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Tuesday, 20. July 2021

Distribution Rules Distribution of revenues from streaming and download platforms

Management of online rights is not subject to federal oversight. For this reason, amendments to the Distribution Rules do not have to be approved by the Institute of Intellectual Property (in Switzerland) or the Office of the National Economy (in Liechtenstein). They are in the exclusive remit of the Distribution and Works Committee and SUISA's Board. At its meeting of 25 June 2021, the Board adopted the following amendments which had been discussed by the Distribution and Works Committee in April 2021:

“Distribution of revenues from online platforms where insufficient information is available for distribution purposes / Amendment of Article 5.6.1 DR”

The management of online rights demands significant IT resources. Millions of works are available on the platforms and are called up by millions of users following their own personal taste. Not all platforms can make available to SUISA all the data required for automatic processing with a view to determining “where the rights are” and ensuring that each and every rightholder receives precisely what they are entitled to. When negotiating licensing agreements, it is sometimes necessary to estimate the share of the repertoire represented by each society and then to agree on lump-sum amounts which the platforms then pay to each society.

When this is the case, SUISA does not receive precise information about the works used by the platform and the rights have to be distributed based on estimated values. This is best achieved by making distributions based on the data from other platforms that use a similar repertoire; this is also SUISA’s current practice. With the addition of corresponding wording under Article 5.6.1, this practice has now been formally incorporated in the Distribution Rules.

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