What is the legal basis of the exception for public lending ?
The Belgian Copyright Act of 30 June 1994 established the so-called “legal exception” for public lending: an exception to the exclusive author’s right, eliciting a collective remuneration provided by law. The Royal Decree implementing the Copyright Act and stipulating the conditions for collection and the tariffs was published only 10 years later, on 25 April 2004.
As a consequence of the condemnation of Belgium by the European Court of Justice mid-2011, in a case brought by Reprobel’s member organisation VEWA (Association of Educational and Scientific Authors), a new Royal Decree on Public Lending Right was published on 13 December 2012. This R.D. withdraws retroactively the Royal Decree of 2004. The Court stated that the Belgian public lending right legislation did not adhere to the European directive, because the former Belgian PLR scheme was based solely on a forfeit remuneration per registered library user, and did not include library collections as well.