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A worldwide network for the rights of SUISA members

Music doesn’t know any boundaries. Not just literally but also geographically: Once you have managed to make it abroad, a well-functioning network of local support can be of great use. This applies particularly for the administrative work and therefore also for types of copyright which cannot be paid out in cash there and then. SUISA has a global network and is engaged in activities, in cooperation with its foreign sister societies, to manage the rights of SUISA members as comprehensively as possible. Text by Irène Philipp, Director

A worldwide network for the rights of SUISA members

Bastian Baker, singer-songwriter from Lausanne, who has been a member of SUISA since 2011, performed in the Hard Rock Cafe in Santiago, Chile, during his Latin America tour in spring 2015. With a SUISA membership, authors can have their rights managed by a network made of more than 100 foreign sister societies. (Photo: Lorena Weber)

SUISA has entered into reciprocal agreements with over 100 sister societies abroad. In Switzerland and Liechtenstein it thus represents the repertoire of about 2 million authors and publishers from all over the world. At the same time, those agreements form the basis that SUISA members benefit from copyright fees collected abroad.

Cooperation between collective management organisations

The basic principle of international cooperation between collective management organisations is illustrated by the following example: For concerts in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, SUISA collects money for the copyright on the performed works from the event organiser. If the composers of the works are members of a foreign society, SUISA passes on the collected royalties to the relevant societies. These societies, in turn, pay the royalties in line with their own distribution rules to their members who have participated in the work.

Thanks to the reciprocal agreements, the money flow also takes place in reverse: For concerts abroad where works of SUISA members are performed, the local society of the relevant country collects the money, passes it on to SUISA which distributes it to the SUISA members entitled to receive a payment.

It does not matter where the musical activity or usage takes place: By means of this global network, SUISA can manage its members’ rights nearly everywhere. All it takes for this to happen is for creators to enter into a rights administration agreement with SUISA. By means of a rights administration agreement, authors assign their rights to SUISA, usually on a worldwide basis.

Rights Administration Agreement with SUISA

The rights administration agreement, in connection with the general administrative terms and conditions (AWB) is the most important link between SUISA and its members. With the conclusion of this agreement, SUISA is instructed to manage important pecuniary copyrights in Switzerland and abroad (via the sister societies) on a fiduciary basis.

It is also possible to limit the territories for which the rights are assigned to SUISA. Membership in several societies is an option, e.g. to have another society cover a specific geographic area. Both options are, however, linked with disadvantages: In the case of limiting the territorial scope, the authors have to manage their rights themselves or entrust another society with them. In the case of multi-society memberships, formalities of several societies have to be met – especially with a view to work registrations – and members would have to deal with questions such as double taxation, different distribution rules, statutes etc.

SUISA recommends not to make any exceptions to the rule, unless a member is particularly successful in another territory in the long run. Further information in the article “Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at home” in the section “Good to know” The advantage for members is that they have only one contact and don’t need to delve into all the different terms, conditions and rules. Finally, by entering into a rights administration agreement with SUISA, the rights are already managed on a global level as far as possible.

Rights management abroad

When it comes to copyright royalties arising from international musical activities, SUISA depends on the collaboration with its sister societies abroad. It is important to note that collections and distribution of the royalties vary from country to country and are subject to different rules.

It follows that the rights management via sister societies abroad is based on the regulations, tariffs, distribution rules and contracts valid in the respective country. Each sister society determines its modus operandi autonomously. SUISA can therefore not guarantee a 100% coverage of rights management and not be liable for the activities of its sister societies abroad. SUISA is not obliged to actively pursue copyrights abroad. If there is more than one sister society in a country, SUISA is going to enter into one or several reciprocal agreements with the sister society or sister societies of its choice.

SUISA can transfer royalties to its members once it has actually received them from the sister societies. Known uses abroad should be declared to the society in charge. We therefore recommend to inform SUISA if you take your activities up abroad. It is well worth it to use the global network to manage the rights of SUISA members.

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Music doesn’t know any boundaries. Not just literally but also geographically: Once you have managed to make it abroad, a well-functioning network of local support can be of great use. This applies particularly for the administrative work and therefore also for types of copyright which cannot be paid out in cash there and then. SUISA has a global network and is engaged in activities, in cooperation with its foreign sister societies, to manage the rights of SUISA members as comprehensively as possible. Text by Irène Philipp, Director

A worldwide network for the rights of SUISA members

Bastian Baker, singer-songwriter from Lausanne, who has been a member of SUISA since 2011, performed in the Hard Rock Cafe in Santiago, Chile, during his Latin America tour in spring 2015. With a SUISA membership, authors can have their rights managed by a network made...read more

Play 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. Text by Claudia Kempf, Wolfgang Rudigier and Manu Leuenberger

Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at home

Snapshot of the trip to the concert abroad: The Bernese band Da Cruz on its way to Canada for their performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival in summer 2014. (Photo: Peter Hertig)

A concert tour abroad. Airplay on radio stations outside Switzerland. Collaborate with composers beyond the country’s borders. The often mentioned dream of international musical activity becomes reality for SUISA members.

SUISA receives more and more inquiries in relation to copyright licence fees from abroad and work declarations for international collaborations. The most important and most frequently asked questions related to activities abroad or the cooperation with foreign composers shall be answered in the following.

Settlements from abroad

How are usages abroad distributed to SUISA?
Our foreign sister societies usually distribute the relevant copyright remuneration automatically to us, based on their tariffs and their distribution rules.

When do I receive my remuneration from abroad?
A sister society usually distributes the remuneration for the relevant usage in the following year. Example: Remuneration for a concert that takes place today in another country is paid to SUISA during the year 2016. As soon as a distribution to SUISA has taken place, the remuneration is distributed at the next possible date for settlements from abroad to the entitled SUISA members.

What shall I do if a usage from abroad has not been paid out to me?
If royalties from abroad have not been paid in the year following the respective usage and you wish to ensure that the sister society checks such cases, you can notify SUISA of such usages.

Which type of information does SUISA require when I submit usage notifications?
In the case of concerts: Date of the performance, address of the concert venue, address of the event organiser, and programme of the played works.
In the case of broadcasts: Date of the broadcast, list of the broadcast works, as exact contact details as you can provide as possible for the radio/TV stations.
In the case of sound recordings: Date of the publication, list of the used works on the sound recording, exact contact details for the producer of the sound recording (in most cases, the label).
In the case of internet usage: Link for the usage of the work, date since when the work has been available online, details on the provider.

How can I directly notify the collective management organisation of the country where the usage took place of the usage?
It has been agreed among sister societies that queries or notifications from members always have to be made via the society where the author or publisher is registered as a member. SUISA members therefore have to always contact SUISA for information about concerts abroad. It is pointless to directly contact collecting societies abroad.

My songs are often played by “smaller” radio stations. Why do I rarely get a remuneration for such broadcasts?
Programmes of most private radio stations abroad are not analysed down to each actual work usage. The reason for this is that the administrative effort for a detailed programme analysis would exceed the income per individual broadcast by far. In such cases, most sister societies apply a so-called ‘sampling’ system. In the sampling process, the programme of the relevant radio station is only analysed in detail on specific days each month. The works broadcast on those days shall be included in the distribution. Work performances on other days which are not subject to the sampling, are not included in the distribution.

If you have any questions related to settlements from abroad, we are happy to answer them at:
intdistribution(at)suisa(dot)ch

Works registration in the case of international cooperation projects

Who is responsible for registering a work if it has been composed by several authors and the involved parties are members of other collective management organisations than SUISA?
A work only has to be registered by one of the involved parties with their own society, in principle. After that, such a registration is visible to the other collecting societies in an international works database. The best way forward, however, is to declare the work with the society in whose territory the main exploitation of the work takes place.
This means for instance: A SUISA member collaborates with a well-known German author. The production of the sound recording arising from the cooperation is published in Germany for the first time. It thus makes sense that the German co-author registers the work with the German society GEMA.
After the registration of the work has been logged with a foreign society, it is visible in the international works database “CIS-Net powered by FastTrack”. If remuneration from abroad for works not registered with SUISA reach us, we check the international database and update the documentation for the work for the correct distribution in our system.
This process may take some time. It is helpful for a prompt registration in the SUISA systems, to send a short written notification to us. An e-mail, indicating the work title and the collecting society, where the work has already been registered, is sufficient. We can extract the remaining details for the work from the international works database and document them for the distribution in line with the SUISA distribution rules.
In the case of published works, the works are usually registered by the publisher and its sub-publisher.

What do I have to consider specifically when registering works with SUISA where members of other collective management organisations are involved?
In order to ensure that your co-authors who are members of collecting societies abroad also receive their due remuneration, it is important that the co-authors are clearly identified. For this, we require either the IPI number or the birth date of the co-authors, and the name of the collective management organisation the co-authors are members of in addition to their complete names when you register the work. The same applies for the opposite case: If one of the co-authors takes over the registration of the jointly written work with a collecting society abroad, you absolutely ought to tell them beforehand what your IPI number and birth date are and that you are a member of SUISA.
Please also clarify up front whether the shares of the co-authors are published and provide the names of any involved publishers when you register the work, if possible provide the publishers’ IPI numbers, too.

I have noticed that the co-author has not registered the work, despite our agreement for him to do so, with a collective management organisation abroad. What shall I do?
You can directly register the work with SUISA. It is recommended that you do this by means of an online work registration: If you choose this option, you do not have to obtain signatures of all involved parties for the works registration form, something that is rather difficult in retrospect in the case of international cooperation projects.

Which distribution key is applied for works where authors of different collective management organisations are involved?
Works where SUISA members are involved shall be documented by SUISA based on the SUISA distribution rules. The foreign society of the co-author usually registers the works on the basis of their own distribution rules. The SUISA distribution rules allow for the authors to enter into an arrangement where they freely determine their shares. This option is not available with all societies. It is therefore possible that a work is registered with a different distribution key at another society abroad than the key it is registered with at SUISA.

If you have any questions regarding membership and works documentation, please contact our members’ department:
Authors
d/e: authors(at)suisa(dot)ch, 044 485 68 28
f: authorsF(at)suisa(dot)ch, 021 614 32 32
i: autori(at)suisa(dot)ch, 091 950 08 28
Publishers
All languages: publishers(at)suisa(dot)ch, 044 485 68 20
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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. Text by Claudia Kempf, Wolfgang Rudigier and Manu Leuenberger

Play abroad, communicate with SUISA at home

Snapshot of the trip to the concert abroad: The Bernese band Da Cruz on its way to Canada for their performance at the Montreal Jazz Festival in summer 2014. (Photo: Peter Hertig)

A concert tour abroad. Airplay on radio stations outside Switzerland. Collaborate with composers beyond the country’s borders. The often mentioned dream of international musical activity becomes reality for SUISA members.

SUISA receives more and more inquiries in relation to copyright...read more

Musik, ein internationales Geschäft! Auch für SUISA-Mitglieder?

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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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Sorry, this article is only available in German and French.

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