German Federal Court of Justice decides in favour of German RRO VG WORT

On 3 July 2014, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) announced its decision with respect to the question whether a copyright levy for printers and computers was due under the old German copyright law (in force until the end of 2007). The proceedings were brought by the German RRO VG WORT in 2002 against manufacturers, distributors and importers of printers and computers. 

According to the BGH’s press release, the BGH concluded that a levy was due for printers on the basis of Article 54 a of the old German copyright law, while computers were subject to a levy on the basis of Article 54 of the old German law. 
 
In the previous proceedings, the BGH had rejected a levy on printers and computers in December 2007 and October 2008. However, following a constitutional complaint by VG WORT against these decisions, the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) rejected the decisions of the BGH and referred these issues back for its reconsideration. The BGH subsequently stayed the proceedings and referred certain questions as to the interpretation of the EU Directive 2001/29/EC to the European Court of Justice (CJEU). 
 
As reported earlier, in its judgement of 27 July 2013, the CJEU held that a copyright levy can be imposed on printers or computers for the copying of protected works, because the exception provided in the Directive 2001/29/EC for “reproductions on paper or any similar medium, effected by the use of any kind of photographic technique or by some other process having similar effects” includes copying by means of a printer or computer insofar as these devices are connected to each other. If the copying process thereby made possible results in a reproduction on paper or a similar medium, the rightholders need to receive fair compensation for this. - Following this decision of the CJEU, the BGH proceedings continued. 
 
So far, the BGH has only published an official press release ; VG WORT’s related press release is available here in German and here in English.