The growing number of tariffs reflects the different ways of enjoying works

As a general rule, authors are entitled to market their books, directors their films and composers their compositions themselves. However, in the case of mass utilisations such as cable television, a copy of a piece of music on a blank DVD or a photocopy in a company, marketing by means of individual contracts is impossible. The legislators have therefore made provision for collective management in these areas and entrusted the collective rights management organisations with the task of representing authors and other rightholders. The collective rights management organisations ensure them fair remuneration for the utilisation of their works.

This remuneration is negotiated with the users’ associations and determined in general and binding manner for the individual utilisations by means of tariffs for all involved. A significant proportion of the users of authors' rights join together in the users' associations such as DUN (the umbrella organisation of users of authors' and neighbouring rights). If the utilisations to be governed by a tariff directly affect the end consumer, the consumer protection associations are also welcome to participate in the negotiations.

The tariffs are subject to scrutiny by the Federal Arbitration Board for the remuneration of authors’ rights and neighbouring rights, a judicial council composed of equal numbers of representatives from the users’ side and the collective rights management organisations together with independent experts.

Specifically, the Federal Arbitration Board investigates the fairness of the tariffs and also obtains the opinion of the Office of Price Control for this purpose. Federal Arbitration Board decisions on the approval of tariffs may be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court and thereafter to the Federal Supreme Court. The area of voluntary collective management is outside the scope of Federal Arbitration Board scrutiny. This involves utilisation forms for which the law provides for individual management by the individual author or rightholder but the collective rights management model is advantageous.

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The major user associations :

Adrian Frutiger

"If it weren't for SUISA, I wouldn't be able to do what I love doing. Producers do not generally pay much for the music. So rights management accounts for a large portion of my income."