Private copying, § 54 UrhG [Copyright Act]

Private copies of TV broadcasts are permissible, but § 54 UrhG makes them subject to payment of a fee.

The statutory entitlement to remuneration applies to the makers of recording devices and storage media which are used to effect private copying. The right to collection also extends to digital media, like CD and DVD copiers and blanks. The claims of the film producer based on any contracts concluded from 1 July 2002 are only assignable to a collecting society (cf. §§ 94, section 4, 63 a UrhG).

Most existing collecting societies in Germany have amalgamated to form ZPÜ, the Zentralstelle für Private Überspielungsrechte [Central Agency for Private Copying Rights], to facilitate the assertion of their claims. Remuneration sums collected by ZPÜ are divided up in accordance with a key agreed amongst the collecting societies, and distributed on this basis by the individual collecting societies to the parties entitled.

Cable retransmission rights, § 20b UrhG [Copyright Act]

According to the terms of § 20 b UrhG [Copyright Act], the simultaneous and unchanged transmission of terrestrially broadcast film works to the regional cable networks constitutes a new broadcast and is only permissible by consent. This right relating to cable dissemination is also regulated by EC Directive 93/83 EEC, and it has been administered by the collecting societies for years. According to the new statutory requirements of § 20 b, section 1 UrhG, the cable retransmission rights can as a rule only be asserted by a collecting society. In consequence of their intellectual property rights (cf. § 94, section 4 UrhG), film producers also have an entitlement in connection with the new remuneration claims for cable rebroadcasting defined by § 20 b, section 2 UrhG. This claim is unrenounceable and can only be asserted by a collecting society. In agreements concluded since 1 June 1998, it can only be assigned to a collecting society (§ 20 b, section 2, sentence 3; 137 h, section 3 UrhG).

The collecting societies and broadcasting companies have concluded a contract for the settlement of cable retransmission claims with the regional cable network operators. The remuneration amounts achieved are divided up between the collecting societies and the broadcasting companies, in accordance with the scope of their respective rights. The collecting societies pass on the remuneration to their members entitled to receive royalties.

Remuneration from the hire of videos and DVDs, § 27 UrhG [Copyright Act]

When video cassettes are rented out, the film copyright holders have a statutory remuneration entitlement in accordance with § 27, section 1 UrhG. The film producers have a part in this claim on the basis of the contracts concluded between them and the film makers. This statutory claim is one for which the operators of video rental stores are liable.

In this area as well VGF has joined with the other collecting societies to facilitate the assertion of the rights involved. Claims on the video rental stores are asserted by GEMA for the ZVV – Zentralstelle für Videovermietung [Central Video Hire Agency]. The further distribution of income is in turn based on a key agreed between the shareholders of ZVV, with remuneration then being passed on by the individual collecting societies to their members entitled to receive royalties.

For the payment of remuneration from video hire in accordance with § 27 UrhG, the availability of the film work in the form of a rental cassette or DVD during the relevant payment period is the definitive condition. Through video on demand (VOD) and streaming services, the payments from video hire income have drastically shrunken.

Remuneration from other countries

The above statutory remuneration rights also subsist to a certain extent in various other European countries.

VGF asserts such rights with respect to German film works in these countries as well by applying to the various national copyright associations, and receives the associated remuneration for distribution to its members entitled to the payment of royalties. The national copyright association is responsible for determining the films that have been broadcast and the broadcasting dates.

VGF Berlin asserts rights in respect of foreign film works with the Austrian and Swiss copyright associations, so covering other German-speaking countries.