Complaint procedure (Members)

Do you have a complaint about Buma/Stemra?

Your satisfaction is important to us. We know that sometimes, despite all the efforts from both your and our sides, things can still go wrong. If you have a complaint, please let us know, and we will work with you to find a good solution. You can submit your complaint by mail, or by using the complaint form on our portal. We will then contact you as soon as possible.

Buma/Stemra makes a distinction between complaints and queries:

What is a complaint?

  1. Any written report, other than a query, from an author or publisher who is a member of Buma/Stemra, or a sister society with which Buma/Stemra has signed a representation agreement
  2. from which it appears that the author, publisher or sister society is dissatisfied with the performance of Buma/Stemra or with a decision of Buma/Stemra through which the interests of the complainant in question are individually and directly affected
  3. and which does not have the character of a misunderstanding that can be solved quickly, or lack of information.
  4. Complaints may, for instance, relate to the service provided by Buma/Stemra, to the authorizations to manage rights, the termination or withdrawal of rights, conditions of membership, collection of the amounts due to rightholders, and to deductions and distributions.

What is a query?

  1. A report by an author and/or publisher who is a member of Buma/Stemra or a sister society with which Buma/Stemra has signed a representation agreement
  2. from which it appears that the author, publisher or sister society disagrees with the amount of the remuneration paid out by Buma/Stemra
  3. or about the lack of remuneration payments.

There is a separate procedure for queries. This procedure can be found using the following link.

Submitting a complaint

You can submit your complaint to us in two ways:

  • By filling in the complaint form on our portal.
  • By sending a letter to the following address:
    Member Service Department
    for attention of: Mr. W. van Limpt
    P.O. Box 3080
    2130 KB Hoofddorp
    The Netherlands

It is important to be as comprehensive as a possible when submitting a complaint. Please include the necessary copies of all relevant documents. In each case, we would ask you to state the following in your complaint:

  1. The way in which the rightholder would like to be contacted by Buma/Stemra: by letter or email;
  2. Name, address, telephone number and email address;
  3. Client reference number (if available);
  4. Clear description and justification of the complaint, together with any
  5. supporting evidence.

When can we not deal with your complaint?

Your complaint can unfortunately not be dealt with by us if:

  • you are not a member of Buma/Stemra, or if you have not concluded a representation agreement with Buma/Stemra;
  • if the complaint has already been submitted to the Disputes Committee in accordance with the Disputes Committee Rules;
  • if relevant information is missing, such as your name or address;
  • if it is a query. The following procedure applies for queries
  • if the incident you are complaining about took place more than a year ago.

What happens after you have submitted your complaint?

You will always receive a message from us within 5 working days after the receipt of your complaint, in which we will confirm the receipt of your complaint. We will also state the case number under which your complaint is registered, who is dealing with your complaint, and how the complaint procedure works.

Adversarial procedure

We will give you the opportunity to present your point of view, in writing or verbally. We will contact you regarding this.

Decision about your complaint

A decision will be made once all the information has been carefully considered. This decision will be communicated to you in writing.

How long does a complaint procedure last?

A decision about your complaint will be made within three months of receipt. If processing the complaint is so complex that a decision is not possible within three months, for example because we depend on third party information, Buma/Stemra may extend the period up to a maximum of twelve months. Buma/Stemra will then inform you about the state of affairs at least once every six months.

You will be informed of any extension of the decision period by email or letter.

Did you expect a different solution?

If you do not agree with the outcome of the complaint procedure, or have not received a message within the periods as mentioned above, or if no decision has been made about your complaint, you can submit an appeal against the decision on your complaint to the Disputes Committee of Buma/Stemra within three months.

Dispute Resolution Procedure for rightholders

Rightholders with Buma/Stemra who have complaints about decisions of the Board or the management can appeal to the Disputes Committee for rightholders, which has existed since 2006. The Disputes Committee consists of at least seven members appointed by the General Members Meeting of Buma/Stemra (one independent chairman, one independent deputy chairman and five Buma/Stemra rightholders, including three authors and two publishers). A dispute will be dealt with by at least three members of the Disputes Committee, namely the chairman and two ordinary members.

The Dispute Resolution Procedure is available to all authors and music publishers that are members of Buma/Stemra. This committee is thereby the appeals body for any rightholder with a specific complaint about decisions of the Board or the management, whereby he or she is individually and directly affected in his or her interests. The decision of the committee is binding on the parties, unless a court decides otherwise.

In order to prevent trivial complaints and to offset some of the costs of the procedure, the Disputes Committee requires a dispute contribution from the complainant (Article 13, Disputes Committee Rules). If the complainant is vindicated, the dispute contribution will be repaid to him. The amount for an author is € 150.- per registration, and € 300.- for a publisher.

Composition of the Buma/Stemra Disputes Committee:
Chairman: Mr. A.J. van der Meer
Deputy chairman: Mr. N. van Lingen
Member-author: Mr. W.B. Hoiting
Member-author: Mr. J. Kleppe
Member-author: Mrs. S. Maessen
Member-publisher: Mr. A. van Berkel
Member-publisher: Mr. M. Wijnstekers

If your dispute meets all the conditions, you can register it in writing by submitting it to the secretarial office:

Buma/Stemra Disputes Committee
c/o Secretarial Office
Attn: O. Meijer
PO Box 3080
2130 KB Hoofddorp
The Netherlands

You can find more information about the Disputes Committee and the Disputes Committee Rules here.