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Transfer, assignment and licensing

Transfer and assignment

What rules, restrictions and procedures govern the transfer and assignment of copyright? Are any formalities required to secure the legal effect of the transfer or assignment?

The economic copyrights are assignable/transferable.

Article XI.167 §1(2) of the Belgian Code on Economic Law states that all contracts affecting the author must be proved in writing. This provision contains a rule of proof and not a validity condition.

Article XI.167 §1(3) states that contractual provisions relating to copyright and to its modes of exploitation must be interpreted restrictively. It follows from this provision that, in case of any doubt, unclear clauses will be interpreted to the author’s benefit.

Articles XI.167 §1(4)-(6) and §2 contain specific obligations that must be respected or otherwise result in nullity. These articles read as follows (freely translated):

The author’s remuneration, the scope and duration of the assignment shall be set out explicitly for each mode of exploitation. The assignee shall be required to exploit the work in accordance with the fair practice of the profession. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, the assignment of rights in respect of yet unknown forms of exploitation shall be null and void. The assignment of economic rights relating to future works shall be valid only for a limited period of time and only if the types of works to which the assignment applies are specified.


What rules, restrictions and procedures govern copyright licensing?

The same rules as those applicable to assignments/transfers.

Are there any special provisions governing sub-licensing?


What collective licensing bodies operate in your jurisdiction and how are their activities regulated?

There are 26 copyright collecting societies active in Belgium:

Their activities are regulated in Chapter 9 of Title 5 of Book XI of the Belgian Code on Economic Law. These provisions contain rules on the legal form of the collecting societies, the requirement of a permit, accounting rules, stratification rules, rules on the collection and distribution of funds, supervision, etc. 

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