Parliamentary initiatives

Parliamentary initiatives

18.405 - Parliamentary initiative NR Gregor Rutz
Deeds, not words. Remove the household fee for radio and television
This parliamentary initiative was submitted by Gregor Rutz (Zurich / SVP), member of the National Council, on 26 February 2018. The initiative demands that Article 68 of the Federal Act on Radio and Television (RTVA), and any other related enactments, be amended as required to stipulate that undertakings no longer have to pay a fee for radio and television.

The debate on the No Billag referendum showed that all sides recognise the need for reform of radio and television legislation. The largest trade associations (Swiss small business association and economiesuisse) supported a counterproposal to reduce the fee to CHF 200 and to eliminate the obligation for undertakings to pay the fee. The latter demand was also supported by both the FDP and the SVP. 

The competent committee accepted Gregor Rutz’s proposal on 6 November 2018 by 14 votes in favour to 9 against.

16.493 - Parliamentary initiative, Federal Council, Philippe Nantermod
Copyright, No fee for use on private premises (hotels, holiday homes, hospitals and prisons)
National Councillor Philippe Nantermod views the use of works on private premises (hotels, holiday homes, hospital rooms and prison cells) as constituting private use, comparable with use at home. Copyright fees may therefore not be charged for such uses. 
The National Council Committee for Legal Affairs accepted the motion on 25 October 2018.
On 13 December 2017, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that the dissemination of radio and television broadcasts in hotel rooms and other establishments of the hospitality industry was subject to licensing fees in accordance with applicable law. 

Motions

17.3008 – Motion Committee for Transport and Telecommunications NR
Amendment of Article 44(3) and Article 39(2)(a) RTVA to strengthen service public digital offers outside the SRG
The amendments of Articles 44(3) and 39(2)(a) RTVA proposed by the Committee were designed to extend the journalistic supply area and eliminate the 2 plus 2 rule: "A broadcaster or the undertaking to which it belongs may acquire a maximum of two television licences and two radio licences." Since the regional TV market was locally structured, production costs were high and profitability was low. A report dated 25 January 2017 showed that, by eliminating the 2 plus 2 rule and extending the journalistic supply area, organisational, human resource and financial synergies could be exploited. This was liable to improve the economic viability and quality of regional TV broadcasters in particular. A revision of the Law on Radio and Television would facilitate larger supply areas and a greater business concentration of offers.

On 30.08.2017, the Federal Council proposed that the motion be dismissed. The Federal Council was prepared to rescind Article 44(3) RTVA in the framework of the law's planned transformation into a law on electronic media. With reference to Article 39(2)(a) RTVA, the Federal Council believed that the disadvantages of the proposed change would outweigh the expected benefits.
At its meeting of 11.09.2017, the National Council approved the motion. On 11.12.2017, the Council of States approved the motion subject to the following modification: Following the amendment of Article 44(3) RTVA, the 2 plus 2 rule should be rescinded: "A broadcaster or the undertaking to which it belongs may acquire a maximum of two television licences and two radio licences."
On 7 June 2018, the National Council approved the motion with the amendment proposed by the Committee of the Council of States.

16.4027 – Motion NR Kurt Fluri
SRG and independent audiovisual industry. Strengthen the independent market, intensify cooperation, avoid distortions of competition
In the framework of the revision of the Federal Law on Radio and Television, National Councillor Kurt Fluri urged the Federal Council to create the legal bases to oblige the SRG to work with the Swiss film industry on commissioned productions and technical film services.

In its reply of 1.2.2017, the Federal Council proposed that the motion be approved. The National Council and the Council of States approved the motion on 17.03.2017 and 26.09.2017 respectively.

Comment: SWISSCOPYRIGHT would welcome greater cooperation between the SRG and the Swiss film industry. It therefore supports the motion.

17.3627 – Motion of the Committee for Transport and Telecommunications NR
Shared-Content Model
On 4.7.2017, the Committee for Transport and Telecommunications of the National Council (KVF-NR) withdrew its Open Content motion and submitted a new motion for a "Shared Content" model. The proposal invited the Federal Council, in the framework of the revision of the Law on Television and Radio and with regard to the preparation of the new SRG concession, to draft a bill facilitating the implementation of a Shared Content model. Private Swiss media providers should be granted easy access to use contributions broadcast by the SRG. Private broadcasters should also be permitted to use various short versions and individual original soundtracks. Moreover, the SRG should, where possible, acquire the requisite authors' rights and rights of use in its own and third-party productions for their transfer.
The Federal Council proposed the approval of the motion on 30.8.2017. It would also take the Shared Content model into account in the planned law on electronic media.

At its meeting of 11.09.2017, the National Council approved the motion.

On 11 December 2017, the Committee for Transport and Telecommunications of the National Council unanimously proposed to accept the motion with a slightly modified wording. In practice, the Committee decided to maintain the existing rules on copyrights and rights of use and not to propose any changes. Thus the Committee unanimously proposed to delete the last sentence ("The SRG should, where possible, acquire the necessary copyrights and rights of use in its own and third-party productions).

The Federal Council agreed with the Committee's proposal.

On 7 June 2018, the National Council approved the motion as amended by the Committee of the Council of States.

Comment: SWISSCOPYRIGHT had rejected the motion in its original wording. One of the basic principles of intellectual property is that the creator and the investors should share the revenues generated by the use of their works. The original motion would have undermined contractual freedom and the proper functioning of copyright law. The amendment now proposed by the Committee of the National Council remedies this defect; Swisscopyright now supports the amended motion. 

Postulates

16.3375  –  Postulate by National Council Philippe Nantermod
Authorise parallel imports of online content
In his postulate of 2 June 2016, the FDP National Councillor from the Valais has asked the Federal Council to examine "the measures which could be adopted to encourage parallel imports of online content, in other words, to restrict Geolocking, so that Swiss consumers may use online services offered abroad and access Swiss online services from other countries. If necessary, the Copyright Act should be amended accordingly".

On 17.08.2016, the Federal Council proposed that the postulate be rejected. The National Council rejected the proposal on 28.02.2018

12.3326 – Postulate by Council of States Luc Recordon
For a copyright that is fair and in accordance with the liberties of the internet community
The Council of States referred the postulate on 5 June 2012. The report is yet to be published. The Federal Council still needs to inform the advisory commission of how it plans to fulfil the postulate.

In its reply of 9.5.2012, the Federal Council proposed that the postulate be approved. The Council of States approved the postulate on 05.06.2012.

12.3173 – Postulate by National Council Balthasar Glättli
Adequate remuneration for creators and artists while respecting the privacy of internet users
In May 2012, the Federal Council agreed to focus on the issues in a report. The report is yet to be published. The Federal Council still needs to inform the advisory commission of how it plans to fulfil the postulate.

Addition: In its reply of 16.5.2012, the Federal Council proposed that the postulate be approved. On 15.06.2012, the Council of States approved the postulate.

Completed initiatives

18.4278 - Interpellation Anita Fetz  Are direct licensing agencies for concerts legal in Switzerland?On 13.12.2018, Anita Fetz, member of the Council of States for Basel, submitted an interpellation asking "Are direct licensing agencies for concerts in Switzerland legal?" Ms Fetz thus asks the Federal Council for information regarding the practice of foreign agencies of licensing performance rights directly for performances by musicians in Switzerland.  Since the relevant rights are not obtained through SUISA, Swiss concert organisers will incur additional work and higher costs. 

The Federal Council issued its statement in response to the interpellation on 20 February 2019.

18.404 - Parliamentary initiative NR Natalie Rickli
Deeds, not words. Reduce household fee for radio and television to CHF 300
The parliamentary initiative was submitted by Natalie Rickli, member of the National Council (Zurich / SVP), on 26 February 2018. The initiative demands that Article 68 of the Federal Act on Radio and Television (RTVA), and any other related enactments, be amended so as to reduce the household fee for radio and television to maximum CHF 300.

According to Ms Rickle, the debate on the No Billag referendum showed that all sides recognise the need to reform radio and television legislation. A "re-sizing" of the SRG SSR has been promised in particular - including by the SRG SSR itself. Moreover, Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard also promised that the household fee would be lowered to CHF 300. This should not remain an empty promise, and Parliament must reduce the fee. 

Natalie Rickli’s proposal was withdrawn on 6 November 2018.

18.3070 – Motion SR Beat Vonlanthen 
A sound and forward-looking media policy to support the diversity of Swiss media 
Beat Vonlanthen (Fribourg / CVP), member of the Council of States, is calling on the Federal Council to introduce various measures and legislative amendments in the media area. In particular, he asks for a cap on SRG SSR fee revenues, and for an increase in the share of private broadcasters under the new media law. The SRG SSR should be subject to advertising restrictions and a maximum limit, and be required to co-operate on a non-discriminatory basis on advertising platforms. Further demands include reinforcing the promotion of local and regional print media, and limiting online offers of fee-financed broadcasters in the text area.

In his justification, Vonlanthen underscores that the No Billag debate managed to consolidate and strengthen the well-tried combination between publicly funded media content and private media. The majority of the population had rebuffed a radical cut. The population had believed the campaign statements made by the Federal Council and the SRG SSR. It was therefore essential that words be turned into deeds.

On 18 April 2018, the Federal Council stated its position and recommended that the motion be rejected. It pointed out that the preliminary work on a future law on electronic media which would supersede the Federal Act on Radio and Television (RTVA) was in process. Most of the concerns addressed in the motion would be reviewed in course of the corresponding legislative procedure. Moreover, the Federal Council believed that it was too early and unnecessarily constraining to predetermine the content of the future law.

The motion was withdrawn on 14 June 2018.

17.3628 – Postulate Committee for Transport and Telecommunications NR 
Review of the number of SRG stations
On 4.7.2017, the KVF-NR withdrew its original motion for a reduction in the number of special interest radio stations, submitting a new postulate for a "review of the number of SRG stations". The aim of the proposal was to determine how many stations were necessary in order to satisfy the service public mandate. With regard to the awarding of the new SRG concessions, the Federal Council should establish how the service public mandate could be fulfilled with a reduced number of television and radio broadcasting stations. 
The Federal Council proposed the approval of the motion on 30.8.2017. It would undertake the synopsis and review requested in the postulate during the revision of the SRG concessions.

The National Council approved the postulate on 11.09.2017.

The postulate was withdrawn on 18.06.2019.

Comment: SWISSCOPYRIGHT does not object to a review of the number of SRG broadcasters. It would show that the SRG meets the licence requirement (‘The SRG ensures the distinctiveness of its programme services and differentiates itself in this way from commercially oriented broadcasters’). This applies in particular to the musical spectrum of the programme as well as to the adequate consideration of Swiss music.

17.3492 – Interpellation NR Kurt Fluri
Support for the organisations of cultural professionals 2017

17.3068 – Interpellation SR Didier Berberat
Foreign advertising window in Switzerland. What solutions for Switzerland as a media location?

17.3010 Motion, Federal Council Transport and Telecommunications Committee
Reduction of special interest radio channels

17.3009  – Motion Committee for Transport and Telecommunication NR
"Open Content" Model

16.3849 – Motion by National Council Martin Candinas 
Exemption from licence fees for the dissemination of music for the portions due to mountain and peripheral regions, including Simulcasts
In his motion submitted on 30 September 2016, National Councillor Martin Candinas (CVP) has requested that the Federal Council modify the Copyright Act. In practice, he is asking for the introduction of a new article, Article 20bis "Exemption from the obligation to pay licence fees". This article is to provide that subsidies are to be exempted from licence fees under CT S.
On 4.4.2017, the Committee for Transport and Telecommunications of the Council of States (KVF-S) decided to defer the debate for the time being in order to avoid pre-empting the negotiations between SUISA and the Swiss Association of Private Radios on the CT S broadcasting tariff.
On 30 April 2018, the Transport and Telecommunications Committee decided by 6 votes to 4 to accept the points of the motion that had been approved by the National Council. A minority of Committee members were in favour of rejecting the motion. They took the view that SUISA and the private broadcasters should be left to agree on the remuneration for the use of protected works. The minority also pointed out that the purpose of the motion had already been implemented to a certain degree by an annex to Common Tariff S. 

The Council of States rejected the motion on 13 June 2018 by 22 votes to 21.

Comment: SWISSCOPYRIGHT opposes the motion. The motion fundamentally calls into question the applicable tariffs and royalties:

  • The calculation basis for tariffs is decided in the tariff negotiations.
  • The tariffs are negotiated amicably between the user associations and the copyright societies and are approved by the Federal Arbitration Commission.
  • This is done on the basis of the applicable legislation.
  • Tariffs should be set in the tariff negotiations; they are not a matter for the Parliament.
  • If these negotiations are unsuccessful, then the tariffs are decided by FACO (Federal Arbitration Commission for the Exploitation of Copyrights and Related Rights). The matter can also be referred to the Federal Administrative Court or the Federal Supreme Court.

16.3119 Motion, Federal Council, Corrado Pardini
Open hardware, open software, open source, open data

16.1056 – Enquiry, Federal Council, Balthasar Glättli
Revision of the copyright law. Results of the consultation procedure and preparation of a draft law

15.4211 – Interpellation by National Council Beat Jans
URG. Round off modernisation with contractual freedom?

15.3876 – Interpellation by Council of States Hans Stöckli
Royalties for film authors and actors for video-on-demand usages

15.3849 – Postulate by National Council  Hans Stöckli
Greater flexibility in collective copyright administration

15.3710 – Postulate by National Council Beat Flach
Storage media. Blank media levy transparency for consumers (text not available in English)

15.3397 – Postulate, Federal Council, Olivier Feller
Resale of event tickets at inflated prices. Sanctions

15.1096 – Question NR Viola Amherd
Calculation basis for SUISA fees 

14.4150 – Postulate by Council of States Peter Bieri
Revision of Federal Copyright Law - Introduction of a lending right
Peter Bieri, Member of the Council of States, has asked the Federal Council to indicate how a provision for the remuneration of analog and digital lending rights could be incorporated into the Law and the conditions which would have to be satisfied in order to secure the legal basis for the remuneration of such lending rights in the upcoming revision of the Copyright Law. The Federal Council and the Council of States have accepted the postulate.

In its reply of 11.2.2015, the Federal Council proposed that the postulate be approved. The Council of States approved the proposal on 19.03.2018.
The postulate was withdrawn on 14.12.2018 in connection with the Copyright Act consultation.
Comment: SWISSCOPYRIGHT supports the introduction of a lending right in Switzerland.

14.3293 – Motion by the Committee for Economic Affairs and Taxation
Blank data storage devices
The Federal Council has been commissioned to  provide alternatives to the current system. Since the aim is not to reduce  artists' remuneration, the search for alternatives will be conducted within  a clear framework. Swisscopyright is closely following the discussion regarding the optimisation of the model.
In its reply of 6.6.2014, the Federal Council proposed that the motion be approved. The National Council and the Council of States approved the motion on 12.06.2014 and 26.11.2014 respectively.

The motion was withdrawn on 14.12.2018 in connection with the Copyright Act consultation.
Comment: SWISSCOPYRIGHT is open to alternatives to the current system, provided that – as demanded by the Commission – the royalties paid to rights holders are not diminished. The possibility of cloud compensation should certainly also be considered in the deliberations.

14.3204 – Interpellation by Council of States Felix Gutzwiller
Agur 12 consensus. Further action

13.404 – Parliamentary Initiative by National Council Christian Wasserfallen
End unfair levies on blank data storage devices

13.3561 – Interpellation by National Council Filippo Leutenegger
Transparency in the copyright royalty process


12.4202 - Interpellation by Council of States Hans Stöckli

Swisscom. Dealing with content protected by copyright

12.3902 – Interpellation by National Council Kurt Fluri
Switzerland as a hotbed of illegal services on the internet

12.3834 – Motion by National Council Oskar Freysinger
Protection of copyright

12.3092 – Interpellation by National Council Christoph Mörgeli
Collective copyright management

10.3612 – Motion by National Council Gerhard Pfister
Lower tariffs for schools and educational institutions. Amendments to copyright law

10.3263 – Postulate by Council of States, Géraldine Savary

Does Switzerland need a law against illegal music downloads?

09.1169 – Enquiry by National Council Ruedi Noser

SUISA record turnover for 2008.

09.522 – Parliamentary Initiativeby National Council Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer
Excessive salary payments at collecting societies.  Amendments to copyright law

Christian Samuel Weber

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