New German Copyright Law
New German Copyright Law

New German Copyright Law

As part of the pending copyright reform associated with the legal harmonisation of federal law to the EU guidelines, mostly referred to as the DSM directive, a number of changes will be applied to German legislation. I am generally positive towards most of the forthcoming amendments in copyright law, but there is one paragraph in the drafted bill that perplexes me: Collecting societies, such as the GEMA, will prospectively be allowed to make use of extended collective agreements, which means that they are entitled to exercise rights on behalf of non-member authors who have not granted their copyright management to the collecting society. This poses a problem if authors prefer to use CreativeCommons or other free licences (an integral component in the operational model of the C3S cooperative) or choose not to rely on copyright protection at all. In these cases, authors will have to actively opt out from the ›automatic‹ granting of their rights to a collecting society. Composers and arrangers do not seem to have reacted yet to this enhancement of the so-called GEMA presumption—or, in other words, to the reinforcement of the GEMA’s monopoly status as the only collecting society for musical works in Germany. I feel that this issue should at least be controversially discussed.

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