Analysis of the New Belgian Copyright Act
In the course of 2014, the Belgian Copyright Act will be integrated into the new "Code of Economic Law." It is the intention of the Belgian lawmakers to bring all federal economic legislation, including copyright but excluding trademark law (which is covered by the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property) into one single code, so as to increase transparency.
The new "chapter" on copyright law was adopted as a draft law by the Belgian federal government in July 2013, but still needs to pass a vote by the federal parliament. In September 2013, the “Council for Intellectual Property”, an advisory committee, rendered an opinion on the draft text in which it criticized various aspects of the government bill.
The new text will mainly integrate the old articles of the Copyright Act in the new Code on Economic Law. Yet the text also presents a number of substantial changes to Belgian copyright law. These are primarily intended to make the collective management of copyrights more transparent. The changes will for instance bring a greater control on collective management companies through the establishment of a new “Regulator for Intellectual Property”; the obligation for collective management companies to publish more information on their pricing, collection and distribution practices; the introduction of a one-stop shop for the collection and payment of various rights (incl. copyright and related rights); and so on.
It remains to be seen how the parliament will convert the government bill in a binding legal text (and whether this can happen before the elections of May 2014). In each case, we will keep you informed of any further developments regarding this topic.
Author: Bart Van Besien
Attorney – Lawyer – Brussels – Belgium – European Union (E.U.)
Specialisation in intellectual property law (copyright, trademarks, patents, domain names, etc.) and media law.
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