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Belgium/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

Authors' rights systems

The Minister of the Economy is responsible for copyright legislation. The Belgian Copyright Act was passed in 1994 and covers copyright, secondary rights, copying for own use, borrowing and lending rights.

The protection of the Copyright Act is reserved for work which expresses a clear idea in a particular material form determined by the author, with an adequately original character. The copyright protects the work and the relationship between the artist and his work. The Act also makes a distinction between the author's moral and property rights. The Act should be adapted to European Directive 2001/29/EG but is delayed due to discussions concerning educational and cultural use of protected work. 

Blank tape levies

The Copyright Act makes a distinction between copying audio and audio-visual works for home use on the one hand and copying of graphic works on the other hand. The payment for copying audio and audio-visual works for home use should be paid by the manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or carrier (audio cassettes, video cassettes, etc. or reproduction equipment such as video equipment, recorders etc.). The amount of the payment is determined by Royal Decree. The distribution of the payment is made at a rate of 1/3 for each of the following: authors, the performing artists, and the producers.

For graphic works, fees are collected from the manufacturer, importer or wholesaler of reproduction equipment as well as the person making copies. This payment can also be made by the people or institutions that make reproduction equipment available. The level and control of payments, collection and distribution are arranged by Royal Decree. Half of the payment is made to the authors, the other half to the publishers.

Public lending rights

The new Copyright Act recognises the right of the author to payment for the lending or loaning of his / her work with an educational or cultural aim. This payment is determined by Royal Decree (25 April 2004).

Adequate compensation

Since October 1999 public rendition of recorded music includes an "adequate compensation" for the benefit of musicians and producers. The rates were determined after extensive consultation with users, where a separate arrangement was provided for the socio-cultural sector.

Chapter published: 02-12-2014

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