Tag Archives: Work registration

Sampling and Remixes

The articles about arrangements in the “Good to know” series have so far focused on “conventional” arrangements of musical works. Sampling and remixes are two additional and specific forms of arrangement. What rights need to be secured when existing recordings are used to produce a new work? What agreements have to be contracted? Text by Claudia Kempf and Michael Wohlgemuth

Sampling and Remixes

From the copyright point of view, remixes and sampling are specific forms of arrangement. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Sound samplings come in many different forms and techniques. But they all have one thing in common: they incorporate parts of a musical recording into a new work. This regularly raises the question whether such parts of works or samples are protected by copyright or – especially in the case of very short sound sequences – whether they may be used freely.

In the case of a remix, an existing production is taken and re-arranged and re-mixed. This may involve taking apart a whole work and putting it together again with the addition of new elements. Theoretically, the degree of re-arrangement in a remix may range from a simple cover version to a completely new arrangement. As a rule, a remix is simply an arrangement. Remixes generally keep a work’s existing title and add a tag which refers either to the form of use (radio edit / extended club version, or similar) or the name of the remixer (generally a well-known DJ).

By contrast with conventional arrangements, in addition to using an existing work to create a derived work or arrangement, samples and remixes also use an existing sound recording. Therefore, one must distinguish between two categories of rights: the rights of the authors of the original work on the one hand (copyrights), and the rights of the performing artists and producers of the recording on the other (neighbouring rights).

Securing the copyrights

In principle, copyright law protects entire works of music, as well as parts of works which meet the qualifying criteria, provided the term of protection of 70 years (after the death of the last deceased author) has not yet expired. The melody, a solo or other elements of a work can therefore be protected and may not be freely used if they qualify as a work of an individual character. This must be determined on a case-by-case basis. The more marked the characteristics of the sampled element, the less likely you will be able to use that element for free. The notion that two bars, nine notes or two seconds of music can be used for free is only a rumour since, regrettably, there is no clear delimitation defining when a part of a work has an individual character.

So if a protected part of a third-party composition is sampled and incorporated into a new work, and the part concerned has an individual character, the arrangement rights in the original work must be secured from the publisher or, in the case of unpublished works, the author. This is done through a sampling agreement or an arrangement licence.

In the case of a remix, a distinction is made depending on who creates the remix: the author of the original work or a third party. For copyright purposes, the original author is essentially free to create remixes of his own work. If, however, the original work was composed by several people, he will need permission from his co-authors to create a remix; and if the original work was published by a label, he will need the permission of the label to use the sound recording (neighbouring rights).

If the remix was created by a third party, a distinction must be made depending on whether the remix was commissioned or made on the remixer’s own initiative. In the latter case, the rights must be secured from the author or his publisher by means of an arrangement license (often referred to as a “remix agreement”).

Securing neighbouring rights

Since sampling and remixes borrow from pre-existing sound recordings, the rights in the recording and the artists’ performances must also be secured. As a rule, the rights of the performing artists are assigned to the record producer or the label when the production is made. These rights are also limited by a term of protection. Currently, the term of protection for recordings in Switzerland is 50 years after the first publication, provided that the recording is actually published for the first time within 50 years of the recording date. Otherwise, the recording date is decisive for the expiry of the term of protection. In the EU, however, the term of protection is 70 years. In the framework of the revision of the Copyright Act currently before the Swiss Parliament, it has been proposed to increase the term of protection under Swiss law in line with that of the European Union.

If the term of protection is still valid, the rights in the recording have to be secured. The rumour that “two seconds are fair use” is fundamentally false. However, there is controversy as to whether recording protection applies to the shortest sound sequences. The European Court of Justice is currently examining this very matter in “Kraftwerk vs. Pelham: Metall auf Metall”.

The rights in a recording are normally held by the record producer, i.e. by the party who bears the economic risk of the recording. The producer can be an artist himself (own productions), a record company (“label”) or a broadcasting company, and the corresponding rights must be secured accordingly. Colloquially, the rights in the recordings are often referred to as “master rights”.

NB. A work’s term of protection may have expired while the recording is still protected. In this case, the rights in the work no longer need to be secured, but the rights in the recording still do. This would also apply to recordings of natural sounds and animal cries, for example, which are not protected by copyright. In this case, the recording, as the economic output of the producer, is protected just the same.

Main points of a sampling agreement

Depending on the circumstances, the sampling agreement (also referred to as a “sample clearance agreement”) regulates the rights in a work and its recording. When these rights are all held by the same party, a single agreement can be made. As a rule, however, two agreements will be concluded: one with the author or his publisher, and the other with the record label. The following points must be covered:

  • Name and address of the contracting parties (pseudonyms if applicable)
  • Subject of agreement: work and/or recording. Duration of the sample. How exactly may the sample be used? Can it be altered?
  • Scope of licence: what rights are granted? Is the licence exclusive or non-exclusive? For which territory and for how long?
  • Rights splitting/licence shares: in most cases, rights are determined by the shares of the participants in the work. The authors of a new work and the rightholders of the original work are all entitled to a share in the new work. The sampling agreement must in any event indicate the splitting. In addition to this rule which depends on the economic success of the new production, the original rightholders may demand a lump-sum fee for the arrangement right. Moreover, the royalty for the use of the recording usually takes the form of a percentage per sold copy of the new production, or of a lump-sum fee.
  • Distribution timetable: when and how often are rights settled?
  • Warranties: the rightholder must warranty that he holds all the relevant rights in the sample.
  • Place, date, signature of rightholder
  • Governing law and jurisdiction

Main points of a remix agreement

A remix agreement must specify whether the remix is commissioned or the remixer is acting on his own initiative and applying for a remix licence. Depending on the premises, the agreements can be quite different. Moreover, in the case of a remix and depending on the circumstances, the rights in the work and the recording also have to be regulated. When these rights are all held by the same party, a single agreement can be concluded. As a rule, however, two agreements have to be made: one with the author or publisher, and the other with the performing artist or record label. The following points must be covered:

  • Name and address of the contracting parties (pseudonyms if applicable)
  • Subject of agreement: work and/or recording. Duration. Title of the remix. Credits.
  • Production terms: delivery date, special requirements (if commissioned)
  • Scope of licence: what rights are granted? Is the licence exclusive or non-exclusive? For which territory and how long?
  • Fees: as a rule, a lump-sum fee is agreed, more rarely a participation in sales and other licence fees such as sync fees.
  • Rights splitting: as the arranger of the newly created work, the remixer is usually (but not necessarily) given a share. Accordingly, the arrangement percentage indicated in SUISA’s Distribution Rules is applicable (see article “Arranging works protected by copyright”). In rare cases, if, for example, the remixer’s contribution to the new work is very significant, he will be granted co-authorship status in the remix. In these cases his participation may also be higher.
  • Distribution timetable: when and how often are rights settled?
  • Place, date, signature of rightholder
  • Governing law and jurisdiction

When does a remix or a work containing samples have to be registered with SUISA?

When filing an application to register a work with samples excerpted from a protected work, the sampling agreement (which does not have to be expressly designated as such) must be enclosed or – in the case of online registration – uploaded. The rights splitting must be clearly indicated in the sampling agreement. Otherwise, the new work cannot be registered.

NB. In contrast to conventional arrangements where the arranger is registered as such for the new work, it is general practice for works with samples to list all the authors as co-authors of the work. The authors and, if applicable, publishers of the work from which the samples are taken thus become co-rightholders of the new work. When applying to register a work, it is important to list all rightholders of the work from which the samples are excerpted or at least to clearly state which original work was sampled.

When filing an application to register a remix of a protected work, the remix agreement (which does not have to be expressly designated as such) must be enclosed or – in the case of online registration – uploaded. The remixer will only be granted a share of the earnings if the remix agreement clearly indicates that he is entitled to a share. If no percentage is specified, the remixer will be entitled to the share allotted to the arranger under the Distribution Rules. If no reference is made to any share, SUISA will record the name of the remixer in the original version with the comment that the remix is approved but the remixer is not entitled to any share. If a publishing house registers a remix of a work which it published in the original, SUISA waives the need for a remix agreement since the publisher can always secure the arrangement rights directly from its author.

Summary

In addition to the arrangement rights (copyright), remixes and sampling always also affect neighbouring rights, since they use existing recordings (containing the rights of performing artists). The rights in the recording may be held by the same rightholder as the arrangement rights (author or publisher), or by a third party (often a record company or label), and must be secured even for very short sequences. The more rightholders involved, the earlier one should start enquiring and securing the rights. Likewise, remix and sampling permissions should always be recorded as written agreements (which also facilitates registration of the works with SUISA) and should clearly indicate how rights are split.

SUISA assists its members in locating the rightholders. In the case of published works, it provides the publisher’s particulars so that he can be contacted directly. In the case of unpublished works, it forwards enquiries to the authors or their heirs. Enquiries should be addressed to: publisher (at) suisa (dot) ch Details of the producers of a recording can be found under the ℗ note on the recording itself.

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The articles about arrangements in the “Good to know” series have so far focused on “conventional” arrangements of musical works. Sampling and remixes are two additional and specific forms of arrangement. What rights need to be secured when existing recordings are used to produce a new work? What agreements have to be contracted? Text by Claudia Kempf and Michael Wohlgemuth

Sampling and Remixes

From the copyright point of view, remixes and sampling are specific forms of arrangement. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Sound samplings come in many different forms and techniques. But they all have one thing in common: they incorporate parts of a musical recording into a new work. This regularly raises the question whether such parts of works or samples are protected by copyright or – especially in the case of very short sound sequences –...read more

Arranging works protected by copyright

Musical works in the public domain can be arranged at will. But works which are still protected by copyright, i.e. whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, cannot be arranged without permission from the rightholders. How does one go about obtaining such permission, and what points must be regulated in the permission in order to be able to register an arrangement with SUISA? Text by Claudia Kempf and Michael Wohlgemuth

Arranging works protected by copyright

To arrange a work protected by copyright whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, permission must be obtained from the rightholders. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

The author has the right to decide whether his work can be arranged; in other words, whether a “derived work” or an “arrangement” can be created from his or her original work. This right remains with the author and is not transferred to SUISA under the rights’ administration agreement. A person wishing to arrange a work must contact the author and obtain his or her permission to do so.

Authors generally transfer the arrangement rights to their publishers in the framework of a publishing agreement. On that basis, publishers may authorise third parties to arrange a work, or commission third parties to create a new version of the work. Publishing contracts should regulate whether the publisher may, under certain circumstances, authorise or commission an arrangement directly or whether the publisher must refer back to the author in each case. In the case of published works, therefore, the person to contact for permission is the publisher.

When dealing with successful international repertoires, obtaining permission may be a tiresome procedure, and may not always be crowned with success. Certain rightholders are happy to have their works arranged and more widely disseminated. Other rightholders attach great value to the “integrity” of their works and refuse virtually all arrangements. Either way, before an arrangement can be undertaken, sufficient time should be reserved for ascertaining the legal rights.

NB. If a number of requests have been submitted to the author or the publisher and no response has been received, it is wrong to presume that “silence means consent” and that the work can be arranged simply because “efforts were made” to obtain permission. As a rule, arranging a work without the rightholder’s consent constitutes a copyright infringement and may result in civil and criminal prosecution.

Even once the necessary permission has been obtained, the arranger is not always free to arrange the work at will. The permission may be restricted to a certain type of arrangement (e.g. translation of the lyrics into another language, shortening the work, remis, new instrumentalisation, etc.) Moreover, by law, even if they have permitted an arrangement, authors are entitled to defend their works against “distortion”. In such cases (often difficult to judge), it is the “moral rights” of the author which are at stake.

Key points of an authorisation to arrange

If an author or a publisher grants permission to arrange a work, this permission, consent, or authorisation should be recorded in a short written agreement. The agreement should cover the following points:

a) Name and address of the contractual parties (pseudonyms, if any)

b) Scope of permission: the work to be arranged must be clearly designated, as well as the extent to which the work may be musically or textually arranged. Moreover, the agreement should indicate whether and how the new work can be registered as an arrangement with SUISA.

Good to know: Registering a work as an arrangement only makes sense if the original is already registered with SUISA, and both works (original and arrangement) are to be used side by side (and independently). In the framework of the songwriting process, it is not unusual for “arranged parts” to be attributed to co-musicians although there is no original work which can be used separately. To avoid misunderstandings, it is advisable in such cases to let the co-musicians participate as co-authors rather than as arrangers.

c) Shares: Under SUISA’s Distribution Rules, for unpublished works without lyrics, the arranger is entitled to a 20% share; for published works without lyrics, the arranger’s share is 16.67%. For works with lyrics, the arranger’s share is 15% (unpublished) and 11.67% (published) respectively. In principle, the arranger’s share can be set freely. In practice, the arranger’s share lies between 0% and 25%. SUISA’s Distribution Rules provide for an exception in the case of arrangement permissions granted by publishers: here, the arranger’s share may not exceed the share in the regulatory distribution key. This is designed to avoid the share of the original author from being reduced too far. A rightholder may also permit an arrangement without granting any share of the distribution to the arranger.

d) Publishing an arrangement: In the case of arrangements of published works, it is advisable to specify in the authorisation whether the arrangement must also be published by the publisher of the original work (so that the publisher can retain control over the publishing rights). As a rule, the original publisher will insist on this. In that case, an additional publishing agreement should be signed between the original publisher and the arranger.

e) Rights warranties: Rightholders must warrant that they dispose of the necessary rights to grant the arrangement permission.

f) Place, date, rightholder’s signature

g) Governing law, jurisdiction

Special case: “sub-arrangements”

Sub-publishing agreements generally provide for the transfer of the arrangement rights from the original publisher to the sub-publisher. The sub-publisher is thus entitled to authorise or commission arrangements. In these cases, the arranger is registered as a “sub-arranger” or, with regard to new lyrics, e.g. in another language, as a “sub-lyricist”. Here too, SUISA’s Distribution Rules provide that the sub-arranger’s share may not exceed the share set in the regulatory distribution key.

How to register an arrangement with SUISA

For an arrangement of a protected work, the permission to make the arrangement must be filed – or uploaded in the case of an online registration – together with the registration form. The arranger will only receive a share of the royalties from a work if the permission to arrange explicitly states that the arranger is entitled to a share. If no percentage share is indicated, the arranger will be allocated the regulatory share. If there is no mention of the arranger’s participation, SUISA will record the arranger’s name under the original version, with a note indicating that an authorised arrangement exists but the arranger is not entitled to a participation. Accordingly, the arranger will not receive a share.

When publishers register new versions of works which they have published in the original, SUISA waives the need for an authorisation since the publisher has to settle the arrangement rights directly with its authors. The same applies for sub-publishing agreements.

Summary

To arrange protected works, therefore, you always need the rightholders’ permision – depending on the circumstances, such permission should be obtained from the author, the author’s heirs or from the publisher. Permission is the prerequisite for registering an arrangement of a protected work with SUISA.

SUISA offers its support in tracing the responsible rightholders. In the case of published works, SUISA will give you the publisher’s name and address so that you may contact the latter directly. In the case of unpubished works, SUISA forwards arrangement requests directly to the author or his/her heirs. Inquiries should be addressed to: publisher (at) suisa (dot) ch
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Musical works in the public domain can be arranged at will. But works which are still protected by copyright, i.e. whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, cannot be arranged without permission from the rightholders. How does one go about obtaining such permission, and what points must be regulated in the permission in order to be able to register an arrangement with SUISA? Text by Claudia Kempf and Michael Wohlgemuth

Arranging works protected by copyright

To arrange a work protected by copyright whose author has been dead for less than 70 years, permission must be obtained from the rightholders. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

The author has the right to decide whether his work can be arranged; in other words, whether a “derived work” or an “arrangement” can be created from his or her original work. This...read more

Arrangement of works in the public domain

Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright since their authors have been dead for more than 70 years.

What is an arrangement?

According to the Copyright Act, an arrangement is a “derived” (in German, literally, a “second-hand”) work. For an arrangement to qualify for copyright protection, it must satisfy the same requirements as a “work”, in other words: arrangements which are deemed artistic creations of the mind of the arranger are protected by copyright in the same way as an autonomous work. In the case of an arrangement, the artistic creation consists in the recognisable transformation, changing, or extension, of the musical substance of an existing work.

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work in such a way that the latter remains recognisable with its individual character. The newly created element must, however, also have an individual character. Typical examples of arrangements are works orchestrated for different instruments, or lyrics translated into another language.

SUISA’s Distribution Rules (in German) have a section (1.1.3.5) that lists a whole series of works that do not qualify as arrangements for copyright protection purposes. In practice, this list has proven itself repeatedly. The following modifications do not qualify as arrangements:

  • adding dynamic or agogic accents;
  • adding musical phrasing symbols;
  • entering finger positions (fingering);
  • registrations for organs or other keyboard instruments;
  • flourishes;
  • translating an old musical notation style into a style in use today;
  • correcting clerical mistakes in the original and similar changes;
  • transferring music into other keys or pitches (transpositions);
  • editing out individual voices;
  • exchanging or doubling voices;
  • adding purely parallel voices;
  • allocating existing voices to other instruments (simple transcription).

Arranging works in the public domain and registering them with SUISA

Musical works which are not protected by copyright can be freely arranged and altered – no consent is necessary. To register an arrangement of a work in the public domain, you must send SUISA a copy of the new work together with the existing work, so that the music department can establish copyrightability. This applies to works whose authors are unknown or have been dead for at least 70 years. This also applies to works that have been handed down by folklore and are considered traditional.

When it receives an arrangement, SUISA’s music department verifies whether it satisfies the criteria for protection by copyright. This is always done by comparing the original to the arranged version. The musical quality of the submitted piece or movement is unimportant at this stage.

What types of arrangements are there, and what is the arranger’s share of the remuneration?

In its appreciation, SUISA distinguishes between the five following types of arrangement:

(Graphics: Crafft Communication)

1. Normal arrangement

The “normal” case (representing about 90% of all applications) is an arrangement in the strict sense of the word. A popular melody is arranged by adding voices or instruments for a specific ensemble or group (e.g. mixed choir, string quartet, orchestra, Big Band, etc.). The melody or main voice is taken over exactly, only the arrangement is new.

In this case, the arranger’s share is 15% (for works with lyrics) or 20% (works without lyrics).

Normal arrangement

2. Co-composition

Here the unprotected melody is not the upper voice; it is hidden in the musical structure. In this particular case (e.g. choir and organ music), the arranger’s work is of higher value since he has to compose his own upper or main voice and the existing music has to be embedded into the piece with a contrapuntal technique.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

3. Reconstruction

An original work is interrupted in one or several places, or left unfinished by the composer (or lost in handing down), and is then finished by the arranger.

The arranger’s share in this case is 50% of the composer’s share.

Co-composition

4. Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

The piece starts with a short presentation of the unprotected original melody. Then, a succession of soloists or “registers” (saxophone, trumpets, piano, drums) take up the melody with improvised figurations; these make up the greater portion of the work. Visually this is illustrated by the fact that the individual soloists or “registers” stand up for their solos. At the end, the original melody is often repeated all together.

In this type of work, the arranger’s share is 50% or 100% of the composer’s share, depending on the length and importance of the solos.

Complex jazz versions with changing soloists

5. Sets of variations

Variations on historic musical themes (e.g. Diabelli, Paganini or Gershwin variations) are typical examples of compositions where the original takes backstage to the variation. The starting theme is merely a pretext for a completely new work. It follows, therefore, that the creator of the variation is entitled to the full remuneration. For example: “Diabelli variations by Beethoven” etc.

The arranger’s share in this type of work is 100% of the composer’s share.

Sets of variations

What does public domain (“domaine public”) mean?
For further information on the protection period for works we refer you to the article “Erstmals seit 20 Jahren werden wieder Werke gemeinfrei” (article available in German, French and Italian, PDF) in the SUISAinfo edition.
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Leave a Reply

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

Your email address will not be published.

Before you start arranging musical works that are not protected by copyright, it is worth being aware of the legal pitfalls in order to avoid costly stumbles. Text by Ernst Meier and Claudia Kempf

Arrangement of works in the public domain

An arrangement is when a new work is created using an existing work. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

Seeking inspiration from others, arranging existing works for different instrumentation, incorporating all or part of existing compositions into new works … these are age-old practices.

What pitfalls have to be avoided when you undertake a musical arrangement? – In a new series of articles to be published on the SUISAblog and in SUISAinfo, we shall try to shed some light on this topic. Initially, we shall examine the arrangement of works in the public domain, i.e. works that are no longer protected by copyright...read more

Always on top of things thanks to “my account”

More than 14,000 members are already using our member portal “my account”. More than half of all new registrations of original works during 2016 were done online. Why do more and more members regularly use “my account”? Text by Claudia Kempf

Always on top of things thanks to “my account”

Via our online portal “my account”, members enjoy personalised access to SUISA matters – via a single keystroke (Foto: Manu Leuenberger)

Thanks to the password-protected members’ area “my account”, our members keep an overview of the most significant SUISA matters such as settlements and work registrations.

Settlements always to hand as navigable PDFs

All settlements of the past five years can be accessed online at any time. The settlements in PDF format are user friendly as our members can navigate their way around in settlements that span several pages simply by using their mouse. Upon clicking on a work title in the table of contents, the respective detailed list of the work usages will be displayed, whereas a click on the SUISA number leads to the sound and audiovisual recordings’ list.

The total distributed amount for a year is shown in a cumulated way. It is visible at a glance which amount was paid out by SUISA over a year. Members who have access to “my account” can, in future, renounce on the paper dispatch of settlements. If a new settlement becomes available, a notification will be sent to members in future.

Access to personal data at any time

In the user profile, personal data such as postal addresses and payment addresses can be accessed. This area is currently being expanded so that members can amend their details directly in their profile section. Registered pseudonyms and relating IPI numbers are also included in this area. For publisher members with sub-editions or several main publishers, all information can be accessed via a login.

My account works database

With a personal user account, SUISA members can specifically search online for provisional works via the portal “my account”. (Photo: Screenshot www.suisa.ch)

Optimised search functionalities for provisional works

Users have the option to search specifically for provisional works in our works database. Provisional works come into existence when they appear on reports on music use submitted to SUISA by users and the work has not been registered with SUISA at all or under a different title. The income generated for such provisional works is, however, held back from payment until the works have been registered and/or been linked to existing works. Read more about provisional works in the article “Why are there undocumented works in my works database?” (article in german) in SUISAinfo issue 3.12.

Efficient registration of works and sub-publishing agreements

Online work registration is simple. Since 2017, the IPI number of SUISA members can be searched within the registration process and be implemented into the notification. Publishers have benefited from the option to register sub-publishing agreements via the portal since spring this year. Thanks to the link to the SUISA systems, online registrations are processed more quickly and efficiently.

Mobile-friendly and future-proof

Of course, our SUISA platform is compatible with mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones. The membership portal is therefore available and accessible at any time and from anywhere.

We continue to expand our service range offered and to add new functionalities and services. We shall keep you informed on any related news via SUISAblog.ch, suisa.ch or in our SUISAinfo magazine.

Access to “my account” is open to every SUISA member. Request a login or your personal online user account at:

www.suisa.ch/my-account

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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
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
SUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overviewSUISA settlement dates 2017 – an overview SUISA members whose works are performed, broadcast, reproduced or used online a lot can look forward to receiving remuneration at least four times per year for their work on lyrics or compositions or their publishing activities. In 2017, SUISA will continue with its quarterly distributions that it had successfully introduced previously. Minor modifications serve the purpose of distributing the income swiftly and cost-effectively. Read more
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More than 14,000 members are already using our member portal “my account”. More than half of all new registrations of original works during 2016 were done online. Why do more and more members regularly use “my account”? Text by Claudia Kempf

Always on top of things thanks to “my account”

Via our online portal “my account”, members enjoy personalised access to SUISA matters – via a single keystroke (Foto: Manu Leuenberger)

Thanks to the password-protected members’ area “my account”, our members keep an overview of the most significant SUISA matters such as settlements and work registrations.

Settlements always to hand as navigable PDFs

All settlements of the past five years can be accessed online at any time. The settlements in PDF format are user friendly as our members can navigate their way around in settlements that span several pages simply by using their mouse....read more

The beats from others – but your own songs

The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Text by Martin Korrodi and Claudia Kempf

The beats from others – but your own songs

Those who produce their own songs with bought-out beats have to familiarise themselves with the licensing terms and conditions of the supplier and to mention the “beat maker” on the works registration at SUISA. (Photo: PrinceOfLove / Shutterstock.com)

Producing new works using pre-existing creations is probably one of the oldest and most successful cultural techniques in existence. Due to the technical developments, the integration of “third-party” beats into your own songs becomes simpler every day, and is thus widespread – especially in the genres of hip-hop and rap.

Raw material for the song production

Under the term “Sampling”, this practice has been in place for several decades. Whereas, in the case of sampling, elements are taken from market-ripe productions and processed further, a multitude of platforms nowadays offer a huge range of beats which are produced specially as raw material for “building” your own songs.

When implementing such pre-fabricated elements it is vital to observe that you don’t just have to “buy” the recording but also acquire the legal authorisations in order to use the recording and the underlying composition for your own works. What the purchaser may do with the acquired beat is set out in so-called licensing terms and conditions. Such “small print” may, for example, carry different names on the websites of the suppliers, such as “license agreement”, “terms of use”, “licensing contract” or “legal matters”.

Watch out for the small print!

Customers usually assume that they may do anything they like with the acquired material as soon as they have purchased the respective beat. This process is, however, usually not a typical purchase agreement but a licensing agreement which often contains limiting terms and conditions and may therefore prevent the registration and exploitation of the finished song.

Under a purchase agreement, the title to a specific work copy is acquired (e.g. on a CD). In this process the buyer has, however, not acquired any rights in the works (compositions) and performances (recordings) which are included on the CD.

Especially when working with pre-fabricated beats, buyers must be clear which copyright-relevant actions are permitted with regards to the beats and which ones are not (reproduction, arrangement etc.) This also applies if you obtain the beats free of charge.

Check list: Check these 9 items first before buying the beats

The following overview collates the most important items that you ought to observe from a legal perspective when acquiring beats via the internet:

  • The licensing terms and conditions (license agreement, terms and conditions, etc.) must always be examined thoroughly! In the case of uncertainties, it is imperative that you consult with the supplier or with SUISA before you complete the purchase transaction.
  • Certain offers only allow the non-commercial exploitation: In such cases, neither the sale of the song (via digital or physical media), nor TV or radio plays are permitted. As a consequence, a monetisation via Youtube is not allowed either.
  • The licence often only covers a specific number of copies of the finished song (e.g. “up to 3,000 units”). If this number is exceeded, a new licence has to be acquired, depending on the respective provisions, or a share in the collected revenue for the exploitation has to be paid to the beat maker.
  • Some licensing models explicitly provide for an exclusion of specific exploitations (e.g. “TV/Radio plays not included”).
  • The producers of the beats are often members of a collective management organisation themselves and demand that they participate with a certain percentage as co-authors when the finished songs are registered.
  • In nearly all cases, the name of the beat maker has to be mentioned when the finished song is used in line with the beat maker’s stipulations (Credits).
  • In the case of non-exclusive licences it is imperative to observe that other customers may also use the same material for their songs.
  • It is often possible to acquire the material on an exclusive basis if you pay a higher fee. In such cases, the respective beat will be deleted from the store once the purchase process has been completed and is thus no longer available to any other customers. In the case of exclusive deals, all necessary authorisations are usually granted in order to be able to exploit the finished song without any limitations.
  • Guarantee and indemnity: Customers who invest a lot of time and money also want to be sure that the finished production is free from third-party claims. In the licensing terms and conditions, the beat maker should therefore issue a guarantee to this end and indemnify customers from any third-party claims.

Registration of the finished songs with SUISA

Due to the rights administration agreement, SUISA has the duty to license the works of its members vis-a-vis the customers. The rights administration agreement applies consistently to all works of a member – it is usually not possible for SUISA to take limitations for a specific song contained in the licensing agreement with the beat maker into consideration.

In particular, SUISA shall not monitor the number of licensed copies or exempt specific exploitations of a song from its licensing activities. As a consequence, SUISA cannot accept any work registrations which contain beats whose use is only permitted subject to restricted conditions.

Mention the beat maker in the work registration

The work registration must be in line with the contents of the licensing agreement. As a consequence, the shares for the exploitation of the beats must be clearly stipulated in the agreement or in the terms and conditions of business. If the shares are not clearly specified, and this does, unfortunately, sometimes happen, they have to be clarified with the supplier.

The following provisions can often be found:

  1. The beat maker must receive a specific percentage of the collected income for the exploitation. In the work registration, the beat maker must be mentioned as a composer with this very percentage.
  2. The beat maker will not receive a share but demands “Credits”; his/her name therefore has to be mentioned. In the work registration, the beat maker must be mentioned as a composer with a 0% share.
  3. The beat maker neither asks for a share nor for “Credits”. The beat maker must still be mentioned as a composer with a 0% share. If the name of the composer is not known, “unknown” may be entered in the composer field.

Independently of the licensing provision, the beat maker must therefore always be mentioned in the work registration. On top of that, a note needs to be made in the comments field when registering the work that it contains a purchased beat. Moreover, it is mandatory to provide a copy of the licensing agreement.

The following shall also apply here: If works are created where several authors have contributed, the shares and authorisations must be clearly specified prior to publication.

Purchase via the internet
The purchase of beats via the internet from an unknown supplier holds the same risks as any other purchase on the internet. The government has therefore issued some basic guidelines which should be observed when making purchases on the internet.
Jamahook – a social network for musicians
A portal by musicians for musicians is currently in its infancy, which shall facilitate the collaboration between musicians, beat makers and producers. The core piece of this platform is a sophisticated algorithm which allows to find suitable sounds or beats matching your own music – in an instant. The search includes harmonies, rhythms, tempo and timbre. Jamahook does not just simplify the musical collaboration but also the regulation of copyright-related legal aspects. In this context, SUISA supports the makers of this platform which has its registered office in Switzerland. More info on this project: www.jamahook.com as well as www.youtube.com/jamahook
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The melody is a catchy tune but the groove just doesn’t match. For days, you haven’t got rhythm while some ingenious lyrics are on the tip of your tongue. There are many reasons why creators use someone else’s raw material for their own songs. The following legal and practical tips on how to deal with bought-out beats help you keep in sync with formalities. Text by Martin Korrodi and Claudia Kempf

The beats from others – but your own songs

Those who produce their own songs with bought-out beats have to familiarise themselves with the licensing terms and conditions of the supplier and to mention the “beat maker” on the works registration at SUISA. (Photo: PrinceOfLove / Shutterstock.com)

Producing new works using pre-existing creations is probably one of the oldest and most successful cultural techniques in existence. Due to the technical developments,...read more

SUISA 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? By Irène Philipp Ziebold, Director

SUISA member services: one look back, one look forward

You want to register your work with SUISA while you’re in your rehearsal cellar via your tablet, or check your statements electronically? No problem – thanks to the web portal “my account”. (Photo: Archimede / Shutterstock.com)

In the last few years, SUISA has already implemented important measures which yielded more efficiency and higher quality for member services. The layout of the statements has also been reviewed. Since their redesign, they contain even more detailed information than ever before. Distributions thus became more transparent. In autumn 2015, SUISA introduced quarterly settlements. Since then, members receive the remuneration due to them at least four times a year.

Since 2015, members can electronically access their settlements via the web portal “my account”. An update was carried out at the beginning of March 2017 regarding the online service range offered by SUISA which members can use via “my account”: the works registration has been simplified, members can search specifically for roles in relation to their own works (e.g. Arranger), sub-publishing agreements can now be registered online and the web portal layout has been optimised for the broad range of end devices.

A works registration at SUISA via a tablet while you’re on the road, while you’re rehearsing in your cellar at home or during a meeting with your co-authors somewhere abroad? Thanks for “my account” all of this is possible.

From paper to electronic mail-outs

Paper forms (hardcopies) will be replaced by soft copies. Electronic data processing makes efficient processing possible. SUISA constantly checks what is possible from a technical point of view and what actually makes sense with regards to the range of member services offered. In this context, it is also important to consider members’ interests and wishes.

Do SUISA members want to receive all settlements and the relevant settlement details on paper? Or is the majority of members of the opinion that there should only be electronic statements now?

It is obvious that costs can be saved by not printing settlement statements out any longer to be mailed out by post. What speaks against renouncing on a paper dispatch is the fact that up to now only half of the active membership holds a log in for “my account”. Moreover, it is known that some members continue to regard hardcopy statements as a necessity going forward.

Taking all of these aspects into consideration, the range of member services is currently discussed; especially the pros and cons of the various offers have to be weighed up. Decisions will be made in the course of 2017.

Settlements in “real time”?

Every now and then we are asked by members whether we are planning to run distributions in “real time”. This would mean that, as soon copyright remuneration e.g. for a concert has been collected, it would be immediately paid out to the entitled parties . There are no longer settlement dates for all members but each member would receive their money separately as soon as it becomes available.

The technological requirements could – with some rather significant effort – be developed for such a process. The entire process from collection to pay-out would have to be analysed from scratch. Particularly our distribution rules would have to undergo a major overhaul since many provisions are not compatible with a real-time distribution.

As a consequence, the question remains whether such a system and process migration really corresponds with the needs of the majority of our members and whether quarterly pay-outs might not already satisfy the need for efficiency?

More service, more advice

We continue to monitor and test the service range offered to our members. The rule of thumb is: as much service as possible! Numerous automation processes such as data processing could – as already mentioned – be introduced by means of new IT applications. These enable a more efficient processing and offer the chance to use the resources thus freed up in another way.

The time that has thus been gained will be used for a competent and personal advisory service to our members. Apart from all the measures to increase efficiency, the personal contact to our members continues to be a core concern of SUISA. We will not lose sight of the quality assurance of SUISA member services.

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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
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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.

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? By Irène Philipp Ziebold, Director

SUISA member services: one look back, one look forward

You want to register your work with SUISA while you’re in your rehearsal cellar via your tablet, or check your statements electronically? No problem – thanks to the web portal “my account”. (Photo: Archimede / Shutterstock.com)

In the last few years, SUISA has already implemented important measures which yielded more efficiency and higher quality for member services. The layout of the statements has also been reviewed. Since their redesign, they contain even more detailed information than ever before. Distributions thus became more transparent. In autumn 2015, SUISA...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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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.

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

4 tips for you how to get your concert royalties

The open air summer season is in full swing. Immediately afterwards, the winter season with its many indoor concerts ‘gets in line’ outside music club venues. So the songs you wrote are also played live in concerts? Here are 4 tips for you how to get your concert royalties.

4 tips for you how to get your concert royalties

(Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

Concerts with your music have a value for you! Your concert payment is your reward for your live performance; you do, however, also earn money for composing your songs: That’s what we call royalties. SUISA can collect these royalties for you. If you’d like us to do this for you, you should consider these 4 tips:

  1. Become a member of SUISA
    A band as a whole cannot be a single member, only individual band members can sign up with SUISA. The prerequisite for you is to write your own music or lyrics. Ideally all involved co-composers become SUISA members. If the band has jointly composed a song but if not all involved band members have become SUISA members yet, we collect the royalties for the song and put the money for the non-members on hold for five years. If the remaining band members join SUISA within said five years, the money in question is paid out to them.
  2. Register your works with us
    You should immediately register all works you perform, record onto a sound carrier or offer via the internet, including details on all parties involved. Only if the works have been registered correctly can we distribute the money that is due to you.
  3. Inform us if you have moved or if your address has changed
    Please informs us on any change of your address and/or payment address/details without delay. If SUISA does not hold a valid address for you, royalties will not be paid until a new address is submitted. SUISA membership lapses in the event we have no valid contact details for five years.
  4. Contact us if you have queries about your distribution
    If you have a question on one of our distributions, please contact our distribution information team.

Additional information:
Work registration made simple (PDF, in German): Register your works properly and effortlessly with this guidance from our members’ magazine SUISAinfo.

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

Your email address will not be published.

The open air summer season is in full swing. Immediately afterwards, the winter season with its many indoor concerts ‘gets in line’ outside music club venues. So the songs you wrote are also played live in concerts? Here are 4 tips for you how to get your concert royalties.

4 tips for you how to get your concert royalties

(Photo: Marcel Grubenmann)

Concerts with your music have a value for you! Your concert payment is your reward for your live performance; you do, however, also earn money for composing your songs: That’s what we call royalties. SUISA can collect these royalties for you. If you’d like us to do this for you, you should consider these 4 tips:

  1. Become a member of SUISA
    A band as a whole cannot be a single member, only individual band members can sign up with SUISA. The prerequisite for you...read more