Payment of royalties for works with a provisional share split

Pilot project for payment of royalties on works with a provisional share split
In June 2022, we will be launching a pilot project with the aim of paying out even more money on a 1-to-1 basis. This means we will also distribute royalties for works that have been registered, but not yet checked and approved. In other words, works that only have a provisional share split. This pilot project will last for a year, after which it will be evaluated.

Current situation
Up to the first quarter of 2022, the situation was as follows: Buma/Stemra only distributed royalties for works that had been registered and which have been fully processed in order to determine the definitive copyright split. This is partly an automated process. In the case of works which have not yet been registered or which require further manual processing, the royalties linked to such are held in reserve. This will happen, for example, if there are multiple registrations for the same work. As soon as the registration and the copyright split has been verified and approved, the royalties held in reserve are paid out in the so-called ‘post-distributions’. In order to keep costs down, a manual check is not carried out for all works.

What is going to change and when?
As of June 2022, we will also distribute royalties for works that have been registered, but not yet verified manually. This change has been made by the Board of Directors in accordance with the advice of the Council of Members.

From a study we carried out, namely, we found out that during the verification process most of the works did not need any further processing in order to determine the correct copyright split. And the lower the amount of the royalties linked to a work, the less chance there was of royalties being distributed on the basis of an incorrect copyright split. It involves less than 2% of the money that Buma/Stemra distributes each year to the rightholders. Furthermore, it involves a large number of works with a (very) low value, which would not be paid out on a 1-to-1 basis to the rightholders of the relevant works without this change.

Of course, the royalties linked to the use of works that have not been registered yet will still have to be kept in reserve until a registration has been received and approved.

If you have received a distribution for a work with a provisional share split, you can submit a claim under the following conditions:

  • The total amount of the distribution for the work is greater than € 50 in any one quarter;
  • The work has been registered on time, in other words no later than 3 months before the distribution date (for broadcasts on radio and television, the final registration date for this year is 1 July 2022);
  • The claim has been submitted within the complaint period, in other words within 2 years after the year of the distribution.

A claim cannot be submitted for works with a value of less than € 50. And there are good reasons for this.

  • Works with a value of less than € 50 fall under the threshold for the manual verification procedure described above, and are therefore unlikely to be distributed on a 1-to-1 basis.
  • We prefer to keep as little money possible in reserve for an extended period. In the past, these royalties were classified as non-distributable royalties and were divided up and paid out to all of the rightholders collectively after 3 years.
  • Under the new procedure, we will try to pay out as much of the royalties to the registered rightholders as quickly as possible on a 1-to-1 basis. Although this means there is a risk that some distributions might be incorrect, we believe this is an acceptable risk.

You can see if a work has a provisional or final share split by going to the page where your registered works are listed in MijnBumaStemra. To find this information, go to Works -> Registered > Title -> Status of your work -> provisional share split / final share split. If a work has a final share split, you can submit a claim regardless of the amount of the settlement statement.

We are convinced that the distribution of royalties to the registered rightholders, in light of the limited margin of error, is better than keeping copyright royalties in reserve and dividing this money up between all the rightholders collectively after three years.