Tag Archives: Online licensing

Overall, a positive financial year 2018

The SUISA Board and its Committees for Tariffs and Distribution as well as for Organisation and Communication met for their regular spring sessions on 9 and 10 April 2019 at the SUISA head office in Zurich. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Overall, a positive financial year 2018

Apart from the Cooperative Society SUISA, there is now also a SUISA group, which includes the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing and the 50% holding in the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services AG. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf)

The most important topic during the spring meeting are traditionally the resolutions concerning the financial statements of the past year for submission to the General Assembly. SUISA publishes two financial statements in accordance with the Standard Swiss GAAP FER from this year onwards, one for the parent company, the Cooperative Society SUISA, and one consolidated financial statement for the SUISA group. The group comprises the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing with headquarters in Vaduz (FL) and the 50% holding in the company Mint Digital Services AG, Zurich, a Joint Venture by SUISA and the American organisation for music rights, SESAC.

The annual financial statements of the group as well as of the parent company show an overall positive picture. Total collections reached a new high of CHF 160.8m. Income from the licensing of the online music business surpassed CHF 10m for the first time and contributed to this result.

Unfortunately, the secondary income was much lower last year. The reason for this is the bad investment year. Securities income only reached CHF 0.6m in 2018. In 2017, this amount still stood at CHF 3m. As a consequence, this difference now lacks in terms of covering expenditure for 2018. Nevertheless, cost coverage deductions taken from the settlements to members should not increase. The Board therefore decided to use more money from the liabilities that became available for the financing of the costs, and has subsequently reduced the supplementary distribution from 7% to 5%.

Preparations for the General Assembly

Additional topics were the preparation of other business for the General Assembly: the analysis of the organisation’s risks, the resulting management report and the approval of the entire annual report for submission to the GA. Lastly, nominations for two retiring Board members had to be decided upon, and documents relating to the investment policy and the compensation of Board members that had become necessary due to the new Articles of Association had to be resolved.

The Board took notice that Executive Committee was making efforts and got involved with the relevant departments to collect remuneration from abroad. In this context, it is important to take into consideration that the laws, tariffs and distribution rules are different at our sister societies and that SUISA cannot be held responsible for that. The Board therefore rejected the claim for a settlement of a member which held the view that it had not received enough remuneration for usages abroad.

Finally, the Board had to say farewell to executive assistant Dora Zeller, who is going to leave SUISA in order to retire. President Xavier Dayer expressed his thanks in the name of the entire Board for the turntable-like function that Dora Zeller had mastered with distinction throughout the last 10 years, and wished her well for the next, ‘third’ phase in her life.

Related articles
The first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AGThe first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG A little more than one and a half years ago, SUISA founded its subsidiary company, SUISA Digital Licensing AG. The subsidiary company has now completed its first business year. A year which was under the auspices of development and brought about a multitude of new findings. It is time for retrospection and a first interim summary. Read more
SUISA General Assembly: Our members’ opinion countsSUISA General Assembly: Our members’ opinion counts SUISA’s General Assembly takes place in the Kongresszentrum Biel (concert hall) on 21 June 2019. For the first time, two financial statements will be presented to the General Assembly; a novelty in SUISA’s history. Furthermore, there are elections on the agenda: The entire Board needs to be newly elected, as does the Distribution and Works Committee; there are also by-elections for the Complaints Committee. Read more
Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at homePlay abroad, communicate with SUISA at home How do I get access to my copyright remuneration for my concerts abroad? What do I need to consider when registering works with SUISA if the co-author of my song is a member of a foreign collective management organisation? Important and frequently asked questions on international musical activities are answered in the following. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

The SUISA Board and its Committees for Tariffs and Distribution as well as for Organisation and Communication met for their regular spring sessions on 9 and 10 April 2019 at the SUISA head office in Zurich. Report from the Board by Andreas Wegelin

Report from the Board: Overall, a positive financial year 2018

Apart from the Cooperative Society SUISA, there is now also a SUISA group, which includes the subsidiary company SUISA Digital Licensing and the 50% holding in the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services AG. (Photo: Natalie Schlumpf)

The most important topic during the spring meeting are traditionally the resolutions concerning the financial statements of the past year for submission to the General Assembly. SUISA publishes two financial statements in accordance with the Standard Swiss GAAP FER from this year onwards, one for the parent company, the Cooperative Society SUISA, and one...read more

The first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG

A little more than one and a half years ago, SUISA founded its subsidiary company, SUISA Digital Licensing AG. The subsidiary company has now completed its first business year. A year which was under the auspices of development and brought about a multitude of new findings. It is time for retrospection and a first interim summary. Text by Fabian Niggemeier

The first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG

The first business year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG was influenced by negotiations with many music service providers, successfully and jointly held with the SESAC Digital Licensing AG. (Photo: MichaelJayBerlin / Shutterstock.com)

By launching the subsidiary company, in short SUISA Digital, SUISA has outsourced cross-border and international online licensing in its entirety. SUISA is, from now, only responsible for the licensing of music uses on homepages and music services which only address a Swiss audience.

SUISA Digital’s responsibilities

SUISA has, for nearly six years, issued pan-European licences for online uses. In other words, the rights of SUISA members in the online world are not granted just for Switzerland, but directly for the whole of Europe. Thanks to the outstanding IT systems in this sector, SUISA was able to significantly increase the income of its members.

Another step followed in 2017: SUISA founded the Joint Venture, Mint Digital Services, with US collective management organisation SESAC. Until then, SUISA negotiated agreements with internet music providers (music service providers, abbreviated to MSPs) and managed the agreements itself upon their conclusion. With the creation of the Joint Venture, these two fundamental activities were split and outsourced. Mint Digital Services is responsible for the administration of the agreements i.e. the technical processing and invoicing in the name of the rights holders, whereas SUISA Digital is responsible for market monitoring, market penetration and the negotiation of the agreements. By way of another new introduction, the territory where the agreements apply was extended from Europe to nearly the whole world.

SUISA Digital is thus building a global licensing system and also offers this system to third parties. Collective management organisations from other countries can instruct SUISA Digital just like publishers can (for their Anglo-American repertoire), or authors from all over the world. That way, a cost-efficient management of rights can be ensured in the best possible manner.

Joint licences

SUISA Digital does not pursue this task by itself. It is in the interest of the rights holders as well as the MSPs to structure the negotiations in as efficient a manner as possible. That means to cover and govern as many rights as possible with as few agreements as possible. For this reason, SUISA Digital offers all MSPs to extend their agreements to the repertoire of SESAC Digital Licensing AG (in short: SESAC Digital). Provided that the MSP agrees, SUISA Digital and SESAC Digital jointly lead the negotiations and bundle their repertoire into a joint licence.

This is in the interest of the MSPs since it means they have to undertake less negotiation efforts, but also in the interest of SUISA Digital and SESAC Digital since a highly interesting “package” can be offered to the providers by joining up the repertoires. The advantage of this package is also that it does not just contain compositions which are used in Switzerland or Europe but also create a high demand globally.

The negotiations

At the end of 2017, a small but motivated team only focussed on preparing the negotiations. A multitude of information and figures had to be gathered and linked. Designing the agreement for areas outside Switzerland and Europe presented some challenges to the negotiation team. The parties agreed that the price of music should be linked mainly to the local significance of the music and the local buying power. It can thus be ensured that an adequate remuneration can be invoiced which remains affordable to the consumers.

Economic deliberations also made it clear that the big MSPs had to be approached first. The six biggest providers are responsible for 80% of the turnover. This statistical average does, of course, not apply for the music of all members: Those who are active in a specific music genre will at best have a bigger turnover on the platforms that focus specially on that genre. It was nevertheless paramount to prioritise the providers in line with their market share; knowing that certain big providers would be among the negotiation partners that would be harder to deal with.

Involving a mix of consistency, comprehension and rigour it was possible to make good progress in the negotiations. After twelve months, agreements could be entered into with all big MSPs or the negotiations are close to being concluded. Since these agreements are now ‘safe’, the next task is to complete the market penetration.

Until now, agreements with the following providers were jointly entered into with SESAC Digital:
YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Deezer, Beatport, Facebook, Soundcloud, Melody VR, and Qobuz.

Joint negotiations are underway with the following providers:
Amazon, Napster, Tidal, Juke, 7Digital, dailymotion, Mixcloud, Red Karaoke, Soundtrack your Brand, What people play, Anghami, Auro, Bleep, Emoticast, Idagio, Smule, Xtendamix, Yousician, Better Day Wireless, DJ City, Juno, Linn Record, Musically, Recisio und Radionomy.

Add to that another approximately 20 MSPs from which feedback is due, as well as about 10 MSPs which are only active on a national level in the selected territories.

Distribution

As mentioned at the outset, the relevant agreements are processed and administered by the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services. The distribution of the income is, however, done by SUISA Digital and SUISA. A minimum of six months lies between the usage period and the distribution. The reason for this is that we do not represent the global repertoire, compared to the traditional offline sector. We can thus not invoice everything and then distribute, but only what we identify.

In this context, we depend on the collaboration by our members: The quicker they notify us of their works, the faster we can generate the invoices. For this reason, we are waiting between 60 and 100 days before we process the reports, depending on the MSP. That way, we can ensure that the majority of the new works and thus works with the highest usage levels has been registered and can be distributed by us. The distribution of the income is then made, at the latest, in the quarter after the payment from the MSPs has reached us.

There are going to be bigger settlements in due course. Since all agreements had to be renegotiated, no invoices could be sent out during the ongoing negotiations. In the cases of Spotify or Deezer, this led to the fact that the uses of the entire year 2018 were only invoiced at the beginning of 2019.

Outlook

During the second business year, SUISA Digital is going to focus firstly on achieving a coverage of the internet music market which is as complete as possible. Secondly, it is paramount that new markets, also outside of Europe, will be opened up and to ensure that SUISA members receive the remuneration they are due from anywhere in the world. For this purpose, we are constantly collaborating with Mint to improve systems and processes in order to continue providing our members with the best possible services in future.

Related articles
SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital LicensingSUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing SUISA has founded a Joint Venture together with the US American collective management organisation SESAC under the name Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise shall licence the online usage of works by SUISA and SESAC members on a Europe-wide basis. The service range offered by the Joint Venture is also open to other market players such as (major) publishers or international collective management organisations. An interview with SUISA’s CEO Andreas Wegelin on the advantages and the significance of this cooperation. Read more
Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their worksCopyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works The Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. Read more
Stream ripping – tape recorders on the internetStream ripping – tape recorders on the internet Stream ripping software records audio and video streams. A copy of the entire stream can thus be saved as a file. Swiss copyright legislation provides for a private copy remuneration which is applicable to recording and storage media. Stream ripping apps are not covered by the statutory obligation to pay a levy – just like the tape recorders in the past. Read more
Collapse article
  1. Walter Thut says:

    Guten Tag,
    einen Fall welcher mich und andere von der SUISA vertretene Komponisten betrifft, und die oben genannten Zeitverschiebungen bei den Abrechnungungen fuer Urheber stark in Frage stellt, moechte ich gerne hier beschreiben:

    Die Urheber des bei dere SUISA angemeldeten Songs BACK TO THE DIRTY TOWN haben viele Millionen Clicks uf Youtube, und viele Screenshots Belege dass dieser Song seit 2017 z.B. in der Schweiz, Frankreich und den USA dauernd Webungen vorgeschaltet hat.

    Leider haben die Urherber von der SUISA noch keine einzige Ueberweisung erhalten. Obwohl die SUISA uns vor mehr als einem Jahr bestatigt hat, dass sie cies Clicks auch erfasst haben, und dass wir Verguetungen von der SUISA bis spaetestens Ende 2018 bekommen werden, haben wir noch keine einzige Abrechung dazu, und keinen einzigen Rappen ueberwiesen erhalten.

    Bei unserem digitalen Vertrieb funktioniert hingegen die Abrechnung sehr gut, und liegt bei mehreren Tausend CHF pro Jahr.

    Was stimmt hier nicht?

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.

A little more than one and a half years ago, SUISA founded its subsidiary company, SUISA Digital Licensing AG. The subsidiary company has now completed its first business year. A year which was under the auspices of development and brought about a multitude of new findings. It is time for retrospection and a first interim summary. Text by Fabian Niggemeier

The first year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG

The first business year of SUISA Digital Licensing AG was influenced by negotiations with many music service providers, successfully and jointly held with the SESAC Digital Licensing AG. (Photo: MichaelJayBerlin / Shutterstock.com)

By launching the subsidiary company, in short SUISA Digital, SUISA has outsourced cross-border and international online licensing in its entirety. SUISA is, from now, only responsible for the licensing of music uses on homepages and music services which only address a...read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rules for collective management

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

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

EU Directive authoritative for Liechtenstein

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

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

Adaptation of SUISA Articles of Association

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

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

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

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

Revision of the Articles of Association for online business

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts!

SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly takes place on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. It will be opened with a music performance by the ad hoc formation Swiss Ländlermix in line with the theme; “Folk music – Switzerland crossways”. Important business items on the agenda are the review of the Articles of Association, the new Complaints Committee and an election of a substitute for the Distribution and Works Committee. Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform will attend as guest speaker. Text by Dora Zeller

SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts!

Up to 19 June, members who are eligible to vote can register for SUISA’s General Assembly, which is to be held on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA’s General Assembly 2018 is determined by the review of the Articles of Association. The music business is changing: increased competition levels, new technologies, international networks, tougher regulations. SUISA wants and has to keep up with the developments and create a base for the successful advancement of the cooperative society.

Changes to the Articles of Association are therefore going to be proposed to the General Assembly. By way of the proposed amendments, SUISA’s Articles of Association will be brought in line with the Act on Collective Management Organisations (CMO Act) of Liechtenstein which has been ratified in March 2018, and thus with the European Directive on the Collective Management of Copyright.

Strengthening members’ rights and online business

The EU Directive which has in the meantime been implemented into national law in Liechtenstein, contains provisions which entail a strengthening of members’ rights. Apart from rules on transparency and for supervision of the collective management organisations, a significant point covers the making available of a complaint procedure for members. SUISA intends to create a Complaints Committee with well-versed persons from the music sector and legally adept experts. It will suggest committee members for election.

Apart from the above, it is necessary to adapt the Articles of Association to the EU Directive in order to continue to be able to licence online exploitations at cross-border level in the European Union. SUISA has been licensing music of SUISA members at pan-European level since 2013 in the online sector, partially even far beyond Europe’s borders.

Pursuant to the EU Directive, collective management organisations must meet certain standards in order to be able to carry out cross-border licensing. By way of revising the Articles of Association, the conditions will be met that SUISA can directly negotiate with and collect from online providers such as iTunes or Spotify regarding exploitations outside Switzerland and Liechtenstein, too. The online business is a focus of SUISA’s strategy for the immediate future. For this purpose, Mint Digital Services were founded together with SESAC (USA).

Statutory business

It features on the agenda each year: statutory business. The annual report, management report, financial statements, profit and loss accounts, cash flow statements, the annex to the annual accounts as well as the auditors’ report will be submitted to the General Assembly for approval. After that, the Board’s and the auditors’ activities are ratified, and an election determining the auditors for the current financial year takes place.

As usual, there will be an interim report on the current financial year. Management will report on the financial development in the first semester. Furthermore, those in charge of FONDATION SUISA will provide an overview of the activities of the foundation in 2017 at this year’s General Assembly.

Elections and guests

Natalie Riede will be proposed to the General Assembly for election into the Distribution and Works Committee as a substitute for Guido Röösli who is stepping down. She represents the Electronica sector, runs her own publishing company and has strong roots in the club scene.

There are multiple opportunities at the General Assembly to enter into conversation with many invited guests, e.g. representatives of music user associations, institutions or copyright experts. SUISA was able to secure a guest presentation by Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer. She is the President of Swissperform, the collective management organisation for neighbouring rights in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

How to get there / Catering

We recommend that participants take public transport to get to the Bierhübeli. The bus from Bern train station stops directly outside the event location. There are no parking spaces available. The Park & Ride car park Neufeld is within 10 minutes walking distance from the Bierhübeli. Coffee and Gipfeli will be offered prior to the General Assembly. After the assembly, a buffet lunch will be available.

SUISA Annual Report 2017On 24. May 2018, SUISA’s 2017 annual report has been published. It is available online or can be ordered as a printed version at: www.suisa.ch/annualreport
The turnover in 2017 is very positive. The results of CHF 139.2m from rights management in Switzerland is 2% above the 2016 results. SUISA can thus distribute a record amount to rights owners who are entitled to receive a payment. Continue reading in the media release (PDF)
Related articles
SUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlookSUISA’s financial year 2018: an outlook In the Committee and Board meetings towards the end of the year, framework conditions for the following financial year are set. As such, the meetings of the SUISA Board in December 2017 continued to be characterised by budgets, cost rates, staffing plans, roadmaps, politics and quite a bit more. Read more
SUISA settlement dates 2018 – and one improvementSUISA settlement dates 2018 – and one improvement SUISA shall stick to its established settlement dates in 2018. They comprise, in the main, four quarterly settlements as well as various supplementary settlements spread across the coming year in analogy to the previous year. From the 2nd semester of 2018 onwards, settlements of international collections shall be switched over to a quarterly distribution frequency. Read more
Changes to the distribution of collections for internet useChanges to the distribution of collections for internet use New distribution keys will be used for the distribution of collections for internet use (audio and video on demand offers). For downloads, a new key of 25% for performing rights and 75% for reproduction rights shall be applied. For streaming, the split shall consist of 75% performing rights and 25% reproduction rights. Read more

 

Collapse article

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.

SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly takes place on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. It will be opened with a music performance by the ad hoc formation Swiss Ländlermix in line with the theme; “Folk music – Switzerland crossways”. Important business items on the agenda are the review of the Articles of Association, the new Complaints Committee and an election of a substitute for the Distribution and Works Committee. Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of Swissperform will attend as guest speaker. Text by Dora Zeller

SUISA General Assembly 2018: Your opinion counts!

Up to 19 June, members who are eligible to vote can register for SUISA’s General Assembly, which is to be held on 22 June 2018 in the Bierhübeli in Bern. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

SUISA’s General Assembly 2018 is determined by the review of the Articles of Association. The music...read more

Copyright Act Review: Authors and publishers must benefit more from the online exploitation of their works

Last week, the Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. The “Transfer of Value”, for example, is extremely disappointing for creators and artists: Internet giants’ platforms continue to be the ones that cash in on the online exploitation of music and films. Creators and artists – and thus the suppliers of the content – are almost left empty-handed. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

The Copyright Act urgently requires provisions for the online exploitation of works protected by copyright. The value creation nowadays completely passes by creators and artists – and thus the producers of the content. It is especially the powerful internet industry that benefits strongly thanks to the revenue from advertising and usage data. (Image: yaichatchai / Shutterstock.com)

Many creators and artists, users’ associations and other target groups are likely to have received the current version of the Copyright Act with relief: The legal text is a giant step compared to the half-baked draft which the Federal Council had presented at the end of 2015, and which had caused nearly all interest groups to shake their heads. The outcome was that up to March 2016 a record number of more than 1,200 position papers were submitted. The working group on copyright AGUR12 II was also reactivated. We had already reported on this earlier this year, in March, via our SUISAblog.

Parliament supposed to blaze the trail for a modern Copyright Act

The working group is made up of creators and artists, producers, users, consumers, internet service providers, the Federal Office of Justice as well as additional representatives of the administration has obviously done a good job: In the current version, the proposals of the working group were adopted to a large extent. It is now down to the Parliament to blaze the trail for a modernised version of the Copyright Act. SUISA as well as other Swiss collective management organisations support the compromise.

This does, however, not mean that the current version does not need any improvements. On the contrary – the biggest problems of digitisation for creators and artists remains unsolved: Protected works in videos, texts, images and music data have never been used at the same intensity levels as they are today via the internet. Some major internet companies are the profiteers of this exploitation while the value creation almost completely passes by creators and artists – and thus the producers of the content.

Thanks to the internet: Music lovers can nowadays access an enormous number of films, music pieces, books and news articles, nearly from anywhere and at any time. There is no longer a need for physical work copies. The availability in the Cloud or access via streaming is now enough. Apart from online distributors such as Apple, Spotify, Netflix or Amazon, music and films are nowadays mainly shared via social media platforms such as YouTube or Facebook.

Many internet providers hardly take care of copyright

Online distributors usually take care of copyright and enter into licensing agreements with producers and collective management organisations. This leads to musicians, producers and other creators and artists to receive a remuneration for their work. In the case of intermediaries, e.g. social media platforms and aggregators such as Tunein, the situation is different. The technical services they offer also allow users to disseminate works protected by copyright. In such models where protected content is shared, the providers hardly look after the copyright. On the contrary: They regularly pass the responsibility on to the users who upload the contents.

Add to that the fact that social media platforms and aggregators are the competitors of online distributors such as iTunes or Spotify – they yield high financial gains without participating the authors adequately. A European study shows that value added for the operators of such platforms is very high thanks to works such as music and films protected by copyright. 18% of Google’s income, for example, is made on the back of protected works e.g. via sponsored links. If the protected works were to fall away, the click rate and therefore the attractiveness of the search engine would drop. The value creation on platforms such as YouTube is even higher – they yield 2/3 of their turnover with contents protected by copyright – mainly from advertising, but also sales of profile data. They do, however, defer the act of clearing the copyright to those uploading the contents, even though the latter are not even in a position to do so.

A discussion on the Transfer of Value must also take place in Switzerland

Authors, the actual creators of the works, receive no or hardly any remuneration at all in the case of such platforms. This calls for urgent action. In the EU there has been a discussion on the Transfer of Value on the internet for quite some time. It is therefore high time to bring this discussion to Switzerland. Urgent measures are needed in Switzerland so that the transfer of value away from authors can be stopped – and therefore the creeping expropriation of creators and artists. Social media platforms, aggregators and search engine operators must be obligated to pay a compensation for the works used via their technical platforms.

SUISA and other Swiss collective management organisations are therefore going to introduce these important additions to the legislative process. Creators and artists must get a fairer share in the value creation on online platforms.

Related articles
Swiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working groupSwiss Copyright Review: SUISA in charge of a working group Given the diverging reactions to the preliminary draft for the copyright law review, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga consulted the AGUR12 again in the summer of 2016 – the latter is a working group consisting of representatives from the affected sectors. The working group had the goal to look for conjoint solutions. Read more
Second attempt to review the Swiss Copyright ActSecond attempt to review the Swiss Copyright Act The preliminary draft by the Swiss Federal Council for a review of the Swiss Copyright Act was not able to carry a majority during the consultation. The Federal Councillor in charge, Simonetta Sommaruga, has therefore called upon a working group again. AGUR12 II is asked to work out specific legislative proposals alongside the compromise that had been achieved by AGUR12 and been in place for more than 2 years. Read more
Copyright: Quo vadis?Copyright: Quo vadis? In December 2015, the Federal Council presented the draft for the review of the Swiss Copyright Act. At the same time, the consultation started, which is open until March 2016. Read more
Collapse article
  1. sam says:

    danke für ihren einsatz

  2. Stevens says:

    They stole our revolution and now they steal our music.

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.

Last week, the Federal Council has adopted a dispatch on the new Copyright Act. SUISA is in principle content with the current version of the law. The solutions achieved in the working group for the Copyright Act (AGUR12 II) were implemented. In order for authors, performers, publishers and producers to benefit better from the digitisation, it is necessary to adopt important additions. The “Transfer of Value”, for example, is extremely disappointing for creators and artists: Internet giants’ platforms continue to be the ones that cash in on the online exploitation of music and films. Creators and artists – and thus the suppliers of the content – are almost left empty-handed. Text by Andreas Wegelin, CEO

The Copyright Act urgently requires provisions for the online exploitation of works protected by copyright. The value...read more

Blockchain – an ending or future for collective management organisations?

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

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related articles
Third party content on your own website must be paid for pursuant to Swiss legislationThird party content on your own website must be paid for pursuant to Swiss legislation If you operate a website, you cannot dispose of the copyright of third party contents without authorisation. If you use third party contents on your own website, you require an authorisation from the author pursuant to Swiss legislation in effect, irrespective of the type of the technical integration. SUISA issues licences for the online exploitation of music, including music in videos, and negotiates these case by case. Read more
To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 yearsTo be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years The General Assembly of our Cooperative Society will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017, in Zurich. Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive results of the annual accounts for 2016, SUISA is also going to report on the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services, co-founded with SESAC, plus on the developments regarding the copyright revision and the debate on the ‘service public’. Read more
Mint Digital Services: FAQsMint Digital Services: FAQs SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

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

Blockchain - an ending or future for collective management organisations?

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

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

To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years

The General Assembly of our Cooperative Society will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017, in Zurich. Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive results of the annual accounts for 2016, SUISA is also going to report on the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services, co-founded with SESAC, plus on the developments regarding the copyright revision and the debate on the ‘service public’. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years

SUISA founded the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services together with US authors’ society SESAC. The project helps improve the competitiveness of SUISA in the online music market. Shown in the picture: Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO (on the left), and John Josephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC Holding. (Photo: Hannah McKay)

SUISA can look back on a successful financial year 2016. Thanks to the positive year-end result, we are able to pay out more than CHF 128m to those who are entitled to receive a payment. That is more than ever before in the successful history of the Cooperative Society SUISA, spanning more than 90 years.

We are also doing well in terms of our costs. An average cost coverage deduction of 12.37% shows that we have the costs under control. If you take the reoccurring supplementary distribution of 7% into consideration as a contribution to the costs, the actual percentage amounts to 6.75% of the pay-outs to those entitled to receive a payment.

SUISA improves its competitiveness in the online market

Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive annual accounts, we are also going to present the newly founded project for the improvement of SUISA’s international competitiveness in the online music market.

Together with the US authors’ society SESAC, we have founded Mint Digital Services as a Joint Venture back in February 2017. The JV enterprise offers services in relation to the administration and processing of online music licences. With this JV, we emphasise our strategic direction, i.e. to offer rightsholders an efficient and cost-effective administration.

Wanted: Active participation of our cooperative members

There will also be news on the legal framework conditions. AGUR12 II has passed a compromise for the attention of the Head of the Ministry in the EJPD (Federal Department of Justice and Police, FDJP); we are now waiting for it to be substantiated in a legislative draft.

Please do take part in our General Assembly. Only your active participation ensures that SUISA will be there for its members as a Cooperative Society in future.

See you on 23 June 2017 in the Kaufleuten Zurich.

Related articles
Attend the SUISA General Assembly 2017 and take part in the decision-making processAttend the SUISA General Assembly 2017 and take part in the decision-making process SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly shall take place on Friday, 23 June 2017 in the Kaufleuten Festsaal in Zurich. How did financial year 2016 go? Who will be newly elected into the Distribution and Works Committee? What’s next for the “Service Public” at SRG? What are the aims of the recently created JV Mint Digital Services? Read more
Commentary on SUISA’s annual results for 2016Commentary on SUISA’s annual results for 2016 SUISA can report a very successful financial year 2016. The result reflects an all-time high regarding the income from domestic copyright exploitation. In the Cooperative Society’s history of more than 90 years, this is a record sum in terms of remuneration that is due for distribution. The average cost coverage deduction remains low – about CHF 88 per CHF 100 of the income collected can be paid out to authors and publishers that are entitled to receive such remuneration. Read more
SUISA member services: one look back, one look forwardSUISA member services: one look back, one look forward Quicker pay-outs due to quarterly settlements, simpler data processing via online works registrations, digital access to statements via “my account”, more efficiency via online forms … What’s next – settlements in “real time”? Will there be no more paper dispatched in future? Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

The General Assembly of our Cooperative Society will take place on Friday, 23 June 2017, in Zurich. Members will have the opportunity during the General Assembly to co-determine the destiny of their cooperative society. Apart from the positive results of the annual accounts for 2016, SUISA is also going to report on the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services, co-founded with SESAC, plus on the developments regarding the copyright revision and the debate on the ‘service public’. By Andreas Wegelin, CEO

To be continued: Our success story, spanning more than 90 years

SUISA founded the Joint Venture Mint Digital Services together with US authors’ society SESAC. The project helps improve the competitiveness of SUISA in the online music market. Shown in the picture: Andreas Wegelin, SUISA CEO (on the left), and John Josephson, Chairman and CEO of SESAC Holding. (Photo: Hannah McKay)

SUISA can look...read more

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs: By Fabian Niggemeier, Martin Korrodi, Sebastian Spring and Erika Weibel

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA is relying on its high-performance, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to develop new business. (Graphics: Hej – Büro für Strategie und Gestaltung in Kultur und Wirtschaft, Zurich)

What is Mint Digital Services?
Mint Digital Services is a joint venture established by SUISA and SESAC, a US music rights organisation. Mint Digital Services offers administration services for multi-territorial online music licensing. Essentially, its services involve processing usage reports for online platforms, identifying represented repertoires, and invoicing.

The purpose of Mint Digital Services is on the one hand to streamline online licensing of SESAC and SUISA’s own repertoires. On the other, the joint venture intends to offer its services to large music publishers and, in due course, to other collective management organisations.

What were the reasons underlying SESAC and SUISA’s decision to establish Mint Digital Services?
There were three main reasons:

  1. Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA can turn to account its high-performance IT infrastructure for the development of new business areas.
  2. The joint venture will enable SUISA to fully exploit the capacity of its existing IT infrastructure. So far, SUISA’s extensive investment in its online licensing and distribution activities has only served its own repertoire. With little additional cost, Mint Digital Services can take on the invoicing and administration of SESAC’s repertoire and those of other publishers – at a later date perhaps even for other collective management organisations.
  3. SUISA is equipping itself for the future. In coming years, collective management organisations will see their monopolies challenged. The rule that only one society should be responsible for licensing the world repertoire in its own country is gradually eroding. The trend towards direct licensing – in other words, multi-territorial licensing of (solely) own repertoire – is progressing even outside the online sector.

Should members apply to Mint for online uses of their works?
No. Nothing will change for SUISA members. SUISA remains the contact for members and will continue to issue their settlement statements. Mint Digital Services simply provides services to SUISA.

Developing a new company costs money. Will members now receive lower settlements owing to higher cost-coverage deductions by SUISA?
No. The greater part of the investment was already made in recent years since SUISA has regularly upgraded its IT – regardless of the joint venture. The cost of developing the new company is therefore relatively low, and the business plan shows that the investment can be fully depreciated in a few years.

Can members expect to receive more money, more quickly for uses in the USA thanks to the partnership with SESAC?
The partnership with SESAC will have no effect on settlement flows from the USA. The joint venture only concerns online uses outside the USA. SUISA will continue to use its best efforts to improve payments from the USA and other countries. However, SUISA has only limited influence on the practice of the foreign sister societies.

Warner is a customer of Mint Digital Services. Does that mean that SUISA will henceforth focus on the majors to the detriment of the needs of its members?
No. Warner is Mint’s customer – not SUISA’s. Moreover, SUISA strives to be as customer-oriented as possible, regardless whether it is dealing with a major, an independent or an author.

Will Mint Digital Services be responsible for licensing the online repertoire?
No. The joint venture will only provide administration and invoicing services. SESAC and SUISA will establish two separate companies in the coming weeks to handle the licensing of their repertoires. Mint SESAC Licensing, a subsidiary of SESAC, and Mint SUISA Licensing, a subsidiary of SUISA. The two companies will be responsible for the separate online licensing of their respective rights, and for the performing rights of most Anglo-American companies.

Can SUISA now negotiate better terms and conditions with online platforms?
We may be able to negotiate better contracts with certain online platforms. But it is up to the platforms themselves to decide whether they want to negotiate with the SUISA and SESAC licensing entities individually or jointly. If they decide in favour of joint negotiations, Mint SUISA Licensing may be able to profit from the larger SESAC repertoire in order to obtain better terms and conditions.

SUISA regularly renegotiates its contracts with online platforms with a view to securing the best possible terms and conditions for authors and publishers; Mint SUISA Licensing will do the same.

Press release: “SUISA and SESAC Launch Mint Digital Services and Join Forces with Warner/Chappell Music as its First Client”
For more information about Mint visit the website of the joint venture: www.mintservices.com

 Related articles
SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing SUISA has founded a Joint Venture together with the US American collective management organisation SESAC under the name Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise shall licence the online usage of works by SUISA and SESAC members on a Europe-wide basis. The service range offered by the Joint Venture is also open to other market players such as (major) publishers or international collective management organisations. An interview with SUISA’s CEO Andreas Wegelin on the advantages and the significance of this cooperation. Read more
Sustainable growth for members Cooperative societies excel by their solid economic activities. This is also true for SUISA. The cooperative society for composers, lyricists and publishers of music has slightly increased its income in 2015. SUISA pays out approx. 88% of its income to the rightsholders. That’s a total of CHF 125m. The cooperative society thus makes a substantial contribution to the financial livelihood of its members. Below is an analysis of the annual result. Read more
Why our members don’t have to notify SUISA whether their works are on Youtube Members have recently asked us along the lines of ‘how, where and when can I tell SUISA that my works are on YouTube’. We explain in the following reply to a member’s query why authors do not have to notify SUISA whether their works are available on the video platform. Read more
Collapse article

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.

SUISA and SESAC, a US collective management organisation, have established Mint Digital Services as a joint venture. Mint Digital Services will take over the invoicing and administration services for SESAC and SUISA’s online licensing activities. The joint venture will also offer services to publishers and collective management organisations. Warner/Chappel Music, a major publisher, is already using Mint’s services. Here the main FAQs: By Fabian Niggemeier, Martin Korrodi, Sebastian Spring and Erika Weibel

Mint Digital Services: FAQs

Through Mint Digital Services, SUISA is relying on its high-performance, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure to develop new business. (Graphics: Hej – Büro für Strategie und Gestaltung in Kultur und Wirtschaft, Zurich)

What is Mint Digital Services?
Mint Digital Services is a joint venture established by SUISA and SESAC, a US music rights organisation. Mint Digital Services offers administration services for multi-territorial online music...read more

The fight for the copyright review gets tougher

Dear members, the Swiss Federal Council launched the consultation for a draft to review copyright in December 2015. The draft followed the recommendations by AGUR12. However, further proposals were added from the administration and as a result of parliamentary initiatives. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

The fight for the copyright review gets tougher

SUISA continues the fight for copyright and is getting ready for the digital future at the same time: Together with the US-American collective management organisation, SESAC, it founded Mint Digital Licensing, a joint venture issuing online licences. (Photo: ScandinavianStock / Shutterstock)

The draft was welcomed with keen interest, reflected by as many as 1,224 statements submitted during the consultation process. Unfortunately, they highlighted the fundamental differences in opinion. Something that had been expected: There are inherent risks when moving away from the compromise of the AGUR 12 (a working group on copyright that had been set up by Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga in 2012) in the context of an issue as disputed as copyright.

Copyright review: The devil is in the detail

At the end of 2016, Ms Sommaruga asked the same working group to transfer their suggestions into legislative provisions and, where necessary, submit further compromise proposals. It probably was the best that could have been done, even though another option could have been to instruct an expert committee with such editorial tasks: As we all know, the devil is in the detail …

Furthermore, a neutral expert committee could have increased the legitimacy of the proposals of AGUR12. But SUISA which is represented in the working group, will join into this second round.

Cooperation with the American organisation SESAC

Given the circumstances, the plan of a stricter Federal supervision on collective management organisations is not likely to be pursued further. This is good news. After all, the future is digital, and the rights management for online usages of music follows competition rules at the instigation of the European Union.

SUISA takes the new circumstances into account and has created a joint venture, Mint Digital Licensing, together with the American organisation SESAC. Yes, dear members, your eyes didn’t deceive you: The rightsholders in the USA are interested in SUISA’s know-how and the technology so that they can manage their rights in Europe! This implies investments, innovative spirit, additional responsibility and all the risks that a free market entails. Any interference by the government would not have been appropriate in this context.

Yet, the fight for the copyright review can be expected to get tougher. We will have to prove to the market and to consumers that collective management organisations do not just claim money from them. We must show that we create the necessary legal certainty by enabling them to acquire the rights in a simple process and at a fair price for all. The fight has not been won yet – but it’s worth being fought!

Related articles
Sustainable growth for members Cooperative societies excel by their solid economic activities. This is also true for SUISA. The cooperative society for composers, lyricists and publishers of music has slightly increased its income in 2015. SUISA pays out approx. 88% of its income to the rightsholders. That’s a total of CHF 125m. The cooperative society thus makes a substantial contribution to the financial livelihood of its members. Below is an analysis of the annual result. Read more
Right in the middle of it and in full swing to improve the service range offered to members – A glance on the service range offered by SUISA for its members shows: During the last few years, there have been innovations which brought about more efficiency and quality. Among these are more detailed settlement statements, the web portal “my account” and the digitisation of member files. These improvements signify a continu-ous process with SUISA right in the middle of it – and in full swing at it, as the follow-ing outlook shows: New: quarterly distributions. “My account” is undergoing further development. We are modernising the technology of our works database. Our member services are also subjected to a fundamental review. Read more
Collapse article

Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

Dear members, the Swiss Federal Council launched the consultation for a draft to review copyright in December 2015. The draft followed the recommendations by AGUR12. However, further proposals were added from the administration and as a result of parliamentary initiatives. By Vincent Salvadé, Deputy CEO

The fight for the copyright review gets tougher

SUISA continues the fight for copyright and is getting ready for the digital future at the same time: Together with the US-American collective management organisation, SESAC, it founded Mint Digital Licensing, a joint venture issuing online licences. (Photo: ScandinavianStock / Shutterstock)

The draft was welcomed with keen interest, reflected by as many as 1,224 statements submitted during the consultation process. Unfortunately, they highlighted the fundamental differences in opinion. Something that had been expected: There are inherent risks when moving away from the compromise of the AGUR 12 (a...read more

SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing

SUISA has founded a Joint Venture together with the US American collective management organisation SESAC under the name Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise shall licence the online usage of works by SUISA and SESAC members on a Europe-wide basis. The service range offered by the Joint Venture is also open to other market players such as (major) publishers or international collective management organisations. An interview with SUISA’s CEO Andreas Wegelin on the advantages and the significance of this cooperation.

SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing

Important step in terms of online licensing: SUISA and SESAC found the Joint Venture Mint Digital Licensing (Photo: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock)

SUISA communicates its cooperation with the US American collective management organisation SESAC at the beginning of August 2016. What are the plans of the two societies?
Andreas Wegelin: SUISA and our US American sister society SESAC intend to cooperate in the online music business. More specifically, they want to provide international licensing of music offers which are available online. To this end, we will create a Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise is going to issue licences to providers of music streaming and download services for the repertoire of SUISA and SESAC for all of Europe. The Joint Venture is also going to offer its services to third parties; for example to major publishers which can assign their online rights in Europe directly, or other collective management organisations which are not in a position to carry out international licensing themselves.

SUISA and SESAC will jointly negotiate with the online service providers within the remit of the Joint Venture. And the negotiations in this case will not just be with providers with which SUISA already has agreements. Agreements with new providers are also going to be part of the negotiation process.

How did the cooperation between SUISA and SESAC come about?
SESAC was looking for a reliable partner for the markets outside of the USA in order to license its repertoire successfully in those territories. During this process, the US American sister society approached SUISA and asked to enter into a cooperation.

Which advantages does the Joint Venture have for both societies?
Both collective management organisations have the aim to create financial benefits for their members from online exploitation of their works. The Joint Venture represents repertoire of more than 11.5 million works of SESAC and 4.5 million works of SUISA, of more than 110,000 composers, lyricists and publishers in total. Thanks to the size and relevance of the joint repertoire both societies strengthen their negotiation position vis-a-vis the online service providers. As a consequence, the most important benefit of the Joint Venture is to be able to represent the interests of the SUISA and SESAC members in the negotiations with Spotify, Apple, YouTube and others with more gravity. The fair remuneration of authors and publishers for online music uses is therefore the main concern.

Specifically from SUISA’s perspective, another aspect is important: We have invested some of our resources into the modernisation of our IT infrastructure in the past years. We did this to create a good starting position for us regarding the online music business. It is now possible for us to offer our IT services to other societies and publishers against payment, and to use the full capacity of our systems. Another effect will be that we will generate higher secondary income. Half of the profit from Mint Digital Licensing goes to SUISA, for example. Higher secondary income helps us to keep the cost deductions for the distributions to SUISA members at a lower level. Taking the supplementary distribution into consideration, the deduction we took in 2015 was an average of 6.76%.

A low administration cost rate will remain an important issue for us in future. It is possible that, in a few years, a competitive situation arises regarding the management of broadcasting rights, as we already experience it for online rights today. In a worst case scenario, part of the income from the administration of broadcasting rights might fall away. This would mean that we have less income, but more or less the same expenditure. Higher cost deductions from the settlements paid to our members would be the consequence. Said higher secondary income counteracts such measures.

Thanks to the cooperation with SESAC in the Joint Venture, SUISA can thus not only strengthen its market position in the online business, but also generate secondary income simultaneously, helping to keep cost deductions low – all of which is a benefit to SUISA members.

SUISA members will also have a simple access to controlling and managing their catalogues, licences and royalty settlements via the Joint Venture in future.

What changes for SUISA members following the Joint Venture?
The cooperation with SUISA remains the same for members, be it concerning the range of services offered by SUISA or the scope of rights management. There are no plans for a new rights administration agreement or changes to the distribution rules as a consequence of the Joint Venture. The member services of SUISA will continue to look after the members – there won’t be any changes regarding our members’ contact partners. The fact that licensing is now being executed by the Joint Venture does not entail a duplicate admin process for members; just like before, the cost deductions are only carried out once. Only the online service providers will be affected by the main changes: The SUISA repertoire will be licensed to online music services via the Joint Venture.

How many staff will be employed by the Joint Venture and where will the company be located?
The exact structure of the Joint Venture as well as the choice of the company location is still being defined at this stage. We intend to keep the organisational structure of Mint Digital Licensing as lean as possible. Both SUISA as well as SESAC have the aim to work together efficiently and to keep admin costs low.

What is the ownership structure of the Joint Venture? Are you going to sell a part of SUISA?
No. SUISA will remain 100% independent. It will provide its own services to the Joint Venture. Furthermore, both companies [SUISA and SESAC] will contribute a six-digit amount in order to cover the initial costs of the joint enterprise. SESAC and SUISA own 50% each of Mint Digital Licensing. This also means that both companies are equal partners within the Joint Venture.

What implications does the Joint Venture have for SUISA employees? Is a reorganisation or a staff reduction planned?
Personnel cutbacks are not going to be made at SUISA as a consequence of the Joint Venture. It might even lead to a slight increase in job positions. With regards the company organisation, some employees who already work for the online licensing area will continue their work in the name of Mint Digital Licensing from now on. A reorganisation at SUISA due to the Joint Venture is not going to take place.

The Joint Venture marks an important development for SUISA as an organisation: As mentioned before, cross-border competition exists regarding the rights assignment in the online music market in Europe. SUISA can now directly manage the online rights for its members across the whole of Europe. Vice versa, this also applies to international sister societies. As a consequence, relating to its online business, SUISA is in direct competition with collective management organisations such as SACEM, GEMA, PRS or the Swedish STIM. This competition in the online area is a new experience for SUISA. We are ready thanks to our range of specific services. Exciting times are ahead of us.

(Photo: isler-fotografie.ch)

Christian Fighera, co-founder of Two Gentlemen and Board members of SUISA, comments on the Joint Venture:

“I am very happy about the step SUISA has taken to enter into this Joint Venture with SESAC. In a world where the online distribution has been completely liberalised, it is an advantage that our members are treated as equals to famous international composers. Thanks to the Joint Venture, we can license a comprehensive and attractive repertoire on a worldwide basis. At the same time, we can strengthen our competences and our relationships with new partners. New authors and well-established artists alike will be able to benefit from this Joint Venture. It also shows that SUISA can make progress and develop itself further while offering member and customer-oriented high-quality services.”

Who is SESAC?
SESAC is one of the three big US American collective management organisations for performing rights. The company was founded in 1930 and its legal form is subject to private law. John Josephson has been CEO and Chairman of SESAC for the last two years. He is pursuing an innovative strategy with its organisation in order to absorb the fast structural and technological change in the music business and to continue developing SESAC to an integral music rights organisation – a one stop shop.
As a consequence, he invested in state-of-the-art IT systems and made sure they were brought to cutting-edge technology levels. They are comparable to the SUISA systems. In 2014, SESAC bought and incorporated Rumblefish, a company specialised in micro-licensing. Last year, SESAC bought the Harry Fox Agency (HFA), a big organisation for mechanical rights. HFA represents about 48,000 US American music publishers.
SESAC looks after music creators such as Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Beyoncé, Green Day, Mariah Carey and many other globally successful artists. Among the film composers looked after by SESAC are Christophe Beck, Jeff Beal, Danny Lux, Jon Ehrlich, Dennis C. Brown or Bruce Miller. SESAC also represents SESAC TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, Dateline NBC, Dr. Phil, Seinfeld or The Doctors.On the Harry Fox Agency:
HFA has been looking after the mechanical rights of music publishers in the USA since 1927. For years, HFA has grown to become one of the biggest licensor of mechanical rights, representing about 48,000 music publishers and thus a repertoire of more than 6.7m compositions as of today. After the takeover by SESAC, the repertoires were merged and are now managed by the SESAC systems.
Related articles
Stream ripping – tape recorders on the internet Stream ripping software records audio and video streams. A copy of the entire stream can thus be saved as a file. Swiss copyright legislation provides for a private copy remuneration which is applicable to recording and storage media. Stream ripping apps are not covered by the statutory obligation to pay a levy – just like the tape recorders in the past. Read more
Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else? SUISA manages the rights for its members globally. You should carefully review and consider the relevant effort and income if you wanted to become a member of several authors’ societies. SUISA has entered into reciprocal agreements with over 100 sister societies globally. These agreements provide SUISA members with a big advantage: They can exercise their musical activities outside of Switzerland – the payment of the relevant copyright remuneration is made in the usual manner by its trusted society, SUISA. Read more
Why our members don’t have to notify SUISA whether their works are on Youtube Members have recently asked us along the lines of ‘how, where and when can I tell SUISA that my works are on YouTube’. We explain in the following reply to a member’s query why authors do not have to notify SUISA whether their works are available on the video platform. Read more

 

Collapse article

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.

SUISA has founded a Joint Venture together with the US American collective management organisation SESAC under the name Mint Digital Licensing. The new enterprise shall licence the online usage of works by SUISA and SESAC members on a Europe-wide basis. The service range offered by the Joint Venture is also open to other market players such as (major) publishers or international collective management organisations. An interview with SUISA’s CEO Andreas Wegelin on the advantages and the significance of this cooperation.

SUISA creates Joint Venture with SESAC: Mint Digital Licensing

Important step in terms of online licensing: SUISA and SESAC found the Joint Venture Mint Digital Licensing (Photo: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock)

SUISA communicates its cooperation with the US American collective management organisation SESAC at the beginning of August 2016. What are the plans of the two societies?
Andreas Wegelin: SUISA and our US American...read more