Music publishing, internet
SABAM, the Belgian collection society for authors, composers and music publishers, has launched a legal action against the country’s three biggest ISPs, arguing that they should be paying copyright levies for offering access to their members’ copyrights. No stranger to the courts, SABAM wants the court to rule that Internet access providers Belgacom, Telenet and Voo should pay 3.4 percent of their turnover in copyright fees for the use of music, because they make substantial profits from offering high speed Internet connections that give users easy access to copyright protected materials – legally and illegally – whilst hiding behind their status as intermediary “without taking responsibility for the information transmitted over their networks”
In a press release, SABAM noted that since 2000, revenues generated from music featured in the physical media (primarily CD sales) have declined by 54 percent, adding that this “huge loss” has not been compensated by collections from online services like iTunes, YouTube and Spotify.
SABAM have been asking for voluntary levies from ISPs since November 2011 and have now launched their claim in the Brussels Court of First Instance.