Simont Braun - Avocats advocaten lawyers

Copyright Software and Databases

Copyright is a core aspect of multiple different activities: authors, performers, broadcasters, phonogram producers, film producers, designers, software developers, database producers, etc. Frequently copyright must also coexist with other rights. Telecoms and internet operators, hosting entities, platforms, marketplaces, online vendors, etc. also have to navigate the complex legal landscape of rights, including copyright, neighbouring rights and sui generis rights. Rights owners and operators alike must take into account competition rules, marketing, personal data and consumer protection issues.

Our fields of expertise

Our team assists Belgian and foreign clients in litigation, publishing contracts, assignment and licence agreements, merchandising, complex deals and settlements, special tax regimes for authors, copyright as an asset in corporate and financial transactions, etc.

We advise a wide range of operators, including internet service providers, art galleries, museums, libraries, music competitions, publishers, cable operators and similar producers or users of creative works.

In addition to the traditional fields of copyright and neighbouring rights where the digital revolution has made both contracts and litigation more complex, our team has acquired significant expertise in digital and online issues such as (illegal) P2P sharing, means of technical protection, unauthorised hyperlinks and musical plagiarism.

In this respect, over many years now Simont Braun has also been representing cable television operators and clients in the broadcasting and media sectors in landmark copyright, advertising and competition cases, gathering an in-depth and practical understanding of the market and legal trends. More generally, our team regularly handles complex contract negotiations and mediation procedures relating to royalties.

In recent years, as cable and other operators have continued to extend their range of services and technologies, we have gained substantial experience in providing advice on the new challenges, the unanticipated potential liability, innovative copyright-related questions (e.g. direct injection, ISP liability) and competition law aspects (e.g. market power, must-carry rules, etc.).

Our copyright lawyers also act in design issues where copyright remains the most favoured tool of protection, combining this approach with the unregistered/registered design protection system (EU and Benelux).

Some recent projects

  • Assisting an internet service provider against a judicial claim for copyright infringement (including before the Belgian Supreme Court);

  • Participation in litigation and negotiation regarding the so-called "direct injection" of TV signals in cable networks;

  • Assisting the Belgian authorities before the EU Court of Justice (case C-572/13) regarding the Belgian regime of private copying levies;

  • Administering and updating various copyright and performance contracts of an international music competition organiser;

  • Preparing, applying for and negotiating tax rulings with the Belgian Ministry of Finance under the favourable tax rules for copyright income;

  • Handling a preliminary ruling procedure before the EU Court of Justice (C-169/05) and the Belgian Supreme Court procedure about cable transmission and collecting societies.

Market recognition

IP Stars: Copyright Tier 1