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.
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.
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 .
A PlayRight+ grant for actors
PlayRight + offers a grant to independent filmmakers who, as part of their short film project, give a fair remuneration to their actors.
To apply for support as a filmmaker, you need to:
- Hire an actor through an official employment contract, or an invoice if the actor is self-employed. The salary scales to be respected are relative to the Parity Convention 227.
- Submit a full application to PlayRight+ by the deadline.
How to apply?
Write a cover letter in which you explain your short film project, joining the following documents:
- A copy of the scenario
- A summary of your budget for the short film
- A copy of the work contract proposed to the actor (or to the actor who performs the dubbing)
- The curriculum vitae of the actor for which you are applying
- An overview of the entire cast
Send these documents by email to the following address:
When should I submit an application?
- You can submit your application by March 31st or by September 30th.
- Your request will be processed within 60 days.
What kind of support are we talking about?
- In case of a positive evaluation of your application, PlayRight+ will support 50% of one actor’s wages for your short film project.
- Only one grant can be awarded per film project.
- You can apply once for this actor’s grant.
- Only fictional projects are accepted (not documentaries).
DEADLINES: declare your repertoire before the 31st of of December 2018
Each year, PlayRight sets a deadline to declare your repertoire and allow us to identify your performances both on Belgian playlists and abroad. The collection, management and distribution of your rights are therefore based on your declared repertoire.
PlayRight wishes to inform you that you have until the 31st of December 2018 to declare your repertoire:
- For music recordings to which you participated and that were broadcast or exploited in 2015,
- For audiovisual recordings to which you participated and that were broadcast or exploited in 2011 & 2011.
HOW IT WORKS?
Prior to these final distributions that will take place next year, this calculation will be based only on declarations made up to the 31st of December 2018. Any declarations made after this date will not be taken into account, meaning that they will not generate rights for this reference year.
It doesn’t mean, however, that your repertoire will not generate rights for the open reference years, but simply that it will be too late to generate rights for the reference years to be distributed next year (Audiovisual : 2011 & 2012, Music : 2015). Therefore, make sure your repertoire is up to date!
Forgot your password? In the homepage of your portal, enter your email address and click on I forgot my password. You will shortly receive an email inviting you to create a new password.
“Participation to declare”?
Once logged in your PlayRight portal, you might notice in the left column if you have some participations to declare. Please note that the deadline is also applicable to those contributions. As long as you have not declared them, they can’t be considered and will not generate rights.
- Please take into account that PlayRight will be closed during the Holidays as from 21/12/2018 until 01/01/2019. Therefore, your Account Manager will not be available during this period,
- We recommend to declare your repertoire as quickly as possible. You can find on our homepage the distribution calendar & summary of all deadlines,
- Declare your music contributions in a few clicks thanks to the PlayList menu,
- A complete list of the declarations, made by either yourself or your representative, is available to you via the PlayRight portal.
OFFICES CLOSED THIS Wednesday, August 15
Our offices are closed today. The PlayRight team will be back on Thursday.
PlayRight has more than 14.000 affiliated artists
Become the next one? It’s over here
PLAYRIGHT DISTRIBUTES OVER 300.000€ IN NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS FROM ABROAD
Today PlayRight has distributed international neighbouring rights for music and audiovisual recordings among its affiliated artists.
What are international rights?
Any artists who affiliates himself with PlayRight, has the option to grant a worldwide mandate in his contract. Based on agreements with our sister societies abroad, we collect information on how the repertoire of our artists is used in over 40 countries. This allows us to claim your rights abroad accordingly.
Neighbouring rights coming from abroad are calculated according to the rules of the local collecting society. PlayRight does check the quality of their data in detail and handles the payment of all calculated rights once received.
What is this distribution based on?
A distributions of international rights can contain several reference years, for music and/or audio-visual recordings. This particular distribution of international rights handles following territories and reference years:
PlayRight takes a 5% fee from the amount of international rights collected after 1 December 2016, as do collection societies abroad.
In February 2018 PlayRight has already distributed 403.000€ of international rights.
Contact your account manager or send an email to . You can also consult the frequently asked questions here:
- IN WHICH COUNTRIES IS PLAYRIGHT ENTITLED TO COLLECT NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS ON BEHALF OF ITS MEMBERS?
- WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY REPERTOIRE HAS BEEN BROADCAST ABROAD?
- HOW ARE THESE INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS CLAIMED AND DISTRIBUTED?
- WHEN WILL MY REPERTOIRE GENERATE RIGHTS ABROAD?
- HOW TO ADJUST MY AFFILIATION CONTRACT?
- WHAT IS A “CONFLICT” CAUSED BY THE AFFILIATION TO SEVERAL SISTER SOCIETIES?
- WHAT ABOUT ANY FOREIGN RECORDINGS I WAS INVOLVED IN?
- AND WHAT ABOUT MY TAX SITUATION IF I HAPPEN TO LIVE ABROAD?
On your marks… start declaring: the 2017 PlayList is online
In order to calculate your rights in Belgium for music recordings, PlayRight uses two distribution parameters; playlists of Belgian radios for open reference years and Ultratop sales lists. These playlists are now available through your online portal, listed by reference year. Learn more about the PlayList menu
Deadline for your declarations: 31st of December 2018
You have until the 31/12/2018 to :
- declare your audiovisual recordings for the reference years 2011 & 2012,
- and to declare your music recordings of the reference year 2015.
IMPORTANT: Regardless of the recording year (if it does not exceed 70 years), be aware that a performance may continue to generate rights even after its first year of broadcast. On the other hand, declaring your entire repertoire also allows us to collect your rights abroad.
On your marks…
You are now set to declare your contributions in a few clicks, from playlists that PlayRight uses as a distribution parameter in the Belgium territory. To do such, log in to your online portal and click on the PlayList menu. Finally, please note that this tool is specific to music recordings.
PlayRight closes the distribution of music rights for 2014 at 7.2 million euros
PlayRight has just distributed all neighbouring rights for music recordings that were broadcast in Belgium in 2014. This distribution represents a total amount of 7.2 MILLION EUROS and permanently closes the distribution of the neighbouring rights for this reference year.
Music 2014 – Please note that this is the final, and therefore permanent, distribution of rights for this reference year.
A first distribution for these rights was realized in 2015 for this reference year (1.5 million euros). For this last distribution, your rights were calculated based on the repertoire that you declared before December 31th 2017, deadline to declare your recordings for this reference year.
WHERE DO MY RIGHTS COME FROM?
The rights distributed come from the private copying, the lending rights and the equitable remuneration.
HOW ARE MY RIGHTS CALCULATED?
To calculate your rights on the Belgian territory for music recordings, PlayRight matches the repertoires of the music recordings declared with :
- the playlists of radio stations and audience ratings
- and the Ultratop sales figures.
The performers (or their representatives) have six months after this payment to inform us with any objections to this distribution. Do not hesitate to contact your account manager.