Why does my company have to apply for authorisation to perform my work(s)?

The author who is a member of the SSA and the company (often an association) are two different legal entities. One grants the authorisation, the other obtains it.

The use of the work must therefore be regulated according to the usual procedure: Application for authorisation sent to the SSA and conclusion of the performance contract. The formalities are simple: request and reply by e-mail; in addition, the SSA can sign the performance contract on behalf of its members.

This approach has its reasons:

  • The SSA ensures that all authors who have contributed to the work are informed of its exploitation and agree on the terms and conditions. The reason for this is that an external rights holder may have claims to the work and must subsequently be consulted (composition of stage music, pre-existing works, etc.).
  • In this way, the SSA can ensure processing: from the declaration of income by the organisation responsible paying royalties, to invoicing, and finally, to the payment of royalties to the author(s).
  • By statute, members of the SSA must issue their authorisation via our cooperative.
  • In the case of tours, the contracts with the touring venue generally include a clause guaranteeing that the producing company has the right to perform the work. It is therefore in the producer’s interest to be able to prove this.

All of the above provides legal certainty for both the author(s) and the company, who thus have a formal authorisation. This prevents disputes that could suddenly arise between the author(s) and the company. Unfortunately, our legal department has been confronted with this type of issue on a regular basis. If nothing has been settled in writing, such situations become all the thornier.

Find our recommendations on how to regulate relations with your own association here: https://ssa.ch/en/documents/guidelines-for-authors/ (cf. “Legal questions”, documents are in French).

P.S. Applications for authorisation must always specify the period and area(s) for which the license is requested.