Brussels, 27th July 2013

Jean Michel Jarre, President of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), came to Brussels to draw attention to the adverse impact the draft amendment of Belgian copyright law will have on artists.The Belgian government is currently working on its codification. CISAC and SABAM call for a dialogue on this issue with all political stakeholders. For this purpose, they offer to share their expertise so that the revised text also takes into account the rights of the creators, authors, composers and publishers they represent.

Copyright law is currently being reviewed by the Belgian government. At the initiative of Johan Vande Lanotte, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Consumer Affairs and the North Sea, a draft legislation to codify copyright law was submitted and recently validated by the Council of Ministers. The draft law will be submitted to a vote of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in October.

The draft law substantially changes the very essence of copyright, a civil law, to the disadvantage of the authors. CISAC and SABAM of course want to continue working in all transparency required, but they are concerned – on behalf of the creators, authors, composers and publishers they represent – about the consequences of codifying copyright law, which will adversely affect the exclusive nature of copyright law. The draft law provides for the establishment of a regulator of intellectual property, which would be supervised by the FPS Economy. This could result in extremely damaging consequences for artists, starting with an increased risk of impoverishment of the cultural world, particularly as the regulator could lower rates. Authors may also be put under heavy pressure to give up their right to compensation for private copying. Finally, the legislation once revised provides for a limited commission rate that would result in a much less precise distribution of royalties among the various right holders.

Being constructive and ready to engage in dialogue, CISAC and SABAM regret not having been consulted in advance on this issue. However, they now call for a consultation. They want to share their expertise with the various political stakeholders. Artist confederations ask the text to revise copyright law be subject to a detailed legal review of the new provisions as well as a comparative analysis with international treaties on copyright law in order to also take into account the interests of authors and collecting societies. In this respect, they are eagerly awaiting the opinion that the Council of State should soon be issuing.

Christophe Depreter, Managing Director of SABAM: “In the worst case, if the Code is validated as is, SABAM could be forced to relocate its headquarters in order to survive, resulting in significant losses in employment in Belgium. We are convinced some right holders could go as far as to withdraw the management of their royalties from SABAM in order to manage them themselves or have them managed from abroad for the purpose of no longer having to undergo the new rules. If the legislation were to be approved as is, without consultation with the stakeholders to integrate all aspects and to also take into account the authors and the protection of their rights, this concerns the very survival of the creative sector in Belgium.”

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CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, works towards increased recognition and protection of creators’ rights. Founded in 1926, CISAC is a non-governmental, non-profit organization. Its main mission is to serve and defend creators by strengthening the network of authors’ societies that supports them. The world headquarters of CISAC are in France. CISAC also has several regional offices in Burkina Faso, Chile, Hungary and Singapore (soon to be relocated to China).

CISAC brings together 227 authors’ societies from 119 countries representing over 3 million creators and publishers from all artistic repertoires: music, drama, literature, audiovisual and visual arts.


SABAM was founded in 1922 by authors and for authors. As a private company, SABAM manages and distributes the royalties that come to the authors. It is the intermediary between the creative artist and the user of the works. SABAM guarantees a fair remuneration of the authors for the use of their works outside the family circle.

Being the largest cultural company in Belgium, it represents 38,000 authors and more than 4 million creations. SABAM is playing an active role in the distribution of cultural products in Belgium and abroad by way of the support it grants to authors and of the network it puts at disposal. SABAM represents the Belgian as well as the international musical repertoire.

SABAM is a multidisciplinary society and is made up of composers, lyricists, publishers, playwrights, choreographers, directors, scriptwriters, writers of dialogues, radio makers, authors of subtitles, translators, novelists, poets, comic strip authors, illustrators, journalists, sculptors, painters, video makers, drawers, photographers, graphic artists,…

SABAM is based in Brussels and employs 310 people (290 FTE).

Information SABAM
Christophe DEPRETER
Managing Director SABAM
Rue d’Arlon 75-77 – 1040 Brussels

Information CISAC 
Jean Michel Jarre
Voorzitter CISAC
20/26, boulevard du Parc – 92200 Neuilly sur Seine – FRANCE

Jeremy BOSSU
Tel: 02/610 10 74
Mobile: 0473/49 95 67

IMPALA – Independent Music Companies Association

Rue des Deux Eglises 37-39, 1000, Brussels, BELGIUM

+32 2 503 31 38