REVERA mythbusters. Remuneration for the «home use of music» – who, to whom and how much shall pay?
On November 14, 2023 the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus on November 11, 2023 No. 771 “On the private use of reproductions and related rights objects” was officially published on the National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus. This resolution establishes the Regulation on remuneration for the private use of audiovisual works, works and performances embodied in phonograms and phonograms (hereinafter referred to as the Regulation).
During the public discussion of the draft Regulation he mass media have already interpreted the Regulation as the implementation of remuneration for the “home use of music”. This article is dedicated to busting such myth and to making the concept of the private use levy simple.
The Regulation in a nutshell
The remuneration for the private use of reproductions and recordings is a mandatory private copying levy (also known as “blank media tax”) charged from the manufacturers and the importers of equipment and physical storage media that are commonly used by the consumers for the personal reproduction of music and movies.
The payers of remuneration are companies and individual entrepreneurs. Therefore, the interests of “the Belarusians who listen to the music at home” are not affected by the Regulation.
The basis of remuneration assessment is a cost of equipment and physical storage media that were produced or a cost of physical storage media that were imported.
The bonus from REVERA – the hidden truth:
The remuneration provided for by the Regulation is not an innovation. In fact, it exists since March 12,2008.
The Regulation replaces the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus on March 3, 2008 No. 321 «On some issues regarding the payment of remuneration for the private use of audiovisual works and recordings» (hereinafter referred to as the Resolution).
The main new features of the remuneration payment procedure implemented by the Regulation are as follows.
1. The payers of remuneration
The Regulation particularizes and reduces the list of remuneration payers. In particular, the manufacturers of physical storage media are excluded from the remuneration payers because the physical storage media are barely produced in Belarus.
Therefore, the following entities shall remain the payers of remuneration:
the manufacturers of equipment;
the importers of equipment;
the importers of physical storage media.
2. The rate and the basis of remuneration assessment
fixes a flat-rate of remuneration (the Resolution was providing for the minimal rate before);
reduces the rate of remuneration charged from the importers of physical storage media by 10 times (from 3,0% to 0,3%);
reviews the basis of remuneration assessment (the revenue from sales of the equipment produced in Belarus excluding VAT and the total cost of the equipment and physical storage media imported to Belarus during the trimester are proposed as a basis instead of instead of the selling price of equipment and physical storage media).
3. The remuneration payment terms
The Regulation sets up the clear terms of remuneration payment (under the Resolution, the State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus was entitled to set up such terms before, but they have not been actually set up since May 8, 2020):
the remuneration shall be paid on the basis of the contracts between the organization on the collective management of property rights (hereinafter referred to as the OCM) and the payers;
the payment frequency shall be on a trimester basis;
the payment term shall not be later than the 22nd day of the month following the reporting trimester.
4. The remuneration payment relief
The Regulation implements the method of avoiding the double charge of remuneration from the importers of equipment and physical storage media within EAEU. In particular, if the importer of equipment and physical storage media has already paid the due remuneration in any country of EAEU, such importer shall be released from the remuneration payment in Belarus.
5. The remuneration distribution
The Regulation redistributes the remuneration paid:
firstly, 25% of remuneration shall be withheld to the Fund of the President of the Republic of Belarus for Support of Culture and Art;
secondly, up to 25% of remuneration shall be withheld for social, cultural or educational purposes, as well as to cover the OCM’s expenses for the collective management of property rights;
the rest of remuneration shall be distributed among the rights holders in certain proportions.
Thus, the Regulation aims to address gaps in law enforcement under the repealed Resolution.
The Regulation entered into force on November 13, 2023.
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