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SUISA membership in numbers

More than 38,000 authors and publishers have instructed SUISA with the management of their rights. Where are they from, how old are they and are there more men or women who are composers? The figures and graphics below provide an insight into SUISA’s membership structure. Text by Claudia Kempf

SUISA membership in numbers

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

Age distribution

The majority of members is between 31 and 60 years old. This is due to the fact that authors have an average age of 33 years when they join SUISA and that there has been a steep increase in new members over the last 20 years.

Age distribution

Gender

The overwhelming majority of active members are men. There is, however, a slight notable change: 45% of active female authors have joined SUISA in the last ten years.

Gender

Language composition

The language composition within SUISA roughly correspond with the linguistic distribution within Switzerland, except for the fact that French-speaking authors are represented in slightly higher numbers.

Language composition

Residence

Unfortunately, notifications on the change of address to SUISA sometimes gets forgotten. As a consequence, SUISA does not know the address of around 15% of its members. In the case where SUISA does not hold a valid correspondence address during a period of five years, the respective Rights Administration Agreement and membership lapse at the end of that year. The rights then fall back to the author and are no longer managed by SUISA.

Residence

Associate members, full members

Music creators and publishers are, first of all, accepted asassociate members. Once they have been registered for at least one year with SUISA and have reached the minimum threshold of CHF 2,000 in revenue from authors’ rights, they become full members with voting and election rights. Subsidiary publishing entities can never attain full membership status; this explains the high share of publishers that do not have voting rights.

Associate members, full members

Membership years

The graphics provide an impressive insight into the strong growth of new member numbers over the last few years, especially among authors. Compared to that, new memberships among publishers have remained constant for quite a few years now.

Membership years

All information correct as of April 2018.

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Dual memberships: SUISA, and what else?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. If you live outside of Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, you can also become a SUISA member. Last but not least, it is also possible to be a member of another collective management organisation in addition to your SUISA membership. The following FAQs are intended to summarise what you need to consider when contemplating a so-called dual membership. Read more
A bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General AssemblyA bird’s eye view of SUISA’s 2018 General Assembly On 22 June 2018, 208 voting members streamed into the Bierhübeli in Bern. They were there to participate in shaping the destiny of their cooperative society, and to take advantage of the opportunity to network and exchange information. Members, Board members, Executive Committee members, guests from cultural and political spheres, and SUISA staff – all were attending the SUISA’s 2018 Ordinary General Assembly. Read more
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More than 38,000 authors and publishers have instructed SUISA with the management of their rights. Where are they from, how old are they and are there more men or women who are composers? The figures and graphics below provide an insight into SUISA’s membership structure. Text by Claudia Kempf

SUISA membership in numbers

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

Age distribution

The majority of members is between 31 and 60 years old. This is due to the fact that authors have an average age of 33 years when they join SUISA and that there has been a steep increase in new members over the last 20 years.

Age distribution

Gender

The overwhelming majority of active members are men. There is, however, a slight notable change: 45% of active female authors have joined SUISA in the last ten years.

Gender

Language composition

The language composition within SUISA roughly...read more

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

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 Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

During SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne, the review of the Pension Fund Regulations was ratified by SUISA members. The changes came into force per 01 January 2017. What do the new regulations mean for our members? Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

The current regulations for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers is available in Italian, French and German on SUISA’s website. (Image: Manu Leuenberger)

There were various reasons for SUISA tabling a review of the Pension Fund Regulations: The old regulations set off discussions time and again on whether they sufficiently reflected practice, and that the wording was not specific enough. These issues could be remedied with the review. On top of the above issues, the regulations had to be adapted to the current legislation (Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans/foundation law). Following these amendments, we now have a set of current and fair Pension Fund Regulations.

This is what the system now looks like for our members:

Authors

The Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers (UVF) provides for pension support for our members and affiliates. Once they have reached their pension age, a payment to authors and their respective survivors is guaranteed subject to specific conditions and up to a specific amount at previous levels. The UVF pays such guaranteed income as a pension benefit in such cases if less or no remuneration at all is paid in the course of ongoing distributions. In contrast to a support for the second pillar, the UVF fund only finances the part which authors do no longer receive from the ongoing SUISA distributions.

The UVF fund guarantees authors an income from SUISA when they reach pension age. This is calculated based on the annual average of their previous earnings from the SUISA distributions (the so-called reference income), depends on the membership length and is also multiplied with a factor to be determined by the Pension Board.

The effective pension payment corresponds to the difference between the reference income and the SUISA remuneration in the pension year. The level of the guaranteed income is set at a maximum of CHF 38,500 per annum. Those who receive royalties of more than CHF 38,500 from SUISA distributions for performances and broadcasts, even at pension age, will not be eligible to benefit from the UVF.

The fund is financed by the deductions that SUISA makes from all distributions of the collections arising from performances, broadcasts and compensation claims in Switzerland and Liechtenstein (7.5%).

Publishers

SUISA also makes a deduction on behalf of publishers for the UVF. The UVF thus also provides for pension benefits for publishers if they fulfil the conditions in terms of publishing activities in Switzerland. Publishing companies can, however, not be pensioned. As a consequence, they receive benefits from the fund as soon as they are accepted as affiliates and/or members of SUISA; these benefits are made in the form of contributions to their own occupational benefit institution of the second pillar. It is important that publishers inform SUISA about their occupational benefit institution and submit the relevant payment details.

Revised Pension Fund Regulations

There are no fundamental changes to the SUISA benefits system. The most important changes, apart from some specifications and formulations, are:

  1. Various adaptations to the Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans (BVG).
  2. Conditions for the pension of civil partners – as per the new BVG definition – are: The same regulation shall apply for registered and (unregistered) surviving partners as for surviving spouses.
  3. New competence of the Pension Board (Board of SUISA) for regulation changes.

On SUISA’s website, under www.suisa.ch/fuersorgereglement the new regulations as well as a synoptical representation is available, comparing the old and currently valid regulations with the relevant amendments and comments.

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During SUISA’s ordinary General Assembly on 24 June 2016 in Berne, the review of the Pension Fund Regulations was ratified by SUISA members. The changes came into force per 01 January 2017. What do the new regulations mean for our members? Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

New Pension Fund Regulations in force from 01 January 2017

The current regulations for the SUISA Pension Fund for Authors and Publishers is available in Italian, French and German on SUISA’s website. (Image: Manu Leuenberger)

There were various reasons for SUISA tabling a review of the Pension Fund Regulations: The old regulations set off discussions time and again on whether they sufficiently reflected practice, and that the wording was not specific enough. These issues could be remedied with the review. On top of the above issues, the regulations had to be adapted to the current legislation (Federal...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.

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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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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

«Was mache ich als Verleger mit all diesen Werken?»

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