When a performing artist (musician, actor, dancer, vaudeville or circus artist) takes part in the performance of a work, and if that performance is recorded and then broadcast or copied, the artist in question is entitled to a remuneration/fee. In other words, the artist acquires a neighbouring right at the moment of the performance.
This remuneration is a compensation for the fact that once recorded, the music and audiovisual works you have participated in as a performer can, in certain cases, be exploited without your consent.
The remunerations that are at the origin of your neighbouring rights as a musician in Belgium are the following:
The equitable remuneration,
The remuneration for private copying,
The remuneration for lending rights,
The additional annual remuneration,
The remuneration for education and scientific research,
The remuneration for retransmission, cable retransmission and communication via the direct injection,
The remunerations for online exploitation (on content-sharing platforms and streaming platforms).
1- Equitable remuneration
The equitable remuneration is a financial compensation for a certain use of the recorded music which does not require the authorization of the musicians and producers. On the one hand, broadcasters must pay the equitable remuneration for broadcasting recorded music. On the other hand, shopkeepers, hotels, restaurants, bars and event organisers who broadcast music in a public place must also pay for this legal license.
The collection of the licence is made by Unisono who transfers the equitable remuneration to SIMIM for the share that belongs to the music producers and to PlayRight for the share that belongs to the performers, on an equal basis between the two collecting societies (50 / 50). SIMIM and PlayRight then distribute this equitable remuneration to their affiliated members.
2- The remuneration for private copying
The law authorizes the copy of music and films on devices and media such as CDs, tablets, USB sticks, computers, etc. without the required consent of authors, performers and producers, as long as the copy is made for private purposes.
As a compensation, the rightsholders have a right to remuneration called “remuneration for private copying”. This remuneration is debited when purchasing devices and recordable media (listed in a royal decree). It is collected by Auvibel and then distributed at one third to each one of the collecting societies who represent:
The performers (PlayRight),
3- Remuneration for lending rights
The performers also have a remuneration for lending rights. The principle of this remuneration is the same as the private copying: a performer cannot prevent that libraries lend their recordings, so likewise, these institutions have to pay a remuneration to the rightsholders for lending the recordings they participated in. Once collected, PlayRight handles the distribution of the share that belongs to the performers, for one or several reference years.
The share of the remuneration for the lending rights concerning sound and audiovisual recordings is currently estimated at 16.5%. Auvibel is the company in charge of distributing this share of remunerations collected by Reprobel. Then, Auvibel transfers one third to each one of the collecting societies who represent:
4- The annual additional remuneration
In 2011, the term of protection of neighbouring rights for music recordings was extended from 50 to 70 years. Because of this extension, the producer may continue to exploit the recordings for a longer period, but he must share the income that he acquires during this additional protection period with the musicians. The producer must, therefore, cede 20% of this income to the collecting society that represents the musicians.
In January 2017, PlayRight succeeded to obtain an official mandate to collect and distribute this remuneration. It is valid for recordings made since 1963.
5- The remuneration for education and scientific research
The remuneration for education and scientific research is a unified remuneration that groups the remunerations for the exceptions that educational institutions and scientific research institutions benefit from. As a compensation for these exceptions, a remuneration is due to the authors, publishers, producers and performers. 6- The remuneration for the retransmission, cable retransmission and communication via the direct injection
Belgian law grants a system of mandatory collective management consisting of a non-transferable right to remuneration to performers whose recorded performances are retransmitted on television. This is a right that they cannot renounce. Different modes of exploitation are included in this law: retransmission by cable (since 2015), communication by direct injection (since 2019), and retransmission carried out by any other technical means than the cable (including the internet) (since 2022). Playright collects this remuneration directly from the cable distributors, and then distributes it amongst the performers. 7- The remunerations for online exploitation (on content-sharing platforms and streaming platforms)
In June 2022, a new law was adopted as part of the modernisation of the copyrights and neighbouring rights and the transposition of a European directive. This new law introduces:
A new non-transferable right to remuneration for artists for the use of their performances on online content-sharing platforms. This new remuneration right is limited to compensating for performances uploaded by users on online content-sharing platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Twitch.
A new non-transferable right to remuneration for artists for the use of their performances on commercial streaming platforms. This right to remuneration aims to compensate musicians and actors for the online use of their performances and targets platforms such as Spotify, Netflix, Deezer, Apple TV or Apple Music, and so on.
These remuneration rights are subject to mandatory collective management and must be paid by the online platforms. Playright is currently negotiating with the platforms in order to obtain a fairer remuneration for performers.