What is Auvibel?
Auvibel is the copyright management organisation that collects and redistributes the private copying remuneration in Belgium to the rights holders (in the cultural and creative field).
We make copies for ourselves of things we love every single day, often without even realising it. Many devices we use every day offer us the ability to make copies and give us access to our personal dose of culture and creativity at any time: from your favourite e-book or film, listening to your favourite song, reading interesting magazine articles or enjoying your favourite artwork.
What is the private copying remuneration?
Legal framework: exception to the exclusive right
To copy those works, you would normally always need the permission of the creator or rights holder. In fact, they possess the exclusive right to copy or allow a copy of their creations in any way or form whatsoever (Book XI “Intellectual Property” of the Economic Code).
However, there is one important exception to that exclusive right, namely the one for private copying.
In accordance with the legal provisions, where the work has been lawfully disclosed, “the reproduction of works, with the exception of sheet music, made by a natural person for private use and for purposes that are not directly or indirectly commercial” cannot be prohibited. As a result, the right holders cannot legally oppose the copying of their works and performances done exclusively for private use.
In return for this exception, the right holders, i.e. authors, performing artists, producers and publishers (on the basis of their sui generis right) receive compensation, an equitable remuneration “for the private copying of their works and performances”. This is known as “remuneration for private copying”.
Both European and Belgian legislation and case law are clear: rights holders must receive fair compensation for the loss they have suffered. This is an obligation of result on the part of the State.
In Belgium, in 1994, the legislator opted for a forfetary remuneration system and instructed the federal government to set the terms and conditions. In accordance with the law, a Royal Decree lay down the conditions for collecting, distributing and monitoring this remuneration; the Royal Decree of 18 October 2013 on the right to remuneration for private copying.
So the private copying exception serves an important double purpose. It gives you, as a consumer, the freedom to make copies for your own use of all your favourite content (*that you have legally obtained), as well as ensuring at the same time that the rights holders receive a compensation with the private copying remuneration.
What does Auvibel do?
But what role does Auvibel play? Auvibel is the central link between private copying and remuneration, between consumer, liable party/ies and rightholder(s), between creating and copying, inspiration and experience.
Auvibel is the copyright management organisation appointed by the King – Royal Decree of 21 January 1997 – to collect and distribute the remuneration for private copying for the benefit of authors, performing artists and producers, and the remuneration for the private reproduction of their publications, for the benefit of publishers.
Royal Decree: devices, media and tariffs
The list of devices and media subjected to remuneration, and the tariffs applicable to them, are set by royal decree, in application of the law. So Auvibel does not set the tariffs itself! As a management organisation, Auvibel ensures the collection and distribution between its members, as part of its legal mission.
The tariffs and the list of products subject to remuneration are set by the competent Minister after consulting the Consultative Commission of interested parties for private copying. More information about this Commission can be found further down this page.
Since 1 April 2022, a new list of devices, media and tariffs adapted to the new technological reality has been published in the Royal Decree of 18 February 2022.
As a management company, our mission is clear. Auvibel’s mission is to collect the legal private copying remuneration from the liable parties, and then distribute it to the final rights holders through our member management companies. As a central link, Auvibel plays a crucial role in supporting the creative and cultural sectors in Belgium. Auvibel thus forms the bridge between private copying and remuneration, between private use and cultural sector, between consumers, liable parties and rightholder(s), between (re)creation and copying.
As part of our mission, we at Auvibel also continuously monitor developments in the technological field and the actual copying behaviour of Belgian consumers to ensure a correct collection and distribution.
The private copying renumeration applies to …
- devices which allow copying for personal use (e.g. computers, tablets, smartphones, digicorders)
- media on which protected works can be copied (e.g. USB sticks, memory cards).
The liable parties declare to Auvibel the products subject to remuneration as soon as they are put into circulation on Belgian territory.
Who pays the private copying renumeration?
The private copying remuneration is primarily paid by the liable parties; the manufacturers, importers or intra-EU purchasers of the devices or media that allow you to make private copies, e.g. a smartphone, hard disk, e-reader, etc. (full list can be found here). Online shops and retailers offering such devices and media for sale in Belgium are also obliged to pay the private copying remuneration.
The remuneration is then charged to the end user/consumer along with the relevant products. The private copying remuneration, which represents a small percentage of the total selling price of the relevant product, is therefore part of the total cost of the device or media.
The private copying remuneration for smartphones is set at 4 EUR. Based on the average cost of a smartphone (data by GfK), the remuneration paid by the consumer for copying the works for private use represents only 0.77% of the total cost of your product.
How is the remuneration distributed?
After its collection, Auvibel ensures that the remuneration is distributed efficiently and quickly to its 20 member management companies, who are representing the authors, producers, performing artists and publishers. The member management organisations then pass on the private copying remuneration received from Auvibel to their members.
In other words, through its 20 member companies, Auvibel represents thousands of authors, screenwriters, directors, journalists, performing artists, music and film producers, musicians, actors, photographers and publishers of books, newspapers, magazines, etc. Thanks to the private copy remuneration, they receive compensation for the private use of their works through Auvibel. So they can continue to create, and you can continue to enjoy all that, right at your fingertips. Auvibel thus plays an important role in supporting the Belgian cultural and creative sectors.
Read more about the distribution here.
How are tariffs and the list of relevant products set?
The Federal Public Service, which has copyright as one of its remits, has set up a Commission for the consultation of interested parties. The role of the Consultative Commission on the private copying of works and performances is to give advice on various aspects of the private copying remuneration. The aspects concern the status of the relevant media and devices, the payment amount, the methods for collecting the remuneration and the procedures for its control and reimbursement.
This consultative commission is comprised of:
- a chairman, representing the minister responsible for copyright;
- individuals designated by Auvibel;
- representatives of remuneration payers (liable parties);
- representatives of the distributors (wholesale and retail) of media or devices;
- individuals appointed by organisations representing consumers.
Public lending right, education and scientific research.
Auvibel has given Reprobel an exclusive mandate to collect certain remunerations relating to the works of authors, performing artists and producers of audio and audiovisual works. More specifically, it concerns the collections relating to public lending rights and remunerations for the use of works, databases and services for illustration in education or scientific research.