Chairman of Belgian RRO writes open letter on changes to the reprography legislation

In an open letter published by major newspapers in Belgium – for instance in Le Soir and De Morgen – Professor Roger Blanpain, Chairman of the Board of Reprobel, the Belgian RRO, calls on politicians and lawmakers to preserve the remuneration to authors and publishers for the reprographic reproduction of their works.

Until the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in Case C‑572/13 (HP Belgium v Reprobel) in November 2015, Reprobel has been collecting an average 23 million euros a year that are then distributed to authors and publishers, representing for many of them substantial revenues, when the cost for Belgian people is a mere 2 euros per capita, per year. In the aftermath of the ruling that has questioned some aspects of the legislation on reprography in Belgium which may require that it be adjusted, Prof Blanpain makes a plea for the remuneration to authors and publishers for the copying of their works to be maintained and not sacrificed.

As Prof Blanpain argues, the publishing market in Belgium accounts for 0,7% of the national GDP, comprising many SMEs, and the revenues stemming from the secondary uses of works are essential for authors and publishers to continue creating, investing in new works and publishing those, while the system offers legal certainty for users who have access to the works.

Also find here the statement released by IFRRO after the CJEU ruling in HP Belgium and calling on the EU Commission and Parliament to “give clarification and provide stability and legal certainty to IFRRO members with an aim of maintaining a system that has been successful for so many years in a whole series of EU member states in providing free access to copyrighted works and at the same time fairly compensating authors and publishers”.