Representing the Belgian Ministry of Economy in a high-profile lawsuit against SABAM (the Belgian Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers) before the Brussels courts concerning the private collecting society’s compliance with the Belgian Copyright Act (BCA), and notably its claim of royalties against Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
The case has received a lot of media coverage in Belgium.
On 13 March 2015, the Brussels Court of First Instance agreed with why the Ministry of Economy initiated cease-and-desist proceedings against SABAM and held there is no legal ground for SABAM to seek such royalties from the ISPs. In fact, the ISPs’ activities do not constitute the notion of communication to the public in the sense of the BCA. This is the sixth (and last) decision that the Belgian courts rendered in this lawsuit. In the meantime, SABAM has decided to appeal against this judgment.
Stibbe has assisted the Ministry of Economy in all six of its proceedings.