News Release 01 February 2010

Further to publication of the Royal Decree dated 17 December 2010 [sic] we have received a number of reactions. The wording of the texts below is designed to avoid errors and confusion contained in the information made to the public.

Royal Decree of 17 December 2009 (Publication in the Belgian Monitor dated 23 December 2009) 
New tariffs will apply from 1 February 2010. In practical terms this means that these tariffs apply, in relation to retailers, to all purchases as from 1 February 2010 and for wholesalers to all sales carried out as from this same date.

(Tariffs are set out per appliance and before tax)


Products

Range capacity

Tariff per appliance

Memory board and USB keys

From 0 to 2 GB

0.15€

From more than 2GB to 16GB

0.50€

More than 16 GB

1.35€

Products

Range of capacity

Tariffs per appliance

 MP3, MP4 player, GSM with MP3 function and/or MP4

From 0 to 2 GB

1.00€

From more than 2 GB to 16 GB

2.50€

More than 16 GB

3.00€

Products

Range of capacity

Tariff per appliance

External hard disc

From 0 to 256 GB

1.30€

From more than 256 GB to 1 TB

6.75€

More than 1 TB

9.00€

Products

Range of capacity

Tariff per appliance

Home apparatus with integrated support

From 0 to 256 GB

3.30€

From 256 GB to 1 TB

10.75€

More than 1 TB

13.00€

Products

Tariff per appliance

CDR data

0.12 €

CDR Audio

0.12 €

Minidisc

0.12 €

DAT audio cassette 

0.12 €

Analog audio cassette

0.12 €

Analog video cassette

0.40 €

DVD

0.40 €

Recorder apparatus, integrated or not, without integrated support.

2.00 €

Text of royal decree click here

We would draw your attention to the fact that certain provisions included in the statute dated 10 December 2009 modifying, in relation to the regulations governing and controlling copyright management companies, the Act of 30 June 1994 concerning copyright and ancillary rights, relate directly to the management of private copying remuneration. The relevant articles are 3, 4 and 5 of the said statute of 10 December 2009 (Published in the Belgian Monitor on 23 December 2009).

For text of the statute click here

A small clarification regarding the Auvibel levy and foreign webshops

Auvibel imposes a ban?

The rumour is currently going around that Auvibel has imposed a ban on foreign webshops selling blank media (CD’s, DVD’s, etc) to Belgian end users.

This is totally untrue!

Insofar as is necessary, Auvibel wants to emphasise that it is not at all the intention to prevent or restrict the offer and sale of DVD-R’s and CD-R’s in Belgium through foreign webshops.

The aim of the cessation claims of Auvibel is only to get such sales to respect copyright laws.

This means that foreign webshops that offer media for sale on their websites must mention the levy for private copying for end users located in Belgium, and must actually charge this remuneration for media sales to end users located in Belgium, declare it promptly to Auvibel, and pay it to Auvibel.

Instead of blocking these activities, Auvibel has an objective interest in these sales continuing, but accompanied with the necessary and compulsory declarations.

Must I pay the remuneration for all media, even if I use them for my own videos?

Yes. The law has deliberately chosen (and also for practical reasons) to attach the right to a levy to all media that can be used for the reproduction of audio and audiovisual works, even in the specific case relating to this question, if the media are used for copying personal documents or works that are not protected by copyright.

The government justified this in the following way: "the application of the fixed fee technique means that the requested levy applies to everybody, and thus also to consumers who do not make illicit recordings (this is the case for example when videocassettes are only used for recording a family party). The fixed remuneration technique nevertheless seems to be the only practical possibility " (Gedr. St. Kamer, Report, 473/33-91/92, p. 266.)

Free flow of goods in Europe?

The application of the levy for private copying in Belgium does not breach article 28 of the EC Treaty, which deals with equal treatment measures and quantitative restrictions.

In a case similar to one of levy (1), on 2 February 2004 the Council of State judged in judgement No. 127.673 that:

  • It has not been demonstrated that the disputed levy (2) is considerably higher than the fees in other member states. 
  • The remuneration applies to all goods placed on the market in Belgium, imported or otherwise, and it thus has the same de jure and de facto effect on the trade of national products and on the trade of products from other member states. 
  • The levy can thus hardly be considered as a measure that impedes trade between member states, whether or not directly, actually or potentially, according to the terms of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Community.

(1) This case concerned the reprography levy charged by Reprobel, but the levy for provate copying charged by Auvibel is based on the same law. 
(2) In this case the levy for reprography.

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