Other rights

For film, video, and even podcast productions, further rights must be obtained in addition to those managed by SUISA. These include the following:

Synchronisation right

The synchronisation right is the right to combine music with images, i.e., to add music to a film. As a rule, this right is managed by the publisher of the work and a licence cannot be acquired from SUISA. Accordingly, you have to apply to the relevant publisher for the rights for each title. You can find the name of the publisher on the CD or in our works database under “shareholders” in roll "E".

Re-recording right

The re-recording right is the right to record a piece of music from the original recording (e.g. a CD or an MP3 file). The re-recording right is generally managed by the producer of the sound recording (sound recording producer, record company or label). You therefore need to apply for a licence for the relevant music pieces to the producer of the sound recording. In most cases, IFPI Switzerland (the umbrella association for Swiss producers of sound and audiovisual recordings of which nearly all well-known Swiss record companies are members) will be able to assist you. 

If you wish to avoid this process, you can opt to use production music – a general solution covering all rights. Various publishers offer catalogues of music for adding sound to films. The advantage of production music is that the producer or user can acquire the licence to use the music directly from SUISA.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions

  • The Federal Law  of 9 October 1992 on Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights (the Copyright Law) is the legal reference basis for SUISA's activities. The Copyright Law regulates the rights of authors, performers, record producers and broadcasting companies in their works and services and stipulates the duties of the collective administration societies. The Copyright Law also defines fundamental terms such as “work” or  “author”, and specifies what rights an author has in his works. The Law also places limits on copyright protection.

    Pursuant to the Copyright Law, the author is the owner of his work. An author's work can only be published, reproduced, performed in public, broadcast or otherwise disseminated with his consent. In exchange, the author is entitled to remuneration.

  • The Copyright Act protects all musical works of an original nature created by individuals. Apart from music, other acoustic works of an original nature, characterised by the use of sounds and not notes, are protected. All these works are protected regardless of their value or purpose. A symphony and a radio jingle enjoy equal protection under the Copyright Act. SUISA only manages what are known as “small rights”, i.e. the rights to non theatrical music. This includes:

    • non theatrical musical works, with or without lyrics, including oratorios;
    • concert versions of theatrical (dramatic) musical works;
    • dance musical works which can be used without dance;
    • excerpts from theatrical musical works which do not comprise a complete act and are not longer than 25 minutes in the case of a radio broadcast, or 15 minutes in the case of a television broadcast.
    • musical works in films or other audiovisual or multimedia works (except in the case of films of dramatic musical works).

    SUISA is responsible for performance, broadcasting and retransmission rights, public broadcasting rights, the right to make music available (online rights), mechanical rights (i.e. the production of sound and audiovisual recordings, including audiofiles) and blank carrier and rental rights.

  • The following reference books deal with copyright law:

    in German:

    Reto M. Hilty: Urheberrecht, Bern 2011 (ISBN 978-3-7272-8660-5).
    This reference book does not only deal with music copyrights, it provides a general systemic overview and discusses current trends in copyright law.

    Denis Barrelet, Willi Egloff: Das neue Urheberrecht, Kommentar zum Bundesgesetz über das Urheberrecht und die verwandten Schutzrechte, 3rd completely revised and supplemented edition, Bern 2008 (ISBN 978-3-7272-9563-8).
    This publication is an expert commentary on the Copyright Law. A separate section is devoted to each individual article of the Copyright Law.

    Barbara K. Müller, Reinhard Oertli: Urheberrechtsgesetz (URG), 2nd edition, Bern 2012 (ISBN 978-3-7272-2553-6).
    This 900-page commentary contains comprehensive explanations about Swiss Copyright Law with short references to the corresponding rules and regulations in German and European copyright law. A separate section is devoted to each article of the Copyright Law.

    Manfred Rehbinder, Adriano Vigano: URG Kommentar, 3rd completely revised edition, Zurich 2008 (ISBN 978-3-280-07143-4).
    In addition to a short commentary on the Federal Copyright Law, this publication contains many other national and international rules and regulations of relevance to copyright law (URV, RBÜ, TRIPS, WIPO Treaties, EU Directives, etc.). The annexes contain the Articles of Association and sample rights administration agreements of the Swiss collective administration societies.

    Roland von Büren, Lucas David (Hrsg.): Schweizerisches Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht, 1. Band, Teil 2, Urheberrecht (Volume 1, Part 2, Copyright Law) 2nd edition, Basel/Genf/Munich 2006 (ISBN 3-7190-2294-3), 3rd edition forthcoming (ISBN 978-3-7190-3178-7).
    700 pages of contributions from various authors provide comprehensive information about copyright law, publishing contracts and the legislation governing the copyright administration societies.

    Kamen Troller: Grundzüge des schweizerischen Immaterialgüterrechts, 2nd revised edition, Basel 2005 (ISBN 978-3-7190-2357-7).
    In addition to copyright law, this book deals with patent law, design copyrights, computer law, trademark law and unfair competition.

    Roland von Büren, Eugen Marbach, Patrik Ducrey: Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht, 3rd edition, Bern 2008 (ISBN 978-3-7272-0819-5).
    In 500 pages, this textbook presents a comprehensive overview of intellectual property and unfair competition law (patent law, copyright law, trademark and design law, anti-trsut and unfair competition law).

    in French:

    Jacques de Werra, Philippe Gilliéron (Ed.): Commentaire romand, Propriété intellectuelle, 1st edition, Basel 2013 (ISBN 978-3-7190-2853-4).
    This 2500 page volume contains a commentary of Switzerland's entire copyright, trademark, design and patent law.

    Dessemontet François: Le droit d'auteur, Lausanne 1999 (ISBN 2-8819-7038-9).
    In over 1000 pages including the annexes, this book provides a multitude of practical examples with special regard to the author's role in the field of new technologies - based on the 1999 status, however.

    Denis Barrelet, Willi Egloff: Le nouveau droit d'auteur, Commentaire de la loi fédérale sur le droit d'auteur et les droits voisins, 3rd edition, Berne 2008 (ISBN 978-3-7272-9564-5).
    This publication is an expert commentary. A separate section is devoted to each individual article of the Copyright Law.

    Kamen Troller: Précis du droit suisse des biens immatériels, 2nd edition, Bâle 2006 (ISBN 978-3-7190-2358-4).
    In addition to copyright law, this book deals with patent law, design copyrights, computer law, trademark law and unfair competition.

  • in German:

    2003 Poto Wegener: „musik & recht – Schweizer Handbuch für Musikschaffende“  (Music & the Law – The Swiss Handbook for Music Creators), unchanged 2nd edition, 2004  (ISBN 978-3-9809540-2-0).

    The book explores the following themes in 500 pages: copyright law, rights management law (SUISA and SWISSPERFORM), recording industry, sound recording agreements, publishing, sampling and remix, music and the Internet, contract law, intra-group agreements and organisation structures, concert contracts, management and booking, protection of group names, noise protection and social insurance. Although some sections are no longer entirely up to date, this book is a complete and competent guide with detailed explanations on a dozen sample contracts.

    Robert Lyng, Heinz Oliver, Michael von Rothkirch: Die neue Praxis im Musikbusiness, 12th edition, 2013 (ISBN 978-3-95512-059-7).

    A standard reference work for anyone who wants to know how the music industry works. The key players of the music industry are presented in 18 chapters. Precious practical tips for music professionals on everything from starting a band to hitting the top of the charts. The book covers copyright law basics as well as the art of negotiating contracts. Comprehensive annexes with commented contracts complete the book. Since the book is based on the German legal framework, not all information can be applied 1:1 to Switzerland.

    Rolf Moser, Andreas Scheuermann (Hrsg.): Handbuch der Musikwirtschaft, 7th edition, 2018 (ISBN 978-3-7808-0188-3).

    This 1500 page volume discusses all music production-related issues in great depth and detail - a more comprehensive presentation of the subject matter is hardly conceivable. Since the book is based on the German legal framework, not all information can be applied 1:1 to Switzerland.

    Donald S. Passman, Wolfram Herrmann: Alles, was Sie über das Musikbusiness wissen müssen, 2nd edition, 2011 (ISBN 978-3-7910-2987-0).

    An expert adaptation by Wolfram Herrmann of US lawyer Donald S. Passman's bestseller to the German, Austrian and Swiss music industry. The two insiders reveal their comprehensive expert knowledge in a sound and intelligible guide.

    in French:

    Guy Haumont, Eric Haumont: Le Droit des musiciens, Guide pratique, 2nd edition, 2002 (ISBN: 978-2911433160).

    A clear and complete overview of law and practice in the music industry with an international focus; no longer entirely up to date.