GEMA, GVL, VG Bild-Kunst and VG Wort intensify dialogue with politicians for the implementation of the EU Directive

10. November 2014. 

Under the headline "Creativity's value", GEMA, GVL, VG Bild-Kunst and VG Wort discussed the imminent amendment to the German copyright administration right with artists, producers of sound recordings, authors and politicians on 5 November in the German Cinematheque Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

GEMA CEO Dr. Harald Heker welcomed the EU Directive as an important success for authors at the opening of the Parliamentary Evening: "This is a significant step to set single, consistent standards for collective management organisations across Europe and to facilitate cross-border licensing of authors' rights in Europe. When implementing the Directive in the Member States, we now have to focus on creating a level playing field for all collective management organisations and subsequently encourage fair competition in Europe."

Christian Flisek (SPD), patron of the event and member of the German Bundestag, stressed in his opening speech that German collective management organisations are active in a well grown, well tried and well functioning legal system. "National regulations which are above the provisions of the Directive remain applicable, but a stricter German law must not lead to any competitive disadvantages. We must acknowledge this and proceed with sound judgement."

Following his introduction, members of the Bundestag Christian Flisek (SPD), Ansgar Heveling (CDU), Renate Künast (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN) and Halina Wawzyniak (Fraktion DIE LINKE) represented their political parties' positions on copyright and the imminent implementation of the Directive during three discussions on the subjects "European harmonisation of the administration right", "cross-border music licensing" and "the importance of private copying".

The starting point for a dialogue is the implementation of the EU Directive on collective management of copyright and related rights by April 2016. The Directive creates, for the first time, uniform minimum standards across Europe with regards to the Act on Collective Rights Management and is intended to provide legally compliant conditions to the cross-border activities of collective management organisations in Europe. German collective management organisations had already actively accompanied the development process of the EU Directive on behalf and in the interests of authors and neighbouring rights holders in Brussels.

With regards to the implementation of the Directive into national law GVL Managing Director, Dr. Tilo Gerlach, pointed out: "Based on the high regulatory standards in Germany, our collective management organisations already fulfil the essential requirements of the Directive. The harmonisation of European rights administration and collective management may not be at the expense of those active in the creative sector and their partners."

Dr. Robert Staats, executive member of the Board of VG Wort, stressed that legal amendments on private copying levies should be implemented urgently in the course of the implementation of the Directive. "The introduction of an obligation to deposit is particularly important in order to safeguard an equitable remuneration for rights owners."

Dr. Urban Pappi, CEO of VG Bild-Kunst considers it to be crucial that the German legislator now focusses its attention towards Brussels, where digital Digital Agenda Commissioner Günther Oettinger plans to tackle the long awaited modernisation of copyright in the coming months. Germany should actively participate in the discussion and join forces with France to see to it that copyright is developed with the required sound judgement.

GVL Managing Director Guido Evers emphasised during his closing remarks how important the dialogue between the legislators and the collective management organisations was: "We are pleased to see that representatives of all parties are interested in an exchange." With a view to Berlin and Brussels he highlighted that the private copy levy system has been established for over 50 years and was a model for the future: "It is consumer friendly and up-to-date. The transition that took place in 2008 towards a market-oriented and empirically based negotiation structure, open for future development, is, in terms of concept, positive and can be a model for all of Europe."

The discussion was led by the journalist Barbara Haack, musicians Ulle and Töle provided the musical background.

GEMA represents the copyright of more than 67,000 members (composers, lyricists and music publishers) in Germany and that of more than two million rights owners from all over the world. It is one of the biggest authors' societies for musical works worldwide. Further information via www.gema.de.

GVL was founded in 1959 and, in its role as a collective management organisation, it now represents more than 140,000 members worldwide with regards to administering their neighbouring rights; among those represented are performing artists, producers of sound recordings, producers of video films and event organisers. The German Orchestra Association (registered association) [DOV] and the Federal Association of the Music Industry (registered association) [BVMI] are equal associates of GVL.

VG Bild-Kunst, founded in 1968, represents more than 55,000 authors from the visual sector today, among them artists, photographers, caricaturists, designers, (film) directors, cameramen and women, cutters as well as set designers and costume designers. It looks after the distribution of the statutory remuneration entitlements; in the art sector, it also administers primary rights. Further information via www.bild-kunst.de.

VG WORT is the collective rights management organisation and administers usage rights and remuneration entitlements in the copyright area for more than 400,000 authors and 10,000 publishers in Germany on a fiduciary basis. Further information via www.vgwort.de.

Image material for the Parliamentary Evening in the German Cinematheque on 5 November 2014 can be accessed here.