Only the author of an artistic or literary work may reproduce or communicate his or her work or have it reproduced or communicated to the public. Do you want to make a protected work public? Then you have to ask permission and pay a fee to the author (i.e. copyright royalties).
In practice, of course, you do not have to contact each author separately each time you want to use a work. This would make organising a party practically impossible. That is why authors, composers and publishers join an authors' association like Sabam. We manage the copyrights and collect the royalties on behalf of our members.
Sabam also represents the repertoire of its foreign sister associations. Do you want to use a protected work of a foreign artist? If so, you must also obtain permission to do so.
Did you not receive permission and did you therefore not pay any royalties for the performance of a protected work? Then we consider the public performance of the work to be unlawful.
There are, however, a number of exceptions. For example, you do not have to pay royalties for:
- music of which the surviving author or composer died more than seventy years ago;
- works that you use as educational material;
- private performances within the family circle that meet these conditions:
1. It concerns a performance;
2. The performance is free of charge (no entrance fee);
3. It takes place in the family circle.