Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

Copying music, videos and e-books for their personal entertainment: Consumers in Switzerland have been enjoying this freedom for a very long time. For several years, rightsholders have been paid royalties for copies made on smartphones and tablets. Starting this summer, they are now also going to receive remuneration for copies on laptops and external hard drives. Text by Anke Link

Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

With the expansion of Common Tariff 4i, rightsholders will also receive remuneration for private copies of their works on laptops and external hard drives from July 2022. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

Some 30 years ago, the fact that you could make tons of music copies on audio cassettes kicked off private copying levies to be anchored into legislation. Since then, it has been permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make copies of protected works for the use in people’s private circles or home lives. The range of blank media subject to a licence fee has increased in the course of technological developments; today, digital storage built into devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops is predominantly relevant.

In return for the many ways in which music, films and other works can be stored, authors and performers of music, filmmakers, writers, etc. are entitled by law to remuneration for these private copies.

Such a levy must be paid by the manufacturers and importers of the recording and storage devices. The collective management organisation regularly negotiate with the associations of these companies about the level of the levy and for which memories it must be paid. The licence fee for private copying is then collected by SUISA according to so-called “Common Tariffs” for all Swiss collective management organisation and distributed to the respective rightsholders.

Levy for private copies on laptops and external hard disks

In the summer of last year, the associations agreed with the collective management organisation that from 1 July 2022 memory in laptops and notebooks as well as external hard drives is also going to be considered blank media subject to a mandatory levy. These storage facilities therefore now also fall within the scope of Common Tariff 4i (CT 4i). In the case of external hard disks, it does not matter whether they are magnetic hard disks (hard disk drives) or contain another storage technology (solid state drive or a combination of both). It only matters that they are intended for connection to personal computers (desktop computers, laptops, notebooks or tablets). Connections like these can be made via cable (e.g. USB or Firewire) and via ports such as BUS and PCI slots of personal computers. External hard disks are all storage extensions for personal computers, regardless of whether they are connected or installed outside of the computer. However, so-called “server grade” hard disks, which are intended for the server infrastructure of companies, are exempt from the obligation to pay a fee.

In contrast to the previous CT 4i, which still provided for different fees according to the equipment category, uniform remuneration rates will apply to almost all storage facilities covered by the tariff from 1 July 2022. The fees were based on the corresponding price of the devices and external hard disks, and the proportion of the respective storage devices used in connection with private copying. On this basis, uniform fees were calculated and negotiated, which are now only dependent on storage capacity and apply per device or per external hard disk. Only MP3 players are still subject to separate levies:

For MP3 players and the like:

Storage capacity per device
up to and including 4 GB CHF 2.40
up to and including 8 GB CHF 4.20
up to and including 16 GB CHF 4.70
up to and including 32 GB CHF 7.80
more than 32 GB CHF 12.40

For all other devices covered by the CT 4i or for external hard disks:

Storage capacity per device/hard disk
over 16 GB up to and including 32 GB CHF 2.10
up to and including 64 GB CHF 2.90
up to and including 128 GB CHF 3.85
up to and including 256 GB CHF 4.80
up to and including 512 GB CHF 5.60
up to and including 1 TB CHF 6.50
up to and including 2 TB CHF 7.50
more than 2 TB CHF 8.30

With the exception of MP3 players, the fees are only due for devices or external hard drives with a storage capacity of more than 16 GB. For external hard disks, a maximum fee of CHF 4.50 also applies, even if the storage capacity is very high. This takes into account the fact that the prices of external hard drives are lower compared to the other devices covered by the levy. Value-added-tax is owed in addition in each case.

Registration of storage devices subject to a mandatory levy

Even though there is such a uniform levy for almost all storage devices, it is important in the context of the correct distribution of the collected amounts to the rightsholders that the manufacturing and importing companies distinguish between the device categories when registering their storage devices that are subject to a mandatory levy. This is due to the fact that films and movies are copied to laptops, tablets and external hard drives more frequently than to smartphones, for example. Levies collected for these memories must thus be split in a different way than the fees collected for smartphones. Only in this way is the money allocated to the correct creators and any other rightsholders who are entitled to it. SUISA will provide its clients with corresponding reporting forms from July 2022, which will form the basis for invoicing.

This extension of CT 4i ensures that consumers can continue to copy their favourite works to the devices of their choice without having to have a guilty conscience and that those who create these works are compensated for doing so.

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Copying music, videos and e-books for their personal entertainment: Consumers in Switzerland have been enjoying this freedom for a very long time. For several years, rightsholders have been paid royalties for copies made on smartphones and tablets. Starting this summer, they are now also going to receive remuneration for copies on laptops and external hard drives. Text by Anke Link

Remuneration for private copying – new CT 4i as of 1 July 2022

With the expansion of Common Tariff 4i, rightsholders will also receive remuneration for private copies of their works on laptops and external hard drives from July 2022. (Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock.com)

Some 30 years ago, the fact that you could make tons of music copies on audio cassettes kicked off private copying levies to be anchored into legislation. Since then, it has been permitted in line with the Swiss Copyright Act to make...read more

I want to advertise my products: What steps do I have to take with SUISA?

The production of advertising involves several areas. If you are producing an audiovisual commercial created and/or disseminated in Switzerland, you have to contact SUISA to obtain a licence to disseminate the commercial. This may raise several issues. The main points are addressed below. Text by Anne-Françoise Emery

I want to advertise my products: What steps do I have to take with SUISA?

SUISA is an indispensable interlocutor for the production of commercials. (Photo: Proxima Studio / Shutterstuck.com)

Music is a key factor affecting the reach of a commercial and is vital to the successful marketing of the product concerned. Choosing the music is therefore an important decision. A commercial with music does not have the same impact as a commercial without it – and a well-known title will give the production a different feel than one that is unknown. If you wish to use an existing title, you must first obtain permission from the rightholders. The rights concerned – synchronisation rights – are not normally managed by SUISA, but directly by the rightholders (mostly publishers).

You may also buy production music which is available on specialised websites. Alternatively, you may commission music from a composer especially for your commercial. This is known as commissioned music.

Registering your commercials with SUISA

Whether or not your commercial contains music, you must declare your production to SUISA. SUISA identifies all audiovisual productions and issues licences for music reproduction rights and music uses. You need to have a licence with a SUISA number in order to broadcast your commercial on television, in cinema theatres or on Internet.

SUISA needs the following information to identify your commercial:

  • particulars of the commercial (title, duration);
  • particulars of the music (title, composers, publishers, playing time of the music used in the commercial);
  • planned broadcast/usage schedule on Internet;
  • customer’s particulars.

Once this information is provided, a licence can be issued quickly. You may send us this information quickly and easily using the form available online.

You must declare each commercial even if there are several versions of the same commercial. You may declare several commercials on a single form.

If your commercial was produced abroad but there is an arranged version (post-production) for the Swiss territory, please indicate this on the form.

Different rights concerned

The reproduction rights you pay to SUISA allow you to disseminate the recording of your commercial on television, in cinema theatres or on Internet. The rights are payable once for the entire duration of use of the commercial. You may thus use the commercial several times at different periods, but you only have to pay the reproduction rights once.

The copyrights for the dissemination of the commercial on television or in cinema theatres are paid by the broadcaster or the theatres. You do not therefore pay the broadcasting rights for offline dissemination to SUISA. The situation is different concerning Internet: you are liable for the rights for making-available on Internet (online). The licence fee is graduated depending on the media budget of the advertising campaign. You must report each new wave of the campaign to SUISA.

Analogue commercials, “free domain” works and commissioned compositions

All advertising must be declared, but there are cases where no invoice is payable. The different language versions and short versions are treated like analogue commercials. Accordingly, no reproduction rights are due. However, if these commercials are made available on Internet, you must communicate the media budgets to us, and we will prepare an invoice based on that amount. Commercials without any music, or using non-arranged music in the public domain, or music free of rights are not subject to a fee.

But the designation “free of rights” may only apply to certain uses or may not apply to our territory. You may therefore still receive an invoice although you bought the music on a site claiming that its music is “free of rights”. We must respect the agreements we sign with our partners and collect the agreed fees if one of the rightholders is a member of a collective management organisation. To avoid the impression of paying twice, do not hesitate to make the necessary inquiries of your provider.

Similarly, if you commission someone to create the music for your commercial, the agreement you sign with them will only concern the creative work and the right to use the music (synchronisation right), but not the author’s rights if they are members of a collective management organisation. These are not the same rights.

How much does it cost and where does the money go?

The fees for reproduction rights vary depending on the visibility of the commercial. The minimum (for a single local broadcasting) is CHF 7 per second of music. The same second of music will cost CHF 60 for a national broadcasting. The synchronisation rights are not included. The licence has to be negotiated directly with the rightholder. In the case of production music, synchronisation rights are included with a 50% mark-up on the reproduction rights tariffs. All the rates are listed in our tariff (section 5).

The licence fee for the dissemination of online campaigns is a percentage (2.15%) of the amount paid for placing the advertisement (media budget) with a minimum fee of CHF 200. For further information see our licensing terms and conditions.

The fees collected by SUISA are distributed to the music creators (composer, lyricist, publisher) net of a 15% deduction covering administrative costs.

Our team remains at your disposal for any further information: contact us by email advertising (at) suisa (dot) ch or by phone at +41 21 614 32 28 / 30.

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

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The production of advertising involves several areas. If you are producing an audiovisual commercial created and/or disseminated in Switzerland, you have to contact SUISA to obtain a licence to disseminate the commercial. This may raise several issues. The main points are addressed below. Text by Anne-Françoise Emery

I want to advertise my products: What steps do I have to take with SUISA?

SUISA is an indispensable interlocutor for the production of commercials. (Photo: Proxima Studio / Shutterstuck.com)

Music is a key factor affecting the reach of a commercial and is vital to the successful marketing of the product concerned. Choosing the music is therefore an important decision. A commercial with music does not have the same impact as a commercial without it – and a well-known title will give the production a different feel than one that is unknown. If you wish to use an existing title, you...read more

Going through times of crisis with strong cooperational partners

At a round table discussion, Christoph Bill and Alexander Bücheli, two representatives of SUISA customers from the promoter and event organising sector, and Irène Philipp Ziebold, SUISA COO, spoke about crisis management during the pandemic. Cooperation with SUISA was also a topic. Presentation and transcript: Markus Ganz, guest author

Going through times of crisis with strong cooperational partners

Round table discussion with Christoph Bill (Heitere Events AG and President SMPA [Swiss Music Promoters Association]), Irène Philipp Ziebold (SUISA COO) and Alexander Bücheli (Managing Director Bar & Club Commission Zurich). (Photos: Manu Leuenberger)

How have you and the companies you represent experienced the COVID-19 crisis so far?

Christoph Bill: As president of the industry association SMPA, I believe it caught all our members on the wrong foot; we were not prepared for such a scenario. But we reacted relatively quickly as an industry, got together, defined immediate measures (e.g. regarding tickets in the event of postponements and cancellations) and continuously discussed the next steps. The rest is history.
Alexander Bücheli: We were also caught on the wrong foot; these were simply conditions and situations that could not be foreseen, let alone anticipated. After that, the associations gained importance for their members; with us, they specifically gained an important function of translating civil servants’ German into the language of our members. Another, moral component occurred in our case: In the pandemic, we realised that we are considered a fun society, that parties have a different reputation compared to festivals or concerts. After the incidents in Ischgl in March 2020, we were made to feel that without us, COVID-19 would not exist; this was also emotionally difficult for our members. And, against this moral question, we are afraid again now that the case numbers are on the rise again: Will there be a call for club closures again?
Irène Philipp Ziebold: Recent times have also been challenging for SUISA. On both sides that we serve, namely that of our members (authorsand publishers) and that of our customers (music users), revenues have declined very quickly and sharply in certain markets. One segment of revenues was hit hard where we had not expected such a decline: in the performing rights, where collections had been rising steadily in recent years, especially in the concert sector, while they had been declining for years in the reproduction sector. As a consequence, we were not prepared for that and could not simply compensate for this with other revenues.
The new situation has also challenged us greatly in providing our services, especially when it comes to giving advice and counsel. But it has also brought about positive sides. Firstly, it showed us that we can see ourselves as a partner to our members and customers, because we acted relatively quickly and took action. And secondly, from an internal perspective: Within two weeks, 90 percent of our employees were working from their home offices. In the process, we also realised that we are technologically capable of continuing to run the company with around 250 employees by working remotely. The changeover was more difficult on a human level, the social element, which has a dynamic effect even in such a large company, and which fell away from one day to the next.

Were there no emergency scenarios in case everything was closing?

Christoph Bill: I have often wondered if we should not have made our members aware of such a potential risk. But such a scenario was very far away, even if it appeared in a few contingency plans. I have also accused myself of this from time to time, but what would we have done differently? We reacted immediately and got involved as an industry in a straightforward manner. By that I don’t just mean the SMPA, in fact we have managed to give a voice to the culture and events industry as a whole. This is a great advantage on the political and media level, and we should have done this a long time ago, now it has just triggered the pandemic. And it turns out that despite the breadth of culture represented, we have a lot of common denominators.

Insurance and streamed concerts

Mr. Bücheli, in the club scene, there have been problems on a small scale for years, such as threatened closures because of drugs and noise complaints – that’s why the Bar & Club Commission Zurich was founded …

Alexander Bücheli: Yes, but the pandemic is a whole different problem because you can’t get a defence counsel against it like you do with noise complaints. And that’s what’s so extreme about it: You just have to grin and bear it. For example, we tried to learn something (regarding virus transmission in bars and clubs) by sending inquiries to the Science Taskforce but to no avail. None of the businesses had contingency plans, but 80 to 90 percent had epidemic or pandemic insurance, but many insurers dodged paying. In Zurich, we were fortunate that many members had participated in a pool solution that covered the pandemic period, even twice: the second lockdown was considered a second claim. This type of insurance was, however, cancelled then by the insurance companies at the end of 2021 – and no longer exists.
We also had no alternatives to just closing like the restaurants: We were not able to offer take-away club nights. We did organise the virtual club festival “Limmatstream” in March 2021, where people could dance through the clubs as avatars. This attracted over 3,000 participants and you could also do video chats with other avatars there. That was kind of great, but couldn’t replace a real club experience. In addition, there was the question of whether people would have been willing to pay 10 to 15 francs for such a virtual experience, which you would need, as an organiser, to get by financially; we offered it for free.
Christoph Bill: Regarding the insurance issue: With our members, it was exactly the other way around; at most, 20 percent had insurance and they usually paid up. But if we look back, the beginning of the pandemic was actually easier because there was a clear ban on major events. As early as at the end of April 2020, we knew that the “Heitere” festival could not take place in August, which is a comfortable situation for organisers in terms of time. All colleagues knew at that time that they would have to postpone their events within a certain period of time. This means a huge effort, but there was a lot of understanding from all sides. Things did, however, get difficult after that, when waiting times for specifications for the subsequent periods were long and there were no clear requirements and information, or they differed from canton to canton. Accordingly, we had to plan at shorter notice and taking different scenarios into account.

Alienation from practice and lack of planability

Alexander Bücheli: This is an important point: There was no clear announcement by the Federal Government. Once you know whether you can remain open or have to close, then you can adapt accordingly. We still had an intermediate phase during which the Zurich cantonal government said you shouldn’t go dancing any more, that the clubs should actually be closed, but they didn’t give us the directive to close. The moral pressure became so great as we had never experienced before; there were even anonymous insults and threats.
Christoph Bill: At that time, I also noticed a lack of practical experience on the part of the authorities, and for a long time also a lack of willingness to engage in dialogue. We also approached many agencies, but they passed the buck to each other and nothing came back to us, it would have been better if they had involved us for comprehensible, practical measures with some lead time. It took so long before we were able to talk to people from the Federal Office of Public Health for the first time! After all, we are the last ones who want to pull off an event at any cost. But we have to have support from the authorities so that we can say in time that an event has to be cancelled or postponed. Roll-over planning out to three months would have been ideal for us. You might be able to open a club from one week to the next, but for a big concert or a festival, you do need this lead time.

So by banning events, you could more or less adjust to a situation. Did this lead to short-time work, lay-offs or even bankruptcies?

Christoph Bill: There has not been a single bankruptcy among our members so far. The aid packages worked quickly and well; we also expressed our thanks for them. But the problems are far from over: Demand is still subdued, for example, and supports are being cut and we are lacking skilled workers. That’s why I’m not so confident in the short term; the moment of truth is yet to come.

Rapid assistance and few redundancies

Alexander Bücheli: The speed of Covid loans and short-time work support: That was very important for us, also how unbureaucratic the process was how it was allocated- a key experience. With regard to the so-called “A-fonds-perdu” money [loans which the lender writes off as bad debt and do not have to be paid back], which is important for survival, it must be said, however, that it took six to eight months before the first amounts were paid out; moreover, they were only compensations for cultural enterprises. We had to do a lot to ensure that clubs were also recognised and compensated as cultural enterprises – and this only succeeded in certain cantons. Businesses that then received hardship funds had to wait over a year for assistance.
Christoph Bill: The cantonal differences in interpretation were also a problem among our members, and continue to be that to this day. Instruments that are in themselves effective, such as the current protective shield for public events, have not been introduced at all in some cantons and are applied very differently in many others. The reserves that you have built up over 20 or 30 years in a business with very thin margins are used up pretty soon. After all, the response to short-time work was very quick and unbureaucratic.
Alexander Bücheli: There were only a few redundancies in our space. It was more like employees were asking to be made redundant because they wanted to work in a different sector. Bankruptcies occurred in companies that were already not doing so well, or those that had just entered the market. Thanks to private and company reserves, there were few bankruptcies.

There have been much fewer concerts in the last 20 months, so one could assume that there was also much less to do at SUISA …

Irène Philipp Ziebold: No dismissals occurred at our company because of COVID-19. In cases where we no longer replaced people, it was for general reasons, mainly because we can automate many simple jobs, that is, replace them with computers. But there was talk about short-time work, precisely with the argumentation of the cancelled concerts. We then took a close look at this. The membership and documentation department as well as the customer service for the media and online area were hit less hard by COVID-19 and we had more work there because many people sought advice and we also set up an emergency fund.
Only the customer service for the performing rights or events had less to do. This provided an opportunity to work through backlogs and staff could be deployed in other departments, such as online, where more work was required due to COVID-19. That’s why we didn’t have to lay anyone off or put them on short-time work contracts because of COVID-19. And if you look at the 2020 operating result, we also achieved a relatively good result in this crisis.

Emergency budget and additional work

Does this also have to do with the fact that SUISA worked with an emergency budget that was adjusted on a rolling basis?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: Absolutely. The Board wanted to know where the journey was headed: Can we reduce costs at the same rate our collections are collapsing? This would only have been possible with a massive reduction in staff. We knew, however, that if we laid people off, they would be missing on day X when business returned to normal. A great deal of expertise needed for these tasks would no longer be available; new employees always need a certain training period. It would therefore have been negligent to lay off many people in such a situation.

How much extra work do organisers have to do due to ever-changing COVID-19 regulations?

Christoph Bill: It is an unbelievable level of additional work that the members of the SMPA have to do because of this, I can also say that from personal experience from the “Heitere” festival. Developing and adapting a number of scenarios, obtaining, negotiating and implementing the permit from the health authorities, drawing up and implementing the precautionary measures, safeguarding against risks, dealing with uncertainty and keeping everyone involved at it was and remains an enormous amount of work for an event organiser, not to mention the additional expenses on site for infrastructure and personnel. At the “Heitere”, we launched a virtual festival in 2021 in addition to the on-site edition, which was a valuable experience, but at the same time also an enormous effort.

What is the situation in neighbouring sectors, such as technicians and security?

Christoph Bill: The shortage of skilled workers is likely to become an increasing problem, on the one hand due to lay-offs that some companies had to announce despite everything. On the other hand, more and more people from these sectors are orienting themselves differently the longer the crisis lasts, even if you would like to keep them. And those who are now working as electricians, for example, will wait a while before returning to the audio engineering profession; they may also have come to appreciate the more regulated working hours.
If anything, the need will be even greater than before, because our members have postponed many events until 2022; this will give a big ramp up of demand at certain times, because the postponed and new events will come together. You have to manage that somehow. And someone has to buy these tickets.
Alexander Bücheli: Early 2022 will be crucial for us, depending also on how pre-Christmas business will fare with corporate events, which in some companies can account for 30 to 50 percent of annual sales.

A single voice and rapid response

How important was it that various associations got together early on to have a single voice, especially with the federal government?

Christoph Bill: That was absolutely crucial. Even though there was no real dialogue for a long time, many of our messages got through faster than we felt they did. What was implemented was largely in the right direction. It was important to bring together the voices from the cultural and event sectors instead of rushing forward individually. It is enormously important, especially for politicians, that they are not bombarded with statements from all sides, but that there is a lowest common denominator – that is what we have always been looking for. As an association, we suddenly played a bigger and more visible role. We have already created a climate of openness and togetherness over the last six to ten years. We were able to build on that.

How has SUISA’s position changed during this time of crisis?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: On the side of our members and publishers, we were strengthened because we were there for them and did not disappear into short-time work. Advice and counsel were immensely important to the members. We continued to do our job to generate money – the 2020 financial statements show that we did not do badly. We have also created an emergency fund, where we are still a bit more pragmatic, especially in contrast to certain federal support measures. We are neither superficial nor negligent, but we ask for less information and can therefore provide certain support more quickly. We have also changed our advance payment rules, made them more generous, but always weighing up the risk. We also have a Pension Fund for authors and publishers that provides support as well. In other words, we acted, and this has once again strengthened our standing among our members.

And among the customers?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: There, too, we reacted very quickly and also took measures that we would not have had to take, such as extending payment deadlines and suspending reminders. We were quite agile and acted in a cooperative way on that. This has brought us a lot of goodwill.

And what about one single voice?

Irène Philipp Ziebold: Here I can refer to the Swiss Music Council. As its member, we are well represented in the “Taskforce Culture”. For the first time, organisers and members have come to the same table with the same demand with a single voice, so to speak, and this has also worked well with politics. The “Taskforce Culture” was able to exert a certain influence and was involved in discussions with Federal Councillor Berset. It was and remains a success that should be carried forward.

Uncomplicated solutions and delayed normalisation

How do the organisers rate the crisis cooperation with SUISA?

Christoph Bill: Even if it has affected SMPA members less, SUISA has found quick and straightforward solutions in some areas. Thank you, my compliments! The dialogue with us as an association was already good before, but it got even better. We felt there was an awareness of being in the same boat. And it also became clear that the future can only be mastered together and that perhaps new paths must be followed.
Alexander Bücheli: It was a bit like the “Taskforce Culture”. We wrote to SUISA at the beginning because we have the problem that clubs pay invoices on a quarterly basis and not on the basis of events that take place. SUISA has found a very straightforward solution for which we are very grateful. Regardless of COVID-19, we should increasingly try to understand each other and also meet [face to face]. And it’s a good sign that none of our members have complained to me about SUISA since the pandemic, so it’s working.

What are the expectations for normalisation of the situation, has there been a pent-up need among the public for events?

Christoph Bill: This still feels like looking into the crystal ball for me. No, I don’t think there’s a lot that has been pent up there. Many people will only slowly and hesitantly return to concerts and festivals. This is reflected in the fact that, with a few exceptions, demand for our members’ events is 20 to 30 percent lower than usual and that a higher proportion of guests who have a ticket do not show up. This delay must be considered in addition to the lead time required for organising the events: We are trying to get live operations going again. But we can’t just pull the lever. This will probably also require start-up support and instruments such as SUISA continuing to extend payment deadlines.

The roundtable discussion was held on 12 November 2021. The participants were: Christoph Bill, Heitere Events AG and SMPA President(Swiss Music Promoters Association); Alexander Bücheli, Managing Director Bar & Club Commission Zurich; Irène Philipp Ziebold, SUISA COO and Vice President Swiss Music Council.

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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.

At a round table discussion, Christoph Bill and Alexander Bücheli, two representatives of SUISA customers from the promoter and event organising sector, and Irène Philipp Ziebold, SUISA COO, spoke about crisis management during the pandemic. Cooperation with SUISA was also a topic. Presentation and transcript: Markus Ganz, guest author

Going through times of crisis with strong cooperational partners

Round table discussion with Christoph Bill (Heitere Events AG and President SMPA [Swiss Music Promoters Association]), Irène Philipp Ziebold (SUISA COO) and Alexander Bücheli (Managing Director Bar & Club Commission Zurich). (Photos: Manu Leuenberger)

How have you and the companies you represent experienced the COVID-19 crisis so far?

Christoph Bill: As president of the industry association SMPA, I believe it caught all our members on the wrong foot; we were not prepared for such a scenario. But we reacted relatively quickly as an industry, got together,...read more

Livestream licensing by SUISA

Driven by the pandemic, livestreaming of the most varied forms of events has grown in significance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to share an event with a virtual audience despite the applicable bans and restrictions. This article outlines SUISA’s licensing practice and terms and conditions for livestreams. Text by Martin Korrodi

Livestream licensing by SUISA

A concert in your living room: organisers who air an event with music in real time over the internet must register and license the livestream with SUISA. (Photo: Scharfsinn / Shutterstock.com)

During the pandemic, dance and fitness courses, religious services, general meetings, and ever more concerts were recorded on the internet and aired as livestreams in replacement of disallowed live events. In October 2020, a virtual concert of the South Korean boy-group BTS attracted over 900,000 fans worldwide and brought in revenues of USD 44m.

These online events regularly fuel debate in the media, as well as between music creators and, naturally, the organisers of livestreaming events. More often than not, discussions revolve around the licensing terms and conditions for the necessary livestreaming rights.

What is a livestream?

A livestream is an event that is aired individually and in real time over the internet. The audience can log in at the start of the event and follow the event live – for free or for a fee. Livestreams should be distinguished from on-demand offers where spectators can choose to view the content at the time of their choice. Moreover, a livestream is not a broadcast, where contents are also transmitted in real time, but as programmes in a succession of broadcasts and not as individual events. A livestreaming licence is required for any individual event that is simultaneously recorded and streamed over the internet where the audience cannot freely choose when to view it.

Livestream licensing conditions are based on performance tariffs

Since streamed events are generally events that could just as well be staged live in the presence of an audience or performed by way of replacement for such events, the licensing terms are based on the terms and conditions of the relevant performance tariffs. Accordingly, the same percentage rate will apply to a streamed concert as that applied to a concert performed with a physical audience under Common Tariff K (CT K). Proceeding by analogy with the performance tariffs ensures that organisers of virtual and physical concerts are treated on an equal footing since their events tend to be reciprocal substitutes.

Licensing conditions distinguish between different categories: concerts, DJ sets, shows and ballet performances, and theatrical plays. The relevant rate is applied to revenues or costs as provided in the performance tariffs (CT K and CT Hb). Also in accordance with the latter, rates are adjusted proportionately with the duration of the protected music used (pro rata temporis rule). In addition to these categories, other classes of events, such as sports events, evening entertainment, seminars, religious services, events in homes and hospitals, etc. are grouped under “other events” – in this case, a flat rate of 2% of gross revenues or costs is applied.

If revenues are less than the gross cost, or if there are no revenues, the above rates are applied to total costs. As in the case of the performance tariffs, music-related gross costs are deducted. These costs consist of the following: musicians’ fees and expenses, rental of sound and recording equipment (microphones, mixing console, camera, etc.), instrument rental, and rent for the location.

Events with an audience that are additionally streamed

Live events are often staged with a small physical audience and simultaneously aired over the internet to extend their reach. In such cases, the organiser will need a “normal” licence for the performance rights and an additional licence for the livestream. As a rule, this means that, in addition to the fees charged under the performance tariff, the minimum fee CHF 40 will be charged for the livestream, since the revenues or costs of the event are already taken into account in the performance licensing fee. However, if the livestream generates separate revenues, the licence fees for the livestream will be charged on that basis.

Viewing streams after the live event

Many livestream organisers leave recordings of the stream on the internet for a certain period time after the live event; these recordings can be subsequently called up and viewed by people who missed the livestream at the official time. Provided the livestream was properly declared and licensed, SUISA allows it to be stored for subsequent viewing for a flat fee of CHF 100 in the case of concerts and DJ sets – for all other types of events the flat fee is CHF 50.

What rights are covered by the licence?

For organisers established in Switzerland or Liechtenstein whose streams are primarily intended for a domestic (Switzerland and Liechtenstein) audience, SUISA can licence the rights for the world repertoire. In the case of international organisers whose streams are intended for audiences including Switzerland and Liechtenstein, SUISA can licence the world repertoire for uses in our territory; in this case, the licence fees will be calculated only on the basis of the sales realised in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

In the livestream area, SUISA only manages authors’ musical copyrights. For all other rights, e.g. neighbouring rights or synchronisation rights, users should contact the relevant rightholders.

Livestreams with music must be registered with SUISA

Please refer to our website for the licensing terms and conditions, application form, and further information about livestreams:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/online/video/live-streams.html

To complete your application, the following information is required:

  • customer’s contact particulars
  • category of the livestream
  • livestream particulars title, duration, date, website URL, number of views
  • total revenues
  • (gross) costs
  • Will the event be recorded and stored for subsequent viewing? (yes/no)
  • list of musical works contained in the livestream

A licence is also required for livestreams produced via an external platform and embedded on your own website (e.g. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Youtube Live or Twitch).

The rules governing current temporary exceptions in the livestream area proceeding from federal measures to combat the corona pandemic are also published on our website:
www.suisa.ch/en/suisa/measures-corona-pandemic/information-for-customers.html

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Driven by the pandemic, livestreaming of the most varied forms of events has grown in significance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to share an event with a virtual audience despite the applicable bans and restrictions. This article outlines SUISA’s licensing practice and terms and conditions for livestreams. Text by Martin Korrodi

Livestream licensing by SUISA

A concert in your living room: organisers who air an event with music in real time over the internet must register and license the livestream with SUISA. (Photo: Scharfsinn / Shutterstock.com)

During the pandemic, dance and fitness courses, religious services, general meetings, and ever more concerts were recorded on the internet and aired as livestreams in replacement of disallowed live events. In October 2020, a virtual concert of the South Korean boy-group BTS attracted over 900,000 fans worldwide and brought...read more

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax – none wants to listen to heavy metal during a medical examination or treatment. And commercials too only work with the right music, often specially commissioned. In short, there are any number of examples of the ways in which music can contribute to the success of a business.

Remuneration for composers, lyricists, and publishers

It follows that those who compose the music and write the lyrics – the authors – are entitled to payment. This is done through SUISA, which grants licences for the different music uses and collects the fees in exchange. The amount of the licence fees depends essentially on the value status of the music in the corresponding use. For example, in the case of a symphonic concert, which one generally attends just for the music, the fees will be higher than for the background music in the waiting room at the doctor’s where listening to music is not the main purpose of the visit.

Music from all over the world thanks to SUISA

The tariffs for the different music uses are negotiated at regular intervals between SUISA and the associations of users (e.g. Gastrosuisse for music uses in the hospitality industry); they are jointly set, and then approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights.

And because SUISA represents the entire world repertoire in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, a licence from SUISA allows the holder to use virtually any music, from anywhere the world over. SUISA distributes the proceeds worldwide to the authors and publishers of the music thus used. For each CHF 100 it collects, SUISA distributes CHF 87 to music authors and publishers.

SUISA issues licences to over 120.000 users, including radio and TV broadcasters, concert organisers, clubs, cafés and restaurants, event and party organisers, shop owners, and online music services. This year, SUISA is planning to conduct a targeted market campaign covering music uses in businesses and will be contacting potential customers directly with its offerings.

Music uses in companies

Three of the most common music uses in businesses are explained below:

1. Background music in sales rooms and offices

In Switzerland, over 100,000 businesses play music via different technologies to create the desired atmosphere on their premises – sales rooms, offices, waiting rooms, etc. In company cars, when on hold, or in the lift, music entertains your customers and employees. Various studies show that music also serves to steer consumer behaviour.

Such uses of music in businesses qualify as public uses and are subject to a fee. Businesses accordingly pay a fee under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) to the authors, publishers, artists, or producers. “Common” means that in addition to covering the copyrights managed by SUISA, the tariff also covers those of the other copyright administration societies like Swissperform (for performing artists and producers) and Suissimage (for film creators). SUISA acts as central collecting agent for this tariff on behalf of all the Swiss collecting societies and distributes their share of the collected revenues to the authors and publishers of the music.

Examples of background music uses (CT 3a)
Where?
• Office premises (e.g. common rooms, offices, meeting rooms)
• Sales areas (e.g. sales rooms, restaurants, inns and hotels)
• Company vehicles
• Lines on hold
• Museums, exhibitions
• Medical practices (patient rooms, surgeries, waiting rooms)
How?
• Retransmission of radio broadcasts and music recordings
• Retransmission of TV broadcasts and films (film projections with announced time and venue; public viewings on giant screens with a diagonal exceeding 3 metres are regulated separately).
• Operation of interactive multimedia terminals
Further information background music uses (CT 3a)
CT 3a portal
SUISA website, about CT 3a: www.suisa.ch/3a
Distribution of CT 3a revenues:
www.suisablog.ch/en/how-suisa-distributes-fees-collected-for-background-entertainment/

2. Videos and films with music on the Internet

Ever more businesses are relying on digital formats to reach their customers through professional websites or contributions to social media. Digital communication is important to reach and maintain a connection with customers and other target groups, and not only in extra-ordinary times like during this pandemic. Videos with a musical backdrop play an essential role in this regard, contributing to make a product or service more appealing to customers.

Persons wishing to use a music recording in a video must first understand the distinction between the two types of licensable rights, namely:

  • on the one hand, the rights in the audio recording which are held by the record label;
  • on the other, the copyrights in the work itself, i.e. the composition and lyrics, if any, which are held by the music publisher and/or the authors.

The record label is responsible for the neighbouring rights in the audio recording. In the case of a video recording with music, permission and licences for the synchronisation and re-recording of the recording must be obtained from the label.

For the author’s rights in the work, the music publisher and SUISA are responsible. SUISA grants licences for the reproduction of the work as part of the video production, and for the making available of the work in the video on an own website and/or on social media platforms. The music publisher grants the licence for the synchronisation right in a work. To publish a video with a musical backdrop, one must first contact the publisher and ask whether the song can actually be used in a video.

The licensing procedure is basically the same for any company. For smaller firms with no more than 49 employees and annual turnover up to CHF 9 million, SUISA offers an all-in solution with its partner Audion. You can purchase a licence covering both the author’s rights and those of the label/producer for an annual fee of CHF 344. Thanks to this all-in arrangement, small businesses may use as many short videos with music as they wish to promote their image, products, and services on their website and social media profiles. This arrangement ensures easy access to a licence for the use of music protected by copyright.

Further information about the use of videos with music on websites
Customer portal Music on websites
FAQs:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/online/music-on-the-internet-for-small-businesses/questions-answers.html
SUISAblog articles about the all-in arrangement:
www.suisablog.ch/en/collective-management-is-a-service-for-music-creators-and-music-users-alike/

3. Music for company events

Christmas parties, general meetings, product presentations – music is often an important component of company events. These are licensed under Common Tariff Hb (CT Hb) which regulates music for dance and entertainment outside the hospitality industry. CT Hb applies to live performances: a band hired for the Christmas party, for example, or a DJ at a staff party, as well as events with musical intermissions such as general meetings, or company events organised for customers.

In terms of rates, the tariff distinguishes between small and large events. Small events are those organised in venues with a capacity of up to 400 people. The fees here are flat fees, per day and per event, depending on the number of persons attending. In the case of large events, since companies do not generally sell tickets for admission, tariff rates are calculated based on the costs sustained in connection with the use of the music. These costs typically consist of the artists’ fees and expenses, instrument rental fees, and the rent charged for the venue. If admission is charged, other calculation bases may apply.

The tariff also provides for a number of discounts – for example, for companies that conclude a contract with SUISA under CT Hb for all their events, or which organise more than 10 events per year.

Companies in the hospitality industry
Inns, pubs, and restaurants:
For entertainment and dance events in restaurants and the like, the applicable tariff is CT H, not CT Hb. CT H applies to the same events as CT Hb, but because of the association with food and beverage, another calculation model is used which takes into account the price of the cheapest alcoholic beverage in addition to the number of persons attending and the admission price.
Hotels:
It is not always clear for hotels what surface areas to use as the calculation basis, so the following should be helpful: CT 3a also applies to the surface area of hotel rooms. SUISA often receives reports from hotels where the surface areas of the rooms have not been included in the total usage area. For hotel rooms, depending on the total area concerned (rooms and common rooms), an additional fee is charged on top of the base fee (Common Tariff 3a, section 6).
Further information about music events
Outside the hospitality industry, CT Hb:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/organisers-of-events/events-parties/parties-and-other-dance-events.html
For the hospitality industry, CT H:
www.suisa.ch/en/customers/restaurants-hotels/clubs-bars-restaurants/djs-or-musicians.html
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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.

Music plays an important role in many businesses. It creates a pleasant atmosphere for customers, guests, and employees, it enhances advertising messages, and is an important part of corporate events. The rights to use music are easy to obtain from SUISA. Depending on the type of use, different tariffs and rates apply. Text by Liane Paasila, Martin Korrodi and Giorgio Tebaldi

Music in companies: What to bear in mind

By playing the right background music in your shop, you assure your customers a pleasant shopping experience and may even influence their buying behaviour. (Photo: Tana888 / Shutterstock.com)

Companies are aware of the impact music has on their business. Retailers employ professional sound companies to offer their customers a pleasant shopping experience – and encourage them to buy your products. Medical practices play soothing background music to help their patients relax –...read more

SUISA extends payment deadline for its customers

From April 2020 and until further notice, SUISA will grant an extension of the payment period on invoices issued. For music not used in connection with the official regulations against the spread of the corona pandemic, copyright fees will be dropped. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

SUISA extends payment deadline for its customers

The corona virus is currently posing major challenges for the whole of Switzerland – many of SUISA’s customers are affected by the financial consequences, as are the musicians whose rights SUISA manages. (Photo: Federal Office of Public Health)

The drastic measures taken to contain the Sars CoV-2 virus have brought about drastic changes in the social and economic environment in Switzerland within a very short time. Cultural life in the country has almost come to a standstill. Many of SUISA’s customers, especially event organisers and commercial enterprises, are suffering from the financial consequences of the lockdown. SUISA members are also severely affected by the sudden loss of basic income: Copyright royalties are one of the few steady sources of income for composers, lyricists and publishers whose rights SUISA manages.

SUISA is a link in the chain of companies affected by the crisis: Especially now, it is of existential interest for music creators that the payment of copyright royalties is preserved. In this context, SUISA is maintaining its service of permitting public use of music and is adapting some of its modalities to exceptional circumstances for the benefit of licensees.

Extension of the payment deadlines

For invoices issued from April 2020, the payment period for SUISA’s customers will be increased. The extended term of payment is recorded as a date on the invoices. This accommodation in the terms of payment is granted automatically and will be valid until further notice.

Discount for music usages that did not take place

Due to official regulations, various uses of music are and have been impossible. Be it banned events, closed shops or events in hospitality businesses that could inevitably not take place: Copyright fees for usages that have demonstrably not taken place shall not be payable.

In order to be able to deduct the discount correctly according to each individual case, various procedures will be applied for administrative and technical reasons:

Dance and entertainment in the hospitality industry

Customers who obtain a licence for dance and entertainment in the hotel and restaurant industry according to the Common Tariff H (CT H) can partially benefit from an automatic and deduction of the discount. For all cases where an automatic reduction is not possible due to the data available, we will dispatch the annual invoices in the regular scope. If the invoiced amount is too high due to cancelled events, we will revoke the invoices and reduce them to the actual amount of use according to the feedback from the customers.

Background entertainment

For licensees of the Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a) for background entertainment, the dates of business closures can vary considerably from one company to another.

We kindly ask you to notify us of the respective business closure dates by using our electronic form:

  • For your notification, please use the form located at www.suisa.ch/3a
  • Please note that reimbursements can only be made if no employees were on the business premises and if there were no occurrences of music use in telephone loops or in business vehicles.

Once we have verified the details you submitted, we are going to credit the relevant amounts in line with Common Tariff 3a for full calendar months where no background entertainment took place. For businesses which were open again on 27 April and would not fulfil these requirements, SUISA is offering a reduction of one calendar month as a gesture of goodwill.

Customers of other tariffs

Licensees of other tariffs who receive periodic invoices for long-term contracts must report any music use that has not taken place to the competent SUISA administration department, whose contact details appear on the invoices. Thus, in the context of a final settlement, the compensation can be adjusted to the actual use made.

SUISA remains available to answer questions or concerns of all customers by telephone from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1.30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Further information:
www.suisa.ch/3a
www.suisa.ch

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From April 2020 and until further notice, SUISA will grant an extension of the payment period on invoices issued. For music not used in connection with the official regulations against the spread of the corona pandemic, copyright fees will be dropped. Text by Irène Philipp Ziebold

SUISA extends payment deadline for its customers

The corona virus is currently posing major challenges for the whole of Switzerland – many of SUISA’s customers are affected by the financial consequences, as are the musicians whose rights SUISA manages. (Photo: Federal Office of Public Health)

The drastic measures taken to contain the Sars CoV-2 virus have brought about drastic changes in the social and economic environment in Switzerland within a very short time. Cultural life in the country has almost come to a standstill. Many of SUISA’s customers, especially event organisers and commercial enterprises,...read more

Videos with music on the internet: New offer for small enterprises

Until now, enterprises and individuals had to license each video with music on their websites and social media channels individually at SUISA. From November 2019 onwards, SUISA and its partner Audion GmbH offer an annual lump sum for online usage of music in web videos to small enterprises. Text by Hansruedi Brütsch

Videos with music on the internet: New offer for small enterprises

With the new SUISA offer, small enterprises no longer have to license each video individually but benefit from an annual blanket fee. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

More and more companies use videos on their websites or social media channels in order to convey information in a simpler and more entertaining way, and to create a modern appearance. Whenever music is used in those videos, enterprises as well as individuals require a licence for copyright, i.e. for the composition and the lyrics as well as a licence for neighbouring rights i.e. the rights of the performers, producers of sound recordings and music labels. You can usually acquire the licence for the copyright from SUISA against payment of a fee, and the licence for the neighbouring rights from the producer of the sound recording, resp. the label. That way, authors, publishers, artists, producers etc. receive a payment for the use of their works and performances; the paid remuneration will be distributed to them after deduction of a commission of about 15%.

New: a joint licence for copyright and neighbouring rights

Up to now, users had to acquire such a licence for each individual video on the basis of Tariff VN. Together with Audion GmbH, SUISA has now developed a simpler, attractive licensing model for small enterprises of up to 49 staff and up to CHF 9m turnover. Against payment of an annual fee of CHF 344.00 (excl. VAT), small enterprises and individuals can put videos with music onto their own website as well as publish them on their own social media profiles. Thanks to the collaboration between SUISA and Audion GmbH, the annual blanket fee is covering the acquisition of both copyright and neighbouring rights.

The licence is valid for one year from the point in time when the invoice is issued. Small enterprises and individuals can thus upload an unlimited number of videos with music without having to notify us about each of them individually. A licence requirement is that the customer’s offer is directed mainly to interested parties in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Exceptions and other rights

The following usages are exempt from this blanket fee:

  • Advertising videos (commercial videos)
  • Music videos
  • Videos with a production budget of more than CHF 15,000
  • Videos with a total play time of more than 10 min.

Further information can be accessed on the SUISA website.

It is important that this licence only covers the reproduction rights and the making available online. In order to use music protected by copyright, resp. music from a sound recording for a video, you need an additional authorisation for the so-called synchronisation. The right to sync music with the film, i.e. to connect the two, is usually managed by the publisher of the work and is not granted by SUISA within the scope of this offer. The synchronisation rights for the desired works must be requested from the respective music publisher.

This is what you need to consider when selecting music

As far as synchronisation rights are concerned, you need to consider the following: If a company wishes to use a hit by Lo & Leduc, Züri West or by international stars such as Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift as background for their video, the sync rights can cost some hundred, even up to several tens of thousands of Swiss Francs. Before producing the video, you should therefore determine the costs for the synchronisation rights with the respective publisher in any case. A simple and cost-effective alternative is to use so-called mood music. This is music from catalogues offered by various publishers specifically for the musical setting of films and/or sound and audiovisual recordings. The advantage of mood music is that a film producer resp. user can get the authorisation for the use of this music directly from SUISA. Click here for further details and a list of providers of mood music.

When you create a video with music, the moral rights also have to be taken into consideration: It is, for example, not permitted to use a musical work for a political video without having acquired the authorisation from the publisher or the authors. You will also need the permission by the publisher/author if you arrange a musical work in a video (“arrangement authorisation”).

You can also read up more on the SUISA website regarding this topic.

Especially when it comes to well-known resp. successful musical works on social media, additional demands made directly by rightholders cannot be excluded (or, in some cases, the blocking of the video).

There is more info on the new blanket fee by SUISA and Audion GmbH on our website at www.suisa.ch/344 as well as Licensing terms and conditions for the use of music in videos on company websites and company-owned social media profiles.

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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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Until now, enterprises and individuals had to license each video with music on their websites and social media channels individually at SUISA. From November 2019 onwards, SUISA and its partner Audion GmbH offer an annual lump sum for online usage of music in web videos to small enterprises. Text by Hansruedi Brütsch

Videos with music on the internet: New offer for small enterprises

With the new SUISA offer, small enterprises no longer have to license each video individually but benefit from an annual blanket fee. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

More and more companies use videos on their websites or social media channels in order to convey information in a simpler and more entertaining way, and to create a modern appearance. Whenever music is used in those videos, enterprises as well as individuals require a licence for copyright, i.e. for the composition and the lyrics as well...read more

Common Tariff 3a: A hundred thousand new SUISA business customers | plus video

With regards to Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a), SUISA has been managing all customers directly again since 01 January 2019. In order to do so, data of about 100,000 customers which received their 3a invoices via Billag in the past years, has been migrated into the SUISA systems. A new team of 16 staff is responsible for all customers of this tariff and provides customer service in four languages. In the meantime, more than 58,000 invoices have left the building – time to take a first provisional look back. Text by Martin Korrodi; Video by Sibylle Roth

On 15 February 2019, SUISA dispatched the first 1,000 CT 3a invoices for usage period 2019 to customers such as selling businesses, shopping malls, catering outlets or guesthouse landlords. Prior to the first dispatch, the migrated Billag data was analysed and manually cleaned up in order to ensure that the invoices were going to be correctly generated. The dispatch scope was intentionally kept small so that any technical or organisational problems could be detected and resolved quickly.

With increasing experience, the dispatch volume could be increased step by step – this way, after five months (February to June), more than half of the 3a customers have already received an invoice. Until mid-June, about 58,000 invoices were sent out with a total invoiced of nearly CHF 17 million. From April onwards, and in addition to the invoices, the first reminders had to be dispatched, from May the second reminders so that up to 20,000 mailings per month left the building.

CT 3a customer service in numbers

In line with the big number of invoices and reminders, the customer service must process a lot of feedback and queries. More than 2,000 phone conversations with customers were held in May alone, and about 600 electronic messages (contact forms and e-mails) were processed. Add to that about 160 mailings that reach us per month via traditional post.

What’s great is that many of our customers visit our website www.suisa.ch/3a and use the online portal for their queries and issues. Since the beginning of the year, 504 new customers registered online and obtained a CT3a licence, and 1,419 customers asked questions regarding their invoices via the online portal. The tariff allows a 5% discount to those customers who use the online portal for processing their CT 3a business with SUISA.

Under the leadership of Nevio Tebaldi, a team of 16 people is looking after the 3a customers; they share 12 full-time positions (1,200 in job percent). During the development phase, three additional people who support the team and take over duties in the field of data cleanup are available temporarily.

Frequently asked questions

The most frequently asked questions by the customers affect the new responsibility for the invoicing process from 2019. The systems change in terms of the radio and TV reception fees and the closure of the Billag AG seem to have created confusion so that customers do not always understand why they receive an invoice from SUISA and what the purpose of the owed fee is.

The confusion of the copyright fee with the radio and TV reception fees is probably due to the fact that Billag had dispatched both invoices until the end of 2018 – one of them on behalf of the Federal Office of Communication (Bakom) and the other one on behalf of SUISA. Within the commercial field, this co-operation made absolute sense since businesses which run a radio or TV set in their business location do not just have to pay the fee to the Bakom but – unlike private persons – require an additional licence for copyright pursuant to CT 3a.

From 2019, the starting point for radio and TV reception fees has changed fundamentally: A general fee is replacing the previously device-based reception fee. This general fee will be levied nationwide to all households and businesses. The obligation to pay the fee as well as the amount of the levy is, additionally, depending on the turnover of businesses: Businesses with a turnover of less than CHF 500,000 are exempt of the fee – businesses with higher turnovers are automatically invoiced by the Federal Tax Administration Office in a six-tier tariff category system.

With regards to the copyright fees based on CT 3a, there are, however, no major changes: The tariff continues to depend on the actual usage scope and is thus based on the area music is piped to. There is no turnover threshold – even businesses with less than CHF 500,000 have to pay a fee for copyright. The only “change” affects the sender of the invoices which is no longer Billag but SUISA.

The “successor” of Billag, Serafe AG plays no role for business customers since it exclusively invoices private households with the radio and TV reception fees on behalf of Bakom and has therefore nothing to do with businesses.

New contacts for businesses from 2019. (Graphics: Sibylle Roth)

 

Usage scope covered by CT 3a
The following usages are relevant for CT 3a: all exploitations in venues outside domestic and private circle or home life, such as in selling businesses, shopping malls, restaurants, lounges, office spaces, work spaces, storage spaces, company vehicles (car radio), ski lift stations, meeting rooms, seminar rooms, guest rooms (these are defined as guest and patient rooms as well as holiday homes), museums, exhibitions etc.
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With regards to Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a), SUISA has been managing all customers directly again since 01 January 2019. In order to do so, data of about 100,000 customers which received their 3a invoices via Billag in the past years, has been migrated into the SUISA systems. A new team of 16 staff is responsible for all customers of this tariff and provides customer service in four languages. In the meantime, more than 58,000 invoices have left the building – time to take a first provisional look back. Text by Martin Korrodi; Video by Sibylle Roth

On 15 February 2019, SUISA dispatched the first 1,000 CT 3a invoices for usage period 2019 to customers such as selling businesses, shopping malls, catering outlets or guesthouse landlords. Prior to the first dispatch, the migrated...read more

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Businesses that play background music on their premises or show broadcasts on screens are required to pay licence fees in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. As of 2019, SUISA will once again manage all customers under this Tariff directly. Text by Martin Korrodi

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Under copyright law, playing background music in a shopping centre like in the above example qualifies as a use outside the private sphere. That is why businesses need a licence, which they can obtain from SUISA in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. (Photo: Unsplash, Victor Xok)

Pursuant to the Federal Copyright Act (Article 10(2)(f)), the reception of broadcasts in businesses is a use outside the private sphere and is therefore subject to a licence. As a result, in addition to paying Billag reception fees – and conversely to private households – businesses which play radio or TV sets on their premises need to licence the authors’ rights under Common Tariff 3a (CT 3a). These licences are granted by SUISA.

Hitherto, Billag AG would invoice the licence fees under CT 3a for SUISA’s account. Since Billag was also responsible for invoicing radio and TV reception fees, the cooperation generated advantageous synergies. Both invoices could be issued to customers from a single source, saving time and effort on all sides.

Meanwhile, owing to a number of developments, this cooperation cannot be continued after the end of this year: thus in 2015, the Federal Act on Radio and Television was revised and the device-based reception fee was replaced by a general levy. This levy is collected from all households – regardless whether or not they actually possess a reception device.

Uses outside the private sphere are subject to licence fees

Under the new system, only businesses with turnover in excess of CHF 500,000 have to pay the licence fee. The State estimates that about 75% of Swiss businesses will not be required to pay the licence fee even if they receive broadcasts on their premises.

The minimum turnover limit does not, however, apply to authors’ rights. All uses of works outside the private sphere are relevant in terms of copyright law. In public areas like shops and restaurants, for example, background music – whether piped in from the radio, internet or a sound recording – is subject to a fee in accordance with CT 3a. And the showing of broadcasts or videoclips, from Youtube for example, also requires a licence from SUISA. Accordingly, many small businesses that do not pay radio and TV fees will still have to pay fees under CT 3a.

In addition to the change in the radio and TV remuneration system, in March 2017 the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) decided not to renew Billag’s collection agency mandate. Henceforth, household radio and TV fees will be collected by Serafe AG. For businesses, the fees will be collected by the Federal tax authorities in the framework of the VAT collection procedure. As a result, Billag has lost its main business activity and will wind up operations at the end of 2018. This is another reason why SUISA is obliged to reorganise its CT 3a-invoicing system as of the coming year.

SUISA to manage CT 3a for businesses as of 2019

After considering a number of options, it was decided in autumn 2016 that SUISA would once again manage CT 3a for businesses starting in January 2019. SUISA already issues invoices to about 2000 companies which do not have radio and TV reception but play background music from other sources (CDs, DVDs, etc.).

As of 2019, Billag’s 106,000 business customers will be taken over by SUISA; this six-fold increase in SUISA’s active customer count – realised in a single stroke – will trigger huge growth in processing volumes. Therefore task-oriented processes and largely automated IT infrastructure solutions will be essential to ensure the smooth and proper functioning of customer relations in the CT 3a area.

The necessary steps in this regard were initiated in the current year: a project team working in close cooperation with Billag is preparing the take-over of the customer portfolio at the technical and organisational levels. A customer centre is being established with the equivalent of 12 full-time positions (17 persons overall) to provide support and guidance, in writing or by phone, to CT 3a customers.

Multilingual CT 3a customer centre

To ensure as little change as possible for customers, the customer centre will take over Billag’s existing hotline number (0844 234 234). Moreover, an online portal will be set up to secure access to all relevant services. The customer centre will cater to all users, nationwide, in four languages (English, German, French, Italian).

The new team will also be responsible for market coverage. Since there are very few spontaneous declarations from users of background music, potential customers will be contacted and questioned about their practices as regards background entertainment. SUISA plans to conduct four direct mailing campaigns per year, each designed to reach about 10,000 businesses across all economic sectors.

The customer centre team started work on 1 November 2018. By the end of the year, the team will have received appropriate training, and systems and processes will be in place and fully tested. Officially, the customer centre is to open in the new year; it will be at the disposal of 3a customers as of 7 January 2019.

Complaints procedure
The tariff for background music and TV reception, CT 3a, was negotiated with the representative user associations (Gastrosuisse, Hotelleriesuisse, the umbrella association for rights’ users DUN, the Swiss Retail Federation, inter alia) in 2015 and 2016. It proved impossible to reach a consensus, and the proposed tariff was submitted to the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights (ESchK). The draft tariff submitted by the Swiss collecting societies proposed an average increase of 14% in the fees for Billag customers. In November 2016, the Federal Arbitration Commission decided in favour of the collecting societies and approved the proposed tariff. However, several user associations appealed the decision to the Federal Administrative Court; proceedings are still pending. The appeal does not have suspensive effect and SUISA can start collecting fees based on the new CT3a in 2019. However, the distribution of the proceeds to the entitled parties must be stayed until a definitive ruling on the tariff is handed down.
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  1. Thomas Ernst says:

    Zu begrüssen wäre, wenn die Rechnung spätestens ab 2021 elektronisch zugestellt werden könnte.

    • Sehr geehrter Herr Ernst

      Danke für Ihren Kommentar. Die SUISA ist dabei, Ihre Systeme umzustellen und wird im Laufe des nächsten Jahres ihren Kunden elektronische Rechnungen für die Hintergrundunterhaltung anbieten. Wir haben bei Ihnen im System vermerkt, dass Sie die nächste Rechnung elektronisch erhalten werden.

      Freundliche Grüsse

      Nevio Tebaldi, SUISA, Leiter Kundendienst

  2. Reto says:

    Genau. Viel bla bla keinerlei Inhalt!
    1 Seite Text und die 2-3 Sätze die alle die das lesen interessieren sind nicht dabei!
    A Muss ich zahlen
    B Wieviel!

    A la Betriebe mit bis zu 60 Plätzen zahlen monatlich X Fr
    Betriebe mit bis zu 120 Plätzen zahlen monatlich X Fr
    Betriebe mit über 120 Plätzen zahlen monatlich X Fr

    Fertig!

    • Giorgio Tebaldi says:

      Guten Tag Reto

      Ausführliche Informationen zur Hintergrundunterhaltung finden Sie unter http://www.suisa.ch/3a sowie unter https://www.suisa.ch/de/kunden/verkauf-gewerbe/verkaufs-und-dienstleistungsbetriebe/hintergrundmusik-music-on-hold-gt3a/faq-gt-3a.html.

      Sie müssen eine Vergütung gemäss GT 3a bezahlen, wenn mindestens einer der folgenden Punkte zutrifft:

      – In Ihrem Restaurant, Ladenlokal oder sonstigen Räumen Ihres Betriebes läuft Hintergrundmusik.
      – Sie geben in Ihren Betriebsräumen Filme, Radio- oder Fernsehsendungen wieder.
      – Sie betreiben Gästezimmer, Ferienwohnungen, Patientenzimmer oder ähnliches und stellen dort entsprechende Geräte für die Wiedergabe von Filmen, Radio- und Fernsehsendungen zur Verfügung.
      – Sie spielen Musik in Ihrer Telefonwarteschleife ab.

      Wenn sie also Werke und Leistungen nutzen, die Komponistinnen, Textautoren, Interpretinnen, Drehbuchautoren oder Produzentinnen geschaffen haben, haben diese laut Gesetz ein Recht darauf, für die Nutzung ihrer Werke und Leistungen eine Vergütung zu erhalten.

      Wieviel Sie bezahlen müssen, hängt von der Fläche ab, auf der Hintergrundmusik läuft, bzw. auf der Filme und Fernsehsendungen wiedergegeben werden.

      Für Hintergrundmusik beträgt die Vergütung auf einer Fläche von bis zu 1000 m2 CHF 19.20 pro Monat (zuzügl. MWSt). Für die Nutzung audiovisueller Werke und Leistungen (Filme und Fernsehsendungen) beträgt die Vergütung auf einer Fläche bis 1000 m2 CHF 20.80 pro Monat (zuzügl. MWSt). Für grössere Flächen gelten zusätzliche Entschädigungen gemäss Ziffer 6 des Tarifs. Diese Pauschalen gelten jeweils auch für die Musik in Telefonwarteschleifen, abgestuft nach Anzahl Amtslinien.

      Die Flächen pro Standort werden addiert, einschliesslich allfälliger Gästezimmer. Wenn ein Kunde mehrere Standorte (Geschäftslokale, Betriebsstätten, Filialen etc.) betreibt, so ist die Vergütung für jeden Standort separat geschuldet.

      Freundliche Grüsse

      Giorgio Tebaldi / SUISA Kommunikation

  3. Konrad Hugentobler says:

    Typisches juristisches Bla Bla. Definiert zuerst gefälligst mal, was genau Gebührenpflichtig ist und was nicht. Beispielsweise wird eine Firma ja wohl kaum Suisa bezahlen müssen, wenn ihre Mitarbeiter auf privaten Geräten Musik mit Kopfhörer hören. Was ist genau Berieselung? Ist es nun doch (noch) von Geräten abhängig? Muss eine Firma Suisa bezahlen, wenn Mitarbeiter auf ihrem Arbeitscomputer YouTube Videos schauen? Das wäre ja an Absurdität nicht zu übertreffen.

Leave a Reply

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Your email address will not be published.

Businesses that play background music on their premises or show broadcasts on screens are required to pay licence fees in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. As of 2019, SUISA will once again manage all customers under this Tariff directly. Text by Martin Korrodi

Invoicing licence fees for background music and TV reception in businesses as of 2019

Under copyright law, playing background music in a shopping centre like in the above example qualifies as a use outside the private sphere. That is why businesses need a licence, which they can obtain from SUISA in accordance with Common Tariff 3a. (Photo: Unsplash, Victor Xok)

Pursuant to the Federal Copyright Act (Article 10(2)(f)), the reception of broadcasts in businesses is a use outside the private sphere and is therefore subject to a licence. As a result, in addition to paying Billag reception fees – and conversely to private households...read more

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

The new Joint Tariff K applies to events which have taken place since 01 January 2017. An overview of the changes to the concert tariff in force and some answers to frequently asked questions which have arisen based on the experience gathered with the new provisions in the first few months. Text by Chantal Bolzern

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

Since January 2017, a new concert tariff has been in force in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. The picture shows SUISA member Seven (in the middle) on stage at the Tonart Festival in Altdorf, where he performed with a trio in March 2017. More information on Seven is available in the brochure “Where the music is new”, 2017 edition. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

What’s new?

There is now one instead of two tariffs. That way, all information that is relevant to customers, and the respective licensing terms and conditions are now combined into one single document. This makes life much easier, especially for event organisers who organise, apart from concerts, also other events such as theatre performances, cabarets etc.

The types of events are defined and explained in more detail and clarity. Apart from concerts, there are now specific event categories for concert-like performances, shows, ballet and theatre. These are intended to help customers to find their type of event and the licensing rates required for calculating the budget more quickly.

The licence fee percentages have been newly defined and reduced for many events depending on the type of event (concert, concert-like performance, show, ballet, theatre).

Apart from concerts, Common Tariff K (CT K) also governs licensing for music appearing in comedy, shows (such as “Art on Ice” or “Masters of Dirt”), sport tournaments with choreographies such as show dances or theatre performances with musical background or bedding. The calculation of the licence fees for comedy, tattoo festivals etc. in particular will become easier since the event is now relevant as a whole for the amount of the licence rate; it is no longer necessary to license individual works at different rates. This also helps making the budgeting process for event organisers easier and reduces the efforts of SUISA.

Small concerts are invoiced based on the works that were actually used (“pro rata temporis” rule) and no longer as a lump-sum. At the same time, licensing based on the costs of the music usage was re-introduced. Thus, the copyright remuneration will be calculated on the basis of the income generated or the costs incurred. The latter specifically applies to concerts which are free of charge and charity events.

Customers may also deduct the costs for external ticket sales up to a lump-sum of 10%, even for small concerts, if they submit the relevant supporting documents. SUISA thus takes into consideration that event organisers nowadays do use external ticket agencies, even for small or non-commercial events.

Performing artists of any recordings that are played by event organisers prior or after the event, or between the live performances, now also grant the event organiser reproduction rights. This entails a slight increase of the licensing rate for neighbouring rights from 0.2% to 0.25%.

Following the afore-mentioned lowering of the licensing fees, there was a review of the discount system. The volume discount is now only granted for small concerts and the contractual customer must be a member of a recognised association of event organisers in order to qualify for a discount.

What has not changed?

Services to concert goers by third parties that are included in the entrance fee, such as the use of public transport, a voucher for an inclusive drink etc. as well as ticket and value-added tax may still be deducted from the income if the relevant supporting documents are submitted.

The minimum licence fee has remained the same and still amounts to CHF 40 per event. Our contractual customers continue to receive the association discount as well as a 2% cash discount if they pay their invoice within 10 days.

Event organisers must submit set lists or lists of the performed works to SUISA. Firstly, SUISA requires such lists so that it can calculate a correct licensing amount. If SUISA does not hold the rights in all the titles, because, for example, copyright protection has already lapsed, the licensing amount is reduced on a pro rata temporis basis. The licensing rate also gets reduced on a pro rata temporis base if music is not used throughout the entire performance, as is the case quite regularly for theatre performances or comedy. Secondly, SUISA requires the lists in order to distribute the income collected to those composers and publishers whose music has been performed during the event.

Answers to frequently asked questions

Why does the new tariff create more administrative effort?
Introducing a new tariff is always an opportunity to check with long-term customers whether the modalities for the notifications of the events are still suitable for both parties. Furthermore, it is possible that with the partial changes to the licensing rates or conditions under the tariff, SUISA requires different information from customers. This mainly affects such concerts for which event organisers had received a licence based on the Common Tariff Kb between 2009 and 2016 (small concerts). Unfortunately, this is linked to an increased administrative effort for customers as well as for SUISA during a transitional period. As soon as we have clarified with individual customers in each case how we can licence and distribute correctly, this will get easier again.

What is a small concert and why is there no longer a specific tariff for it?
Between 2009 and 2016, a proper tariff applied for small concerts, Common Tariff Kb. Since the beginning of this year, small concerts are governed by the same tariff again as major concerts, theatre performances or comedy events.

In order to continue to fall under the “small concert” category, the capacity of the event venue must be no bigger than 999 people, and the income generated from ticket sales may not exceed CHF 15,000 per event. In this segment, the basic licensing rates were lowered from 10% until 2008 via 9.5% in 2016 to 9% for this year. Until 2008 the same rules have applied, and now, from 2017 onwards, apply again for the declaration of the concerts and licensing such as major concerts. This means that customers deliver the same information to us and don’t have to ask themselves each time which category the event falls under and how they should submit their documentation to SUISA.

This is especially a simplification of matters for medium-sized clubs whose capacity is just less than 1,000 people and which have generated more than CHF 15,000 in ticket sales in one instance and less in another. It’s also facilitating matters immensely for the venues that organise cabarets and concerts. Until now, you had to adhere to CT Ka for comedy, dance, acrobatics etc., and CT Kb for concerts.

Why are sponsoring monies or subsidies suddenly taken into consideration as income in the case of small concerts?
The basic idea of copyright is that authors participate in the collections which have been generated from the exploitation of their works. In the event business, the main income source are usually the ticket sales. If an event organiser’s plans for their budget only caters for the music costs such as payment for musicians to be covered by way of third party means, such third party means (sponsoring, subsidies etc.) must be taken into consideration as an income. This rule has already been established in concert tariffs as early as 20 years ago. It applies for all major concerts, comedy and theatre performances and used to apply to small concerts up until 2008. Due to the combination of the two tariffs CT Ka and CT Kb, it now applies to small concerts again since the beginning of this year.

Many non-commercial clubs and stages create annual budgets, where they make a hybrid calculation. They receive subsidies from their municipalities or cantons, but finance themselves from ticket income and turnover generated by the gastronomy on top of that. As long as they assume in their annual budgets that their ticket sales cover the artists’ performance salaries, the new tariff entails no changes for them. For long-term customers it therefore suffices to glance over their old invoices (up until 2008) to see whether a change has taken place. During the tariff negotiations, we undertook thorough calculations and research together with the associations whose results are now confirmed when implementing the tariff: for the vast majority of the event organisers of the non-commercial sector and especially clubs and stages, nothing will change.

The changes do, however, affect event organisers of corporate events or events that are free of charge, but also categories which can only pay artists’ salaries and other costs related to music by means of subsidies or sponsors’ subsidies.

What are non-musical performances at major concerts and what do they entail?
Both the old Common Tariff Ka (item 25 CT Ka) as well as the new Common Tariff K (item 14.1 CT K) include the term “non-musical performances”. We found out in everyday application of the tariff, that it wasn’t always clear to event organisers what is meant by this term. In order to answer these questions in the tariff, we have clarified this term in the new tariff text: it includes sophisticated choreographies, elaborate costumes and costume changes, video installations or light shows which go beyond the ‘must-have’. By doing so, we want to – as is required by copyright law – take performance-related activities into consideration which are not music but are still protected by copyright.

In practice, this means that the entire concept is taken into consideration for concerts of artists such as Beyoncé or bands like Archive, and the event organiser has to pay a lower licensing rate for the copyright in musical works. It also means that even in big stadiums, concerts sometimes will take place without elaborate artistic production and the event organiser will pay the usual basic licensing rate. That does not only apply to big classical concerts but can also be the case for concerts of certain singer songwriters, like Bruce Springsteen or Neil Diamond.

Why were the new provisions of the concert tariff made known so shortly before its introduction?
In June 2016, SUISA had announced that a new tariff had been negotiated with the relevant user associations such as SMPA, petzi, KTV, ATP etc. and that an agreement had been made. The result of the negotiations was submitted to the Federal Arbitration Commission for copyright and neighbouring rights (ESchK) for approval. The EschK approved the new Common Tariff K on 20 December 2016 and the tariff could thus come into force on 01 January 2017. The relevant tariff documents could not be officially published prior the approval had been given by the ESchK. SUISA had no influence on the date of the approval.

Further information:
«Concerts, comedy shows, shows, ballets, etc.» on www.suisa.ch

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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.

The new Joint Tariff K applies to events which have taken place since 01 January 2017. An overview of the changes to the concert tariff in force and some answers to frequently asked questions which have arisen based on the experience gathered with the new provisions in the first few months. Text by Chantal Bolzern

“Hands-on” – the new Common Tariff K

Since January 2017, a new concert tariff has been in force in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. The picture shows SUISA member Seven (in the middle) on stage at the Tonart Festival in Altdorf, where he performed with a trio in March 2017. More information on Seven is available in the brochure “Where the music is new”, 2017 edition. (Photo: Tabea Hüberli)

What’s new?

There is now one instead of two tariffs. That way, all information that is relevant to customers,...read more