|Société d’Auteurs Belge, better known as SABAM, is the Belgian association which represents copyright owners – authors, composers and publishers. The outfit has reportedly sued some of the Belgian Internet service providers for receiving profit from their online packages without paying fees to rights owners.
SABAM wanted the court to rule that ISPs Belgacom, Telenet and Voo have to pay 3.4% of their turnover in copyright royalties, as they receive profit from offering high speed connection to the worldwide web. The latter provides users easy access to copyright protected material, claimed the collecting outfit last week.
Within the last decade, revenues obtained from copyright levies imposed on physical media have declined by 54%, according to the anti-piracy group. The claimed loss hasn’t been compensated by collections from such Internet services as iTunes, YouTube and Spotify.
SABAM insists that Internet service providers over the years have profited from the switch to Internet media consumption. The ISPs have offered unlimited broadband access with very high download speeds in advertising campaigns, without paying copyright royalties for this activity. The companies hide behind their status as intermediary, failing to take responsibility for the data transmitted over their networks.
Nevertheless, the profit derived from online subscriptions partly comes from the intensive use of protected repertoire, so the Internet providers should start paying levies, according to anti-piracy outfit. After the negotiations made it clear that the Internet service providers aren’t going to start paying the levies voluntarily, the outfit decided to sue major Belgian ISPs.
However, the industry experts have a question: if ISPs agree to pay royalties to copyright owners, does this mean that file-sharers can legally download copyrighted content without permission? The observers doubt that the copyright holders will adhere to such a solution, as in most cases they prefer the old fashion way of suing people who infringe copyright.
In addition, this case can be a starting point for other countries to force their ISPs into paying up, just as it happened with the “three-strikes” program. However, the US would have to rewrite the entire DMCA for that to happen. In the meanwhile, the ISPs admit that it is unlikely that they are forced to pay royalties to copyright owners, but are still worried about a new kind of trend emerging out of these actions.
May 10th,2013Posted by:
Friday, May 10th, 2013
|posted by (2013-05-13 21:31:17)|
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