19Sep

Audiovisual works 2014-2015: PlayRight distributes 752.000€ of neighbouring rights

PlayRight has distributed more than 752.000 euros of rights for audiovisual recordings broadcast in Belgium in 2014 and 2015. This is a first distribution, there is still time to declare your repertoire for these reference years.

This distribution is based on your declared repertoire as registered in our database. If you still have recordings to declare for this period, you have until the 31st of December 2020 to do so.

How were these rights distributed?

An amount of rights is allocated for each audiovisual work, according to its duration and audience rate. The overall amount allocated to the work is then distributed among the performers.

The presence of music in an audiovisual work also generates rights. For this distribution, a list of the television channels to be taken into consideration and the minimum audience rate to be reached by each audiovisual program in order to be taken into account, were fixed by the Board, in accordance with our general regulations.

Based on these parameters, the programs for which we have made a first distribution come from the following TV channels:

In order to guarantee a retroactivity of 3 years (from the date of the first payment), PlayRight has created a virtual casting system for each work that is broadcast. This allows us to freeze the rights of potential artists who have not yet declared their performances.

Unlike musical works, only two remunerations are at the origin of your rights as an actor and / or as a musician whose musical performances are used in audiovisual works:

The distributions that PlayRight has just realised come from the private copying and lending rights. The total amount for this distribution is 752.000€, the remaining rights will be closed and distributed to the artists in 2021.

If you have specific questions about this distribution, do not hesitate to contact your Account Manager (his details appear in the left pane, once connected to your online portal).

Next distribution: music rights for the reference year 2017.

11Sep

A neighbouring right for streaming?

On Monday 10th of September, the European Parliament will resume its activities. One of the points on its agenda during the first week is the much-debated Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. What can be expected?

Before a directive can be considered as European law, it needs the approval of all the European institutions: the Commission, the Council and the Parliament. Only when all three have taken a clear stand the so-called ‘trilogues’ can be initiated. The proposal itself came from the Commission, therefore we have known their position since September 2016. The Council has come to an agreement at the end of May 2018. Which only left the Parliament.

Within the Parliament the proposal was discussed in several ‘working groups’, each with their particular specialisation. It was the committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) that presented a compromise proposal to the plenary Parliament, asking for approval to start negotiations with the Council and the Commission.

This approval, however, was denied. The German Axel Voss, responsible for the preparation of the compromise proposal, did not obtain a majority from the Parliament and was sent into summer recess with some serious homework.

The Parliament mostly rejected the compromise proposal because they feared it would limit freedom on the internet, a concern instilled in many members of Parliament by the lobby of several tech giants. However, the compromise went far beyond that and also contains several articles impacting directly performers (both musicians and actors) and more specifically their position within the ever expanding online market of video-on-demand and music streaming. In this respect, the compromise was an improvement on the Commission’s proposal. Even if it did not guarantee the level of protection we hoped for as yet, it makes a fine base for a better protection on the internet and was as such supported by PlayRight, its sister collecting societies within in Europe, as well as the European federations and guilds of musicians and actors. Even if they do not guarantee the level of protection we hoped for as yet, they make a fine base for a better protection on the internet.

During the summer, Axel Voss has continued his work on a compromise text, which he submitted to the Parliament on the 5th of September. Together with our European partners we managed to avoid that further adjustments to the articles that directly concern the future of our musicians and actors. Tomorrow the Parliament will get a second chance to approve this compromise and we hope – together with all of you – that it will take that chance.

3Sep

JOHAN HOOGEWIJS, SCREEN COMPOSER & MUSICIAN ON DEMAND

The term ‘performing artists’ is a very large umbrella, it does not stop at session musicians or  screen actors. Who are the members of PlayRight? Johan Hoogewijs is as a screen composer. His assignments allow him to alternate all kinds of projects and as he often records his compositions himself he is entitled to neighbouring rights. How did this come about?

Most of my works are film and TV assignments, theatre and dance not as much. After six or seven years of making jingles for radio icon Jan Hautekiet at Studio Brussel, I started composing for fiction series, such as Langs de kade, Niet voor publicatie, Heterdaad… In the Netherlands I was worked on a number of series, but also on seven films, such as Bloedbroeders (Blood Brothers) by Arno Dierickx (2008) and Het leven uit een dag by Mark De Cloe (2008). The tax shelter introduced me to a number of foreign productions, such as Heute bin ich blond (The Girl with Nine Wigs) by Marc Rothemund in Germany (2013) and recently Le collier rouge (The Red Collar) by Jean Becker in France (2018).

What does a screen composer and musician do?

Anyone can ask for my services. I hardly ever compose without a specific purpose in mind, I like to sail where my assignments take me. The result can vary tremendously, from piano or synthesizer to more classical repertoire. I am not marked by a clear signature, like Wim Mertens for instance, but that‘s to my advantage: I can handle all kinds of palettes. The result is always new music, created in consultation with the director and the producer.

How do directors find you?

A director does not always get to choose his team himself. Often, they put up a fight with the producer for a cameraman or an editor, but as far as the likes of composers or set builders go…

In that respect the tax shelter is both a curse and a blessing. Sometimes a co-production is left with some budget, but specifically for people of a certain nationality.  This can either work for you or against you. There are even specialized firms these days, whose only job it is to collect tax shelter funding. Then they go on the lookout for composers, through studios or the recently founded Belgian Screen Composers Guild.

Competitions are common place as well these days. There are houses who will pay you a small amount for a demo, but often this means working without any guarantee of getting paid. If you compete with a hundred other people for new children’s television song you can hardly expect that everyone will get paid. But meanwhile this means investing time on your side, whereas bidders get to reduce the risk of not finding a song they like to almost nothing.

When did you first hear about neighbouring rights as a possible source of income?

Somewhere in the mid-nineties Microcam suggested I become a member. Later this organization merged with Uradex, which was then transformed into PlayRight. Toots Thielemans had already told me he got money every now and again off commercials he had once recorded in Sweden. So I was already aware I could claim neighbouring rights, since I recorded my own music.

For quite some years now PlayRight has handled my files. Compared to music the audio-visual sector always drops somewhat behind and not all countries collect for both. As I gather collecting reliable information is more complex as well. But I know you are working on that and the people at PlayRight make a tremendous effort. Better yet, I can see it as the amounts I am paid rise every year.

There is a genuinely personalised approach. That is why I try to motivate others to join as well. I can’t stand those musicians who scoff at ‘another five euro from PlayRight’. PlayRight and SABAM could have come a lot further by now if their artists where really behind them.

Can you live off your music?

I have been very lucky. The jobs I have done have always come to me with little effort on my side. The phone has just kept ringing at the right moments. I thoroughly enjoyed doing Witse and at the same time it was really successful as a series, with quite some reruns. This financial security has allowed me to take on less obvious projects as well. In this way I have been living off nothing but my music, for thirty years now.

Things come less easy to the new generation. This holds for session musicians and song writers as well. What they get online from Spotify and the likes is peanuts, when compared to what artists used to make.

Do streaming services have an impact on your life in any way?

You have to go through production companies to get to them. You need a network for that, contacts in the right places and preferably representation. Someone at Milan Records, a renowned film music record label, is checking out new opportunities for me on the French market after Le collier rouge.

None of my existing series have been picked up by streaming services either. Of course most of them were VRT productions. They never put much effort into selling their series elsewhere. These days series like Tabula Rasa are made outside the TV network, by external production companies. That’s a different story.

What project would you like to add to your track record someday?

My own ambitions are not so high that I dream of ending up in Hollywood. Nor would that system become me. But I’m always in for a good art-house film, or a well-made Scandinavian series. Or a grand costume piece, in which I can go quite large. With music that matters, and a theme that has a career apart from the film. That would be something. An old idea of mine for a live project, with four jazz musicians and images by Hans Op de Beeck, has just popped back up as well.

1Sep

Is the Belgian National Employment Office targeting performing artists?

As a performing artist chances are very high you will need to call on unemployment benefits at some point in your career. In order to gain access to these benefits the National Employment Office (NEO) does not take into account the rights you obtained, but once you are registered those revenues ARE taken into account. Or rather discount.

You don’t build up social rights from revenues relating to rights and there are arguments to support this. After all, no social contributions are due on income from assets either. Using them to skim down social rights accumulated elsewhere, however, is utter nonsense.

And yet, it is allowed. Based on the renewed article 130 of the royal decree of 25 November 1991 the NEO has been allowed for several years now to use the income from rights as a starting-point for a recalculation of benefits. An opportunity it makes use of more and more, but not always in a correct way. Some samples:

An actress has a hiatus after twenty years on the job and registers as a job seeker for the first time. The neighbouring rights which she has been paid (and which she has declared) during the months prior to her unemployment are (understandably) not taken into account in order to determine whether she has a right to unemployment benefits. Based on her salary she is granted an allowance. Nevertheless, her entire benefit for the months of September through December are reclaimed the following year, because the NEO considered she had received too many rights in the year she was registered as a job seeker.

A musician fills out the form C1-Artist, declaring he estimates he will touch about 350 Euro in rights the following year. As it turns out he receives 2500 Euro in rights and is sanctioned for fraud. The 2500 Euro are used to calculate a deduction of his benefit. Even though this amount is still far below the threshold of what you are allowed to receive in rights based on the article 130.

….

PlayRight remains an advocate of the full recognition, without any exceptions or limitations, of the movable nature of income from copyrights and neighbouring rights, as do the tax authorities in Belgium. There is no room for copyrights and neighbouring rights in art.130 and they should be treated by the Belgian NEO in the same way they treat any other movable income: not at all!

Aiming for a constructive debate with the payout institutions, the NEO and the competent Minister, PlayRight asks its affiliated artists to report any decisions by the NEO in which rights – paid by PlayRight or other parties – have induced a deduction or even withdrawal of unemployment benefits.

Send a copy of the decision by the National Employment Office by mail to .