GEMA-Youtube agreement: simplified administrative procedures for SUISA members – compensation remains too low

At the beginning of November, GEMA and Youtube agreed on licence terms for the use of music on online platforms. SUISA had already negotiated a contract with Youtube for its members in 2013. The German agreement will simplify administrative procedures for SUISA members, yet compensation via the most frequently-used free channel remains too low for Swiss authors. An overview of the key facts.

What does the agreement between GEMA and Youtube mean for SUISA members?
The contract between GEMA and Youtube will also bring benefits for SUISA members. Until now, Youtube first had to be satisfied that no GEMA rights holders were associated with a work. Only then could advertising be switched on for the video and members compensated for its use. This process often took several weeks, meaning that the rights holder lost a significant proportion of the revenue, as videos usually receive the most hits in the days immediately following their release. Thanks to the agreement with GEMA, advertising can now be switched on shortly after a video’s release.

Do SUISA members have to do anything to ensure advertising is switched on more quickly for their videos?
No, the process will not change for members. Youtube can switch on advertising for your video as soon as you have cleared it for advertising and the music in the video has been identified by Youtube’s content ID system. This process will become easier for SUISA members thanks to the agreement between GEMA and Youtube: until now, a work first had to be registered with the collecting society so that its legal status could be resolved and advertising switched on. Now, SUISA members can theoretically clear their videos for advertising with Youtube and then register the relevant pieces of music with SUISA afterwards. In practical terms, it is still better to notify SUISA immediately upon publication of a work, as it is mandatory to register works if you wish to be compensated for the use of music in the videos.

Will the agreement in Germany affect the contract between SUISA and Youtube?
The agreement in Germany will have no immediate impact on the contract between SUISA and Youtube negotiated at the end 2013. SUISA is not party to any details of the agreement between GEMA and Youtube. The contract between SUISA and Youtube will be renegotiated in the coming months within the framework of the Mint joint venture. In this context, it should be remembered that compensation via the most frequently-used free channel, Youtube, remains too low for Swiss authors. Compensation from online providers will remain a key theme for SUISA in future: composers, lyricists and publishers of music must be compensated more fairly when their work is used in downloads and, above all, for streaming. Changes to the legal framework are key to achieving fair compensation for online use. The working group on copyright law AGUR12 has recommended various measures to Swiss copyright law and SUISA is actively advocating for their implementation throughout the current revision process.