Brussels, 3rd July 2002
Public lending rights: Commission decides to refer Belgium to Court of Justice
The European Commission has decided to refer Belgium to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement into its national legislation certain provisions on the public lending right provided for by the Directive on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright (92/100/EEC).
Under the Directive (Article 1), authors and other rightholders have the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the public lending of their works or other subject matter protected by rights related to copyright. Under Article 5, the Member States may derogate from this right, opting instead for remuneration to be paid to authors. They may also exempt certain categories of public establishment from the payment of remuneration.
Belgium has not yet implemented the provisions of the Directive on the public lending right. For example, it has still not implemented rules granting an exclusive right to authorise or prohibit public lending to artists, producers of phonograms and videograms or - in the absence of such a right - a right to remuneration for authors at least. This situation leads to distortions in the Internal Market and damages rightholders of all nationalities.
The Commission began infringement proceedings against Belgium at the start of 2001. In December 2001, it sent the Belgian authorities a formal request, in the form of a reasoned opinion, to implement the Directive (see IP/02/191). The Belgian authorities have not responded to the reasoned opinion.
As far as another infringement of this Directive involving Denmark is concerned (concerning distribution rights - see also IP/02/191), the Commission has decided to temporarily suspend proceedings following a constructive dialogue with the Danish authorities.
Details of current infringement proceedings against all Member States are available on the Europa site: