German Government agrees on reformed draft copyright contract law legislation

During the currently ongoing reform process of the German copyright contract law, the German cabinet agreed on draft legislation impacting the intellectual property rights of authors, filmmakers, designers and composers in their contracts with publishing houses, broadcasters and film studios on Wednesday, 16 March 2016. In 2002, the German copyright contract law established in law for the first time a claim of authors and performing artists for ‘appropriate remuneration’ which the government aimed to enhance with this reform.

The draft foresees, inter alia, changes to a clause in ‘Article 40a’ providing for recall rights of artists, which allows, for instance, the author to retract his or her book after a 10-year period and sell it to another publisher. According to ‘Article 40a, section 3 of the draft, artists are entitled only under certain conditions  to sell upfront their intellectual property rights for an unlimited time, thereby giving up their recall right. In the agreed draft legislation, total buy-out clauses are still allowed so that publishers can purchase comprehensive rights to a work even in forms not being invented yet. But by taking up such a new form ‘Article 79b’ provides now a right to the artist to receive a separate appropriate remuneration which needs to be claimed and processed through the reproduction rights organisations. The draft also provides for the right of associations e.g. author associations to apply for injunctions in court against companies if they do not adhere to the negotiated terms.

The draft still needs to be formally approved by the German parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) and can be found (in German only) here.

More information (in German only) is available on the website of the German Ministry of Justice.