The law allows e.g. music and movies to be copied onto devices and media such as CDs, tablets, and USB sticks. These copies may be made without the prior authorisation of authors, performers and producers, provided that they are made for private use.
As a compensation for the fact that their authorisation is not requested, the rights holders are entitled to a remuneration referred to as "remuneration for private copying".
Since 1 December 2013, authors of literary and photographic works are also entitled to this remuneration, with private copying no longer being limited solely to audiovisual (films, documentaries, etc.) and sound (music, etc.) works.
Since 1 September 2019, publishers are also entitled to a private copy remuneration for copies made of their publications.
That compensation is levied at the purchase of devices and media , that are clearly defined in a Royal Decree of 18 October 2013 (Dutch version – French version). The following criteria are observed when determining the compensation:
- they must be devices and media manifestly used for the private reproduction of works, performances and publications, and
- it must be considered whether or not technical protection measures are applied to these devices and carriers.
The tariffs are regularly reviewed to adapt to technological and economic developments in the market. In addition, an annual analysis of the Belgian market must be carried out by the Private Copy Advisory Committee, which, in addition to the collective management organization Auvibel, includes the organizations representing the contributors.
For the professional use of devices and media, a refund or exemption from private copying levies has been provided for since 1 January 2017, in accordance with European case law. Indeed, professional users who acquire equipment and media on which a remuneration for private copying is levied may request reimbursement or be exempt from payment, provided that these devices and media are intended for strictly professional use and that certain conditions are complied with.
The request for reimbursement is addressed to the collecting society and is based on invoices certifying the purchase of the equipment and media. The exemption is given at the request of the professional user at the time of purchase. The conditions to be met for these requests are provided for by Royal Decree and non-compliance may result in an obligation to refund the amount, with a surcharge.