for Friday, 19 June 2015, were discussed. The minutes of the GA is now available for inspection at the SUISA offices in Zurich, Lausanne and Lugano, or can be accessed via the SUISA website (pdf, 54 kb).

After 16 years in office as a SUISA Board member, Monika Kaelin took part in the meeting for the last time in June 2015. Due to the restriction to the period of office she will retire from the Board and is given a heartfelt farewell and a big thank you. Monika Kaelin thinks that creatives should be proud of their cooperative society SUISA. She said that she took her farewell from the Board with quite some melancholy but that she would continue to support copyright issues.

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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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One day prior to the General Assembly 2015, the SUISA Board has held meetings in Fribourg. On the agenda were items such as auditors’ reports, changes to the distribution rules, business in relation to the FONDATION SUISA and details surrounding the General Assembly. The SUISA Board bade farewell to Monika Kaelin after her 16 years in office due to the restriction of the period of office. Report from the Board by Dora Zeller and Manu Leuenberger

"Creatives can be proud of their cooperative society SUISA”

Monika Kaelin signs the “Manifest of the SUISA members” during SUISA’s General Assembly 2012. Due to the restriction of the Board members’ period of office, Monika Kaelin retired from the SUISA Board in June 2015 after 16 years in office. During her farewell, she vowed to continue supporting copyright matters. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

The SUISA Board met on...read more

SUISA budgetiert für 2015 leicht steigende Einnahmen bei etwas höheren Ausgaben

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