What is the legal exception for private copy?

The Copyright Act of 30 June 1994 introduced an exception for private copy.

This exception to the exclusive right of the rights holder authorises private persons to reproduce sound or audiovisual works on an analogue or digital support (such as a CD, DVD, hard drive, USB stick, video or audio cassettes) insofar as the reproduction takes place in a family setting and is strictly for private use.

In order to compensate for this legal exception, an equitable remuneration was introduced on devices and supports that make the reproduction of these works possible. The amount of remuneration on the devices is established by Royal Decree.

The copyright collection society Auvibel collects and distributes this remuneration. Auvibel represents the copyright management companies who in turn represent the right-holding authors, performing artists and producers of sound and audiovisual works.

In 2012 a law expanded the exception for private copy to include all protected works (so not only sound and audiovisual works). However, the new legal provision has not yet come into effect so that the digital reproduction of literary, photographic or graphic works in a family setting is still prohibited, except if the rights holder has provided specific permission in advance.

For more information on the private copy please consult Auvibel.