Music boxes, music-playing toys, etc.
Apply for a licence
Apply here for a licence
(application form in German, French and Italian only)
For the manufacture of music boxes and other objects that play music, we issue licences based on Tariff PA.
The manufacture of music boxes of all kinds is regulated by Tariff PA. This applies to conventional music boxes, as well as to musical stuffed toys and other music-playing objects. Tariff PA also applies to Swiss imports of non-licensed music boxes.
How to proceed:
For declarations and accounting, please contact email@example.com directly by email.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
DRM systems have not become as widespread as was originally expected. On the contrary, they have now largely disappeared. And those that remain are mostly closed systems which are not at all or not entirely interconnectable with other systems, and which cause archiving problems. Such systems by no means assure users access to all works and services.
DRM systems can also be problematic in terms of privacy protection. DRM has not succeeded in imposing itself in the music world or in any other area, and the four major labels sell their music online through a multitude of internet platforms without any copyright protection.
The Swiss copyright collecting societies reject DRM for all these reasons. Consumers should be free to make copies for their own private use, but authors must be entitled to collect their due through an appropriate remuneration system.
Private copying is allowed. Blank CDs can be used for storing personal data or music. It is neither possible nor desirable to check exactly who is storing what. That is why a fee is also charged on blank CD data carriers (CD-R data). At five centimes per hour or per 525 MB storage capacity, the fee is significantly lower than for blank audio CD-Rs or audio cassettes, which are subject to a charge of 33 cts per hour or per 525 MB storage capacity. The fee is calculated taking into account the fact that blank CDs do not only serve for storing protected works but are also used for storing other files such as private photos, for example. The fee only covers the average portion of the memory used for storing protected works according to statistical surveys.
You may burn your own CDs and DVDs provided
- the CD or DVD is for your own private use, or
- the CD or DVD is a gift for a close friend or relative.
You may not burn your own CDs and DVDs if
- you intend to sell the CD or DVD without having obtained the authorisation of the record company or a licence from SUISA, or
- the CD or DVD is a gift for someone other than a close friend or relative.
The Copyright Act authorises the use of a work “in the personal sphere or within a small circle of closely-related persons, such as relatives or friends“. In case law and literature, this circle is very narrowly defined. Moreover, only private individuals may burn CDs or DVDs - burning is not permitted if it is done by a press shop or any other third party for a fee.
When you buy CDs or music on the internet, you do not pay any royalties for private use. Nor are any royalties payable since private use is permitted by law. There is no restriction on the copying of music files from a CD or the internet for private use. The copying of protected works onto a blank carrier is the only use in the private sphere which is subject by law to the payment of a fee; that fee is payable, however, by the manufacturer or the importer, not by the buyer. By law, the private consumer never has to pay a royalty. However, as in other areas, it is common for the manufacturer or importer to pass on its costs to the consumer.
Yes. If you intend to record musical works (still) protected by copyright, or have such works recorded, you need a licence from SUISA. In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the legal protection period runs for 70 years after the author's death.
Nearly all authors in Switzerland and abroad have entrusted SUISA with the administration of their rights in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein. SUISA grants the licence to record a work on the author’s behalf against payment of the corresponding remuneration, which it passes on. Accordingly, you must always notify SUISA before producing a recording, or having a recording produced.
Download the "Application for a sound carrier recording licence", fill it in and send it to SUISA. SUISA must receive the duly completed form at least ten days before the recording date. SUISA will then authorise the pressing plant to produce the sound recordings. Without SUISA’s authorisation, the pressing plant cannot proceed.
As long as you are only re-recording in your private sphere and you use the music privately, you do not have to do anything because the use is private and permitted by law.
However, if you intend to use the music thus recorded in public, you first have to obtain permission from the record company, which generally holds both the recording rights and the performing artist's rights. Then you declare the sound recording production to SUISA and obtain a licence for the mechanical rights in the musical works. The record company's permission must be attached to your «Application for a sound carrier recording licence».
To use music for advertising purposes you need the express permission of the author or his publisher. SUISA will forward your application. As this is often quite a long procedure, SUISA notifies applicants on receipt of their duly completed application forms that no sound recordings may be produced until a written authorisation is issued. Authors and publishers may demand remuneration for the licence: such remuneration is additional to any royalties collected by SUISA.
For more information
In the case of synchronisations (setting to music), the producer of an audiovisual recording and his principal are responsible for obtaining a licence from SUISA. They are jointly and severally liable for the royalty payments.
In the case of projections, the organiser of the projection is responsible for obtaining the licence. This applies in particular for the projection of audiovisual recordings made available to Swiss or Liechtenstein companies by their foreign partners or their parent and sister companies.
Yes. You can only record protected music on audiovisual carriers if the author or rightholder (generally the publisher) has permitted you to do so. Without such permission (known as a synchronisation licence), audiovisual carriers may not be reproduced, distributed or projected in public.
SUISA cannot as a rule grant such licences. You must have a synchronisation licence for
- setting films to music or reproducing films with music for purposes other than private use
- projecting films with music outside a close circle of friends and family.
NB: You must also obtain permission for projections at club or association events, for training purposes, for hotel-video services. The permission must be obtained in advance.
SUISA represents the world film music repertoire in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Abroad, authorisation must be obtained from the copyright collecting society of the country where you want to produce and/or show the audiovisual recording.
If you combine music with other works (pictures, dialogues etc.) on the audiovisual recording, or make the audiovisual recording for alien purposes (advertising, sales promotions or public relations), you may be going against the author’s principles or intentions. In principle, to protect the author's moral rights, SUISA only issues a licence to record music with the author's consent (e.g. evidenced by the "sync" licence).
When you buy a CD, or music on the internet, no fee is charged for private use. Nor is any fee payable since private use is permitted by law.
Anybody who wishes to copy music from a CD or from a music file on the internet for private use can do so unrestrictedly. In exchange, the Copyright Act provides that the rightholders of the copied works are entitled to a fee levied on blank carriers and storage media (CDs, DVDs, MP3 players, etc.).
See infochart (https://www.suisa.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/suisa/FAQ/SUIS_Grafik_LTV_2014_final.jpg)
The copyright administration society levies the fee from the manufacturer or importer of the blank media; as in other areas, the latter usually passes it on to the consumer.
Tariff rates are regularly negotiated, and are set taking into account current data and prices. Whenever new storage media liable to be used for private copying of protected works appear on the market, a new tariff is negotiated. The share of commercial and unprotected private data is duly taken into consideration when the tariffs are set. This makes it possible to set a lump-sum rate for all data carriers. Certainly, individual billing would be more fair, but it would involve disproportionate controlling as well as undesirable interference in the private sphere.
See infochart (https://www.suisa.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/suisa/FAQ/SUIS_Grafik_LTV_2014_final.jpg)
Both personal data and works protected by copyright can be stored on such media. It is neither possible nor desirable to check exactly who is storing what. That is why royalties are charged as a lump-sum fee. The share of personal and business data on such storage media is periodically verified by GfS, the research institution, and deducted when tariff rates are structured. In other words, the remuneration charged is reduced by the share of non-protected data.
Say you already have a pair of sunglasses but need another one in the car: you have to buy a second pair. If you have bought a CD or downloaded music from an online shop and want to listen to the same track in your car or on your MP3 player when you go jogging, you are allowed to copy the CD or the songs yourself – at least in Switzerland. The authors are entitled to a fee for those private copies since you are saving the cost of buying another CD or the songs again.
The authors are entitled to fair remuneration for the loss of income. The same applies to every single private copy. It’s a simple and fair system. Because, although the CD or music file belongs to you, the music still belongs to its authors, i.e. the composers and lyricists.
Moreover, it’s not the end-user who pays the blank media levy, but the manufacturer or importer of the storage media. And the manufacturer or importer build the royalties into the retail price just like they do with their other production costs and their profit margin.
This extrapolation is wrong since it assumes fees are charged at a flat rate. Fee rates per memory unit are actually constantly falling. In 2003, the fee for 1GB in the first tariff for once-recordable DVDs was 40 centimes, today it is 19 centimes for rewritable DVDs and 7 centimes for once-recordable DVDs. Moreover, the increasing memory size is taken into account by the degressive rates: the bigger the memory, the lower the rate.
The tariffs are regularly renegotiated with the user associations. An equal representation arbitration commission decides the tariff. Its decision can be appealed before the Federal Administrative Court, with a final appeal before the Federal Supreme Court. In March 2010, for example, the Federal Arbitration Commission for Copyright and Neighbouring Rights introduced a new tariff for music phones. That decision was appealed and, as a result, the tariff is still not in force.
On the contrary: consumers are not the losers but the winners since they profit from the new copying technologies. Thanks to the rapid fall in the price of storage media, digital copying has never been so easy and so cheap. On the other hand, the revenues from the blank media levy are stagnating again given the steep decline in rates in recent years.
The blank media levy compensates authors for the private copying of their works. According to the Federal Copyright Act, authors are entitled to “adequate” compensation. As memory size grows, more works are copied. So more rightholders have to be compensated. If authors are to receive adequate compensation, tariff rates cannot continue to be endlessly reduced.
A 1GB memory can store about 250 pieces of music. The going rate for MP3 players is maximum CHF 0.70 per GB. This represents a royalty of CHF 0.0028 (or 0.28 centimes) per piece of music. As a rule, this amount has to be split among several rightholders.
Since 1992, the royalty fees regulated by the Copyright Act have been levied on a lump-sum basis on all storage media suitable for copying protected works. At the outset, there were cassettes; nowadays we have CDs, recorders with built-in hard drives and MP3 players.
The Swiss legislative specifically opted for a wording which is technologically neutral in order to avoid having to amend the law with each innovation. Basically, the obligation to pay royalties applies to any technological innovation which is suitable for storing private copies of protected music, books and films. To collect a royalty, the copyright societies have to demonstrate through surveys that the new media is actually used for that purpose; then they have to negotiate tariffs with the associations representing the producers and importers of such media.
New technologies like broadband internet and mobile terminals ensure we have constant access to creative content, anytime and anywhere. But even the most innovative device relies on content to make it interesting. There would be no MP3 players or iPods if people did not want to listen to music when they are on the move. Art and culture are the cornerstones of the creative economy. But – like any other industry – the cultural industry is dependent upon the financial flows generated from the use of cultural goods. Would anyone be prepared to invest his time and spirit to create new music, films, photography and literature without any earnings?
The blank media levy is a simple system designed to ensure that creators receive an equitable remuneration for the private copying of their works. It is based on the costs-by-cause principle and does not need any checking device liable to interfere with individual privacy. There may well be other suitable remuneration systems. But so far none has been devised or tried. And until such time, the blank media levy will continue to be necessary.
No. Rental remuneration cannot be included in the price of videos and DVDs since the Copyright Act provides that only collective administration societies are entitled to collect this remuneration (Article 13(3)). The higher price for rental cassettes is due to the exclusivity period during which films are not allowed to be broadcast on (free) television.