Authors’ rights systems
The Minister of the Economy is responsible for copyright legislation, a branch of intellectual property, and the monitoring of collective management companies that see to the management, collection and distribution of copyright and related rights. The Belgian Copyright Act was passed in 1994 and covers copyright and related rights, resale rights, copying for own use, borrowing and lending rights. The Act has been adapted to several European Directives.
The protection of the Copyright Act is reserved for work which expresses a clear idea in a particular material form determined by the author of literary and artistic works, 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 an author’s moral and property rights.
Related rights protect performances by holders of related rights. These may be performers (singers, musicians, actors, etc.), producers of sound works or first film recordings, radio/television organisations and databank producers.
Resale right is a compensation for authors of original graphic, visual and photographic works in case their works are resold through an art market professional. Since July 2015, a digital platform for the declarations of resale rights is active.
The Copyright Act makes a distinction between copying audio and audio-visual works for private use on the one hand and copying of graphic or literary 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 (USB-stick, external hard drive etc. or reproduction equipment such as a DVD-recorder, tablet 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, performing artists, and producers.
For reprography, rules have changed in 2017 by Royal Decree. Before, fees were collected from the manufacturer, importer or wholesaler of reproduction equipment as well as the person making copies or the people or institutions that make reproduction equipment available. Due to this new regulation, only operators have to pay. Payments are distributed to the authors and 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, in a public library. This payment is determined by Royal Decree. Declaration and distribution is the mission of a collective management organisation.
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.