The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken in response have far-reaching implications for almost all businesses, in a wide variety of sectors, including the cultural sector. The Dutch copyright collection societies (also known as copyright collectives) have taken several steps in order to mitigate this impact, for both rightsholders and companies paying royalties. This article provides a brief overview of these measures.
The copyright collective Buma/Stemra has opted for a two-pronged approach and has adopted measures to accommodate companies using copyright-protected materials, on the one hand, and rightsholders, on the other hand.
Companies that are required to close may qualify for an exemption from or suspension of their payment obligations during the closure. It should be noted that if a company receives government subsidies or grants, it is not eligible for an exemption/suspension. For the time being, the scope of this measure is unclear, particularly whether it concerns an exemption or suspension of payment. This will undoubtedly be clarified in the near future. In any case, companies do not have to settle any invoices until 28 April.
Buma/Stemra has also announced measures to accommodate its members (often artists, composers, lyricists and publishers) who, due to the coronavirus crisis, no longer have any viable income by paying in advance royalties for live, radio and TV performances. In addition, royalties will be paid on a quarterly basis rather than annually. Finally, a EUR 2,750,000 emergency fund has been established to assist rightsholders experiencing financial difficulties despite governmental and sector-specific initiatives.
Videma, the copyright collective for the content of TV programmes, has adopted identical measures.