Tag Archives: Reports on music use

The revised copyright law has come into force

The coronavirus pandemic has naturally eclipsed this event. Yet the amended Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020 after the Pirate Party failed its attempt to launch a popular referendum. Text by Vincent Salvadé

The revised copyright law has come into force

The updated Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

This concluded the efforts of ten years’ work. The revision was initiated in 2010 when State Concillor Geraldine Savary, who subsequently joined SUISA’s Board, filed a postulate titled “Does Switzerland need a law against unlawful downloading of music?”

How will the new law affect SUISA’s activity? The following points are noteworthy:

The law introduces new anti-piracy measures:
Under certain conditions, hosting platforms are henceforth obliged to durably prevent unlawful content from being remade available through the use of their services (stay down obligation, Article 39d CopA); moreover, rightholders may process personal data insofar as this is essential for the purpose of criminal prosecution (Article 77i CopA).

Certain measures are designed to improve collective rights management:
Users must provide the collective rights management organisations with the necessary information in an electronic form allowing for automatic data processing (Article 51(1) CopA); collective rights management organisations are entitled to exchange the information provided by users with one another (Article 51(1bis) CopA); accelerated procedure for tariff appeals before the Federal Administrative Court (Article 74(2) CopA); and the Federal Arbitration Commission responsible for approving tariffs is now entitled to hear witnesses (see new Article 14(1)(h) of the Federal Act on Administrative Procedure).

Lastly, the notion of an “extended collective licence” has been introduced into Swiss law (Article 43a CopA):
Collecting societies can now grant a blanket authorisation for certain uses, even for rightholders they do not represent contractually; this enhances the legal certainty for users and secures additional remuneration for rightholders. This option applies to uses which cannot be individually controlled by rightholders; collecting societies would act as an “insurance” (of a sort) for users. This is a welcome innovation (already applied in Scandinavian countries) which underscores the role of “facilitator” often played by collective rights management organisations.

SUISA accompanied the entire legislative process. Not all these innovations are spectacular. But we believe that, globally, they will facilitate the performance of our mission in the service of rightholders.

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

    Merci aux mandataires de Suisa dont le travail patient et tenace a permis d’aboutir à cette solution satisfaisante.

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 coronavirus pandemic has naturally eclipsed this event. Yet the amended Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020 after the Pirate Party failed its attempt to launch a popular referendum. Text by Vincent Salvadé

The revised copyright law has come into force

The updated Federal Copyright Act came into force on 1 April 2020. (Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

This concluded the efforts of ten years’ work. The revision was initiated in 2010 when State Concillor Geraldine Savary, who subsequently joined SUISA’s Board, filed a postulate titled “Does Switzerland need a law against unlawful downloading of music?”

How will the new law affect SUISA’s activity? The following points are noteworthy:

The law introduces new anti-piracy measures:
Under certain conditions, hosting platforms are henceforth obliged to durably prevent unlawful content from being remade available through the use of their services (stay down obligation, Article...read more

Brave new world

There is hardly any other technical development that has turned the music business upside down as much as the success of platforms such as YouTube. And hardly any technical development has been as remiss in the treatment of authors’ rights as the internet. In this interview, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin explores opportunities and difficulties of this rather young business sector. Interview by guest author Silvano Cerutti

Brave new world

“If I compare SUISA with other organisations that are still in their early days when it comes to online, we are already well underway”, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin is convinced. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

Andreas Wegelin, the distribution of online royalties is affected by delays which caused disappointment in some members. Can you empathise with that?
Andreas Wegelin: It is our job to get as much collected on behalf of our members as possible, not just online but for all usage categories. If there is a cause for criticism, we take it seriously and examine it. There is, however, also the aspect that some members have received more than before, and they are not disappointed.

Maybe the question needs rephrasing?
Well, maybe the level of expectation is too high. Today, music is consumed in much smaller units, there are possibly one or two songs from a CD and that is reflected in the turnover, of course.

But members should receive a settlement four times per year. That did not quite work out in 2019. Why?
That’s right. One of the reasons for this is that the payment of one major customer was late. The amounts in the June distribution would thus have been far too small: On the one hand, the settlement would have fallen under the so-called payout threshold, they would therefore have received nothing. On the other hand, the administration costs would have been too high. We subsequently decided to postpone the settlement. Our goal, however, remains to pay out on a quarterly basis.

So, you don’t have a problem with the data volume you received that you need for the calculation of the online royalties?
No, we don’t. Yes, the data volume we receive is rather huge and requires complex processing with respect to many countries and currencies, but our systems have proved to be extremely efficient in this regard.

I can now upload my work on platforms such as iMusician, from where it is distributed to various service providers (Spotify etc.) and I can see how much my work is used, and where. Can SUISA also do that?
These are two different business models. iMusician monitors where an individual recording is played. That is, of course, much easier to track than having to simultaneously trace dozens, if not hundreds of recordings of one single work. What’s more, music providers know exactly who the artists of a recording are, but don’t have information on the composers of the song.

So SUISA’s job is more complex?
Of course. Add to that the obligation to provide clear information on the rights whenever you upload a song to such a distribution service. At our end, however, we also get notifications of works which have been uploaded by a fan without any details at all. If I do compare our administration costs with the fees that a service such as iMusician charges, I think to myself: we can keep up very well. But – such distribution services show us how we could improve our service in future and what is in demand on the market.

Which is?
The key word is tracking. I give you an example: If commercials with music of Swiss authors are broadcast abroad, the best way for me to get information on the number of broadcasts is via a tracking system. Today, not least on the grounds of cost, we have a system where the broadcasters deliver the information to us. Which could be something like “Nivea spot”. Well, which one? If I already have the melody as a sound file, I can track that. That is our future, even if it is not the most pressing measure we need to take for the online sector.

Automation is therefore only as good as the data that are available to it?
Exactly. And they are often incomplete.

What about monitoring service providers such as Utopia Music which can track songs across the internet?
Monitoring is a huge topic. We follow this very closely and are also planning a pilot project. Yet again, this is a matter of the relevant cost-benefit ratio. That ratio may well be good for an international hit producer but when it comes to an overall repertoire such as ours, the expense can push the administration costs up to silly levels.

The ‘rucksack of completeness’ has been around for the offline sector for many years and the distribution works rather well in that area. In the online sector, however, where everything could be measured, things are complicated.
That is annoying, yes. The offline system has been functioning well for nearly 100 years. But we only cover Switzerland and Liechtenstein for that. Online, we need to take a global approach and are also facing competition, because, according to the EU, each rights holder can choose who they are represented by.

What are the consequences?
In the past, rights holders assigned their rights to SUISA via so-called reciprocal representation agreements for the perception of their work in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Based on that system it was possible to pass on the relevant share from Switzerland to any composer, whether English or American, and one subsequently received the relevant shares from abroad for Swiss authors.

Online, on the other hand….
…. it is only possible for a society to collect for the rights holder whom it represents directly, even though this can be done at a global level. All of a sudden, the documentation must be more accurate and also completed for other countries since it otherwise won’t match. One collective management organisation might declare that their share of a work amounts to 80 percent, another organisation claims to hold 40 percent, which adds up to 120. Such cases happen all the time.

And what’s the consequence of this?
The provider says: As long as you do not know who sends an invoice for what, I won’t pay you. Or we do not get any money, but the info: I have already paid someone else!

How do disputes among rights representatives arise?
Let’s take an example: I have a work with a composer, a lyricist and a publisher. The latter, however, has an agreement with a sub-publisher and has, for another territory, instructed a third publisher, and now all of these entitled parties can choose their own collective management organisation for the online exploitation. This means that there might be four or five collective management organisations which are then in charge for their respective part of the work. Now, I have to agree exactly which part belongs to me. This is where the “disputes” start, because the entry may be different at their end.

Is there no regulation among the copyright management organisations how you can proceed in such situations?
The societies are trying to coordinate their collaboration better in technical working groups. Due to the new competition situation among the organisations, a complete solution for these difficulties has not been found yet.

Music is consumed in small units, the rights representation happens at an even smaller scale, international competition and no smooth processes – doesn’t that frustrate you?
No, that is what makes this job so interesting! Changes such as the internet come to you from outside. You can either put your head in the sand or try to make the most of it. If I compare SUISA with other organisations that are still in their early days when it comes to online, we are already well underway.

But you do understand that authors are stressed out by such a situation?
Of course, it stresses us, too (laughs). We are building a new service here, which will hopefully be profitable and in demand and which gets the most out of it for our members. This can only happen in small steps and with setbacks, but there is also progress: We were able to improve the agreements, modernise infrastructure and the duration between the usage date and the distribution date could be halved since 2012. I am very optimistic.

To the second part of the interview: “Penny-pinching in digital music distribution”

Related articles
Penny-pinching in digital music distributionPenny-pinching in digital music distribution Business in the online sector has been subject to constant change – not only for copyright societies. In the second part of the interview, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin reports on the status quo and provides an outlook on the scenarios that are being discussed. 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. Here the main FAQs. Read more
Adapting federal copyright law to digital usageAdapting federal copyright law to digital usage On 26 March 2019, after months of protest on the streets and in the Internet community, the European Parliament approved the proposal for a new EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Revision of copyright law in Switzerland and the EU: where are the similarities, where are the differences? Read more
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.

There is hardly any other technical development that has turned the music business upside down as much as the success of platforms such as YouTube. And hardly any technical development has been as remiss in the treatment of authors’ rights as the internet. In this interview, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin explores opportunities and difficulties of this rather young business sector. Interview by guest author Silvano Cerutti

Brave new world

“If I compare SUISA with other organisations that are still in their early days when it comes to online, we are already well underway”, SUISA CEO Andreas Wegelin is convinced. (Photo: Günter Bolzern)

Andreas Wegelin, the distribution of online royalties is affected by delays which caused disappointment in some members. Can you empathise with that?
Andreas Wegelin: It is our job to get as much collected on behalf...read more

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many specialist questions which required specific musicological knowledge. He thus examined cases where the suspicion of plagiarism arose, or checked registrations of arrangements of works that were no longer protected to establish whether the work qualified as a derived copyrighted work.

Mid 2011, the “Programmdienst” (Programme Services) team was integrated into the Music Department. Ernst Meier and his six staff members made sure that protected works were correctly identified on performance programme lists. In their work, they were supported by Ernst Meier especially regarding concert programmes of contemporary and classical music. These details form the basis for exact invoicing to the event organisers and the correct distribution of copyright remuneration based on programmes.

SUISA has had a seat on the Board of the RISM Schweiz («Répertoire International des Sources Musicales») since RISM was founded as an association. Ernst Meier represented SUISA there in his role as a musicologist and therefore was able to maintain valuable contacts regarding his field of study. He also got involved in the Schweizerische Vereinigung der Musiksammlungen (IAML, Swiss Association of Music Collections).

After 33 years in the service of authors and publishers, Ernst Meier retired at the end of September 2018. With his love for music and his enormous knowledge and instinct, especially regarding all musical matters, he has left a mark on the Music Department at SUISA over a long period. Management thanks Ernst Meier for his valuable work for SUISA and wishes him all the best for his future.

SUISA Music Department from autumn 2018
Andres Pfister, 31 years old, has been working as Ernst Meier’s successor and musicologist for SUISA since 01 September 2018. He lives in Berne and has been studying musicology and social anthropology at the University of Berne. He successfully concluded his studies with a Masters Diploma in the summer of 2018. Andres Pfister already pursued many different work-related activities during his time as a student. He was active as a tutorial assistant at the Institute for Musicology at the University of Berne or worked at the Institute for Culture in the educational directorate of the Canton of Berne. He also moderated the classical music programme “Ostinato” as a radio DJ on RaBe (Radio Berne) and was responsible for the editorial management of the broadcast. He continues to sporadically work for the radio.
Related articles
Introduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISAIntroduction of a process-oriented organisation chart at SUISA SUISA’s organisational structure changes from 01 January 2019 onwards. The Board had decided to implement the project “Horizon 2019” upon the request by General Management. Read more
Plagiarism accusations – what does SUISA do?Plagiarism accusations – what does SUISA do? Various media have been reporting on plagiarism accusations against a Swiss artist in the last few days. The topic is not new, but it seems to continue to be shrouded in ambiguity: Who is the accuser? What happens to an artist who lifts from another? How much does he have to pay? And what role does SUISA actually play? Read more
SUISA, an attractive employerSUISA, an attractive employer One day ahead of the General Assembly 2017, SUISA’s Committees for Tariffs and Distribution, for Organisation and Communication as well as the entire SUISA Board held their respective meetings. Agenda items for discussion included the auditors’ report, a new set of staff regulations for SUISA employees and a resolution for a strong public service, among others. 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.

At the end of September 2018, Ernst Meier, Head of the Music Department, retired after 33 years’ work for authors and publishers. His successor is Andres Pfister. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

Personnel changes in SUISA’s Music Department

Ernst Meier, in his office in the SUISA branch at the Bellariastrasse in Zurich in September 2018. The long-term head of the Music Department is now enjoying his retirement. (Photo: Sibylle Roth)

Ernst Meier applied back in 1985 as a musicologist for an assistant’s position in the then Swiss music archives of SUISA, today’s “Music Department”. His passion for music was ignited early on: At the young age of 14, he began to play the organ. By studying musicology at the University of Zurich, he turned his passion consequently into his profession.

As head of the Music Department, Ernst Meier answered many...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. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Why our members don’t have to notify SUISA whether their works are on Youtube

(Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

“I reckon it might be difficult for SUISA to track all videos of Swiss artists [on YouTube]. I take it that this won’t happen automatically. Is it therefore necessary that I inform SUISA of a video where I am the author and for which I want to get the relevant royalties?”

Automatic reporting between SUISA and YouTube

Authors do not need to send notifications on their works on YouTube. YouTube and SUISA have an automatic reporting in place. Said reporting takes place in two steps and the process – in simplified terms – is based on the following principle:

YouTube periodically provides SUISA with basic usage data in an electronic format. The list is called: “Masterlist”. Said list contains details on the videos that have been played via YouTube. Further details are included on the used music in the respective video, if these are known to YouTube. These details provided by YouTube consist of work / song title, artist name(s), album title plus optional additional details such as label, ISRC/ISWC no. or UPC.

Based on these details, SUISA defines the repertoire it represents. In other words: The “Masterlist” is compared to the SUISA works database. Works whose rights are represented by SUISA, are marked on the list. After that, SUISA notifies YouTube for which works on the “Masterlist” SUISA is entitled to receive royalties.

Based on this information, YouTube knows that the copyright for the marked videos must be paid out to SUISA. Only now can the second step in the reporting process take place: YouTube creates reports on music use which contain the number of clicks as well as details on the relevant income. The remuneration paid by YouTube is made up of a part of the income generated by advertising. YouTube transfers the money to SUISA. Based on the information saved in the SUISA works database, the distribution to rights holders is made.

Similar reporting principle for radio and TV

The underlying principle for the YouTube process is comparable to the broadcast reports of radio and TV stations. Most broadcasters work with digital systems today. With these systems, they create reporting logs in file format and transfer them electronically to SUISA. SUISA then carries out the matching of the works database and allocates the royalties to the authors and publishers entitled to receive a payment.

In the case of radio and TV stations, members basically do not need to notify SUISA when their song is played either. It suffices if the work has been correctly declared once with SUISA, and has subsequently been registered in the works database. The reporting between users, such as the broadcasters in this example, and SUISA takes place via (often automated) reports on music use.

Special case YouTube: Data volume and data quality

Compared to the well-established system of broadcast reports by radio/TV stations, some new and difficult questions must be answered when developing a reporting system with YouTube, the currently biggest video platform in the world.

One significant difference between YouTube and the reporting with customers such as radio/TV broadcasters is the data quality: In the case of radio and TV, the music databases are often administered by music editors. The more precisely the databases have been maintained, the more correct the details on the played song titles on the broadcast logs. The contents on YouTube, however, are mostly uploaded by private users. In the case of such “user generated content”, less diligence is usually applied in terms of the details of the used material. As a consequence, the quality of the available data on the YouTube usages is correspondingly low at times.

The enormous data volume poses another challenge: The repertoire used on YouTube is that of radio/TV stations, but many times over. YouTube indicates that currently 100 hours of video material are uploaded to YouTube per minute. According to the same statistics, 1 billion individual users are said to consume more than 6 billion hours of videos on YouTube per month, on average. The following applies: 1 user watches 1 video = 1 use which would have to be notified in principle. In the case of SUISA this applies for users who watch videos from computers with a Swiss IP address.

Customer reporting crucial for the correct distribution

In light of these huge masses of videos, SUISA depends on an automatic reporting by YouTube. SUISA does not have the resources to track individual videos of Swiss artists on the platform. SUISA does – as with all its customers – endeavour in collaboration with the licensee to develop a best possible reporting in terms of correctness and comprehensiveness, as long as this seems reasonable in relation to the administrative effort. Only then can SUISA pay its rightsholders what they are due in terms of royalties.

Related articles
First distribution of collections arising from the Youtube agreementFirst distribution of collections arising from the Youtube agreement With its online settlementof June 2015, SUISA distributes collections based on the Youtube agreement for the first time. Income from 5 quarters is included in the payout. The total distributed amount is roughly CHF 300,000. The aim is not just to pay out for titles with advertising turnover but for all used and identifiable works, depending on the click rate. 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
How SUISA distributes levies collected for private copyingHow SUISA distributes levies collected for private copying In 2014, SUISA has collected approx. CHF 13m on the basis of the common tariffs from private copying levies, of which about CHF 6.5m can be apportioned to SUISA members. The distribution of such revenue is made on a lump-sum basis, as there is no programme material. Here is an overview how SUISA distributes the private copying levies. Read more
Collapse article
  1. Marco says:

    I have a key question after reading this article, about the sentence:
    “In the case of SUISA this applies for users who watch videos from computers with a Swiss IP address.”
    This means that I can retrieve money only from the cliks that come from Switzerland? What happens with the clicks coming from the rest of the world?
    Thank you in advance for clarifying

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      The agreement with YouTube covers the repertoire of SUISA members for the exploitation via the video platform in many countries. In particular, the agreement governs user access from Swiss IP addresses as well as access from the EU region, EFTA, EEA and other countries outside of Switzerland. For exploitations in these territories included in the contractual arrangements, remuneration is paid by YouTube to SUISA and we pass this remuneration on to the rights holders.
      Manu Leuenberger / SUISA communication department

  2. Linus Walter says:

    Verstehe ich das richtig, für unsere YouTube-Inhalte, die ausserhalb der Schweiz abgespielt werden, erhalten wir nichts?
    Oder habe ich das falsch verstanden?

    • Manu Leuenberger says:

      Lieber Linus
      Zuerst einmal bitten wir für unsere verspätete Antwort um Entschuldigung.
      Zu Deiner Frage: Durch den Vertrag mit Youtube ist das Repertoire der SUISA-Mitglieder für die Nutzung auf der Video-Plattform in einer Vielzahl von Ländern lizenziert (siehe dazu auch unsere Medienmitteilung zum Vertragsabschluss vom 25.9.2013 http://www.suisa.ch/de/news/news-archiv/news/article/2013/09/25/suisa-und-youtube-einigen-sich-auf-lizenzvertrag/). Konkret gilt der Vertrag neben Nutzer-Zugriffen von Schweizer IP-Adressen auch für Zugriffe u.a. aus dem Gebiet der EU, EFTA, EWR und weiteren Ländern ausserhalb der Schweiz. Für Nutzungen in diesen vertraglich vereinbarten Ländern werden allfällige Vergütungen von Youtube direkt an die SUISA ausbezahlt und von uns an die Rechteinhaber weitergeleitet.
      Nochmals sorry für die späte Antwort und viele Grüsse
      Manu Leuenberger / Kommunikation SUISA

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.

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. Text by Manu Leuenberger

Why our members don’t have to notify SUISA whether their works are on Youtube

(Photo: Manu Leuenberger)

“I reckon it might be difficult for SUISA to track all videos of Swiss artists [on YouTube]. I take it that this won’t happen automatically. Is it therefore necessary that I inform SUISA of a video where I am the author and for which I want to get the relevant royalties?”

Automatic reporting between SUISA and YouTube

Authors do not need to send notifications on their works on YouTube. YouTube and SUISA have an automatic reporting in place....read more