“Cable rights” for performers, what is the current situation?

December 3 2019

Since 2015, actors and musicians are entitled to a remuneration for cable retransmission. Since the adoption of a new law in November 2018, however, they are also entitled to a remuneration in the case of direct injection. One year later, what’s the story with these “cable rights” and when will they finally be paid to the performing artists?

Distribution by cable or through the direct injection, the law has finally answered the demand for remuneration of performing artists whose works are distributed via these channels. Nevertheless, PlayRight has not yet been able to collect any remuneration out of this. The reason? Negotiations with cable distributors are still ongoing. 

“Cable rights”, “direct injection”?

The Belgian law on neighbouring rights gives performers and authors their own right to remuneration for cable transmission, the way in which their works reach your living room. Before the law of 25 november 2018 (in force since July 1st, 2019), some cable distributors claimed that in some cases they did not perform an act of cable-retransmission, but merely helped broadcasters with their broadcast.  For this direct injection, they presumed that they should only pay their provider, the broadcasters. 

The law of November 25th, 2018, put an end to this discussion. Cable-retransmission or direct injection, your works are certainly communicated to an audience and the same rules now apply to the distributors. As a result, actors and musicians are in both cases entitled to a remuneration.

What is the problem for the performing artists?

There is a lot at stake in terms of revenues from neighbouring rights for actors and musicians. This applies in particular to rights arising from audiovisual performances. In fact, the audiovisual rights that PlayRight is currently able to distribute, stem primarily from private copying… which has been falling dramatically in recent years. 

PlayRight’s task is, hence, quite challenging. In order to be able to collect these rights coming from cable retransmission and direct injection, it was necessary to first create a tariff on the basis of objective, measurable criteria that are as representative as possible. PlayRight has started negotiations with all cable distributors in Belgium to explain our approach and discuss with all parties involved.

So? What now?

PlayRight makes every effort to successfully bring these negotiations to an end and to be able to collect and distribute these remunerations as quickly as possible. The talks with the distributors are proceeding quite constructively. A study is currently being conducted into the impact of the use of the repertoire of performing artists. The aim? Finding an agreement so that we can invoice the distributors soon and so that we can finally correctly and equitably compensate the performers’ rights for the retransmission of their works via cable-networks.

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