GVL collects private copying remuneration for mobiles and tablets for the first time

02. December 2015. 

After negotiations spanning several years, collective management organisations gathered under the um-brella of the central collection and distribution organisation for private copying levies in Germany (ZPÜ), amongst them GVL, reached an agreement with the manufacturers and importers represented by BITKOM on the remuneration level for copying levies for mobiles and tablets.

"Concluding these general agreements is a major breakthrough for us, as we finally managed to push through remuneration payments for our members - currently counting more than 145,000 - and the usage of their works on mobiles and tablets after many years", the two Managing Directors of GVL, Guido Evers and Dr. Tilo Gerlach rejoice. "For quite a few years now, many people use mobiles and tablets for making private copies. It is therefore overdue, more than timely and adequate that the hardware industry is now finally ready to pass on the relevant remuneration to the artists and producers." The agreement between ZPÜ and BITKOM has a retroactive effect and is valid for several years. As the relevant market data for the respective usage years have not been available to date, the actual level of remuneration to be paid to GVL is still to be determined, so that it can be passed on to its members.

As early as January 2014, ZPÜ as well as BITKOM (Federal Association for Information Technology, Tele-communications and New Media) and BCH (Federal Association of Computer Manufacturers) had agreed on the PC remuneration. The general agreements that have now been concluded for mobiles and tablets are a further important step, however, settlements for private copying levies for consumer electronics and other devices and blank media have yet to be reached.

GVL's Managing Directors state further: "In the interest of an economically sustainable solution for our members a standard tariff compromise was accepted; it does not provide a differentiation for premium mobiles." The standard tariff of EUR 5.00 per mobile makes up a share of the device price of far less than 1% in the premium product sector with a retail price of up to EUR 900.00. It needs to be considered that not the hardware industry but the end consumer is charged with the duty to pay a remuneration and the manufacturer only fulfils an administrative forwarding duty. Since the usage of creative contents for copying purposes also constitutes a main selling point for copy-ready devices, an adequate and sustainable balance between cost and benefit has been created. Due to the range of technical possibilities, more content is being copied than ever before and the authors remuneration which is meant to balance the mass copying is far remote from the 5% of the device price in effect up until 2008.

The private copying system, established and proven for decades now, has been enabling a continuous flexible integration of new devices since its statutory market opening; it created further copying possibilities, combined with the relevant price determination in line with the market needs. Said remuneration system is thus very well prepared for the challenges of the digital age.

"Despite such economic and structural advantages, the device industry has not tired of asking for an abolition of the modernised remuneration system which has been opened for the digital progress, without offering any viable alternatives in return", Gerlach and Evers note. "We welcome improvements which the governmental draft of the law on collective management organisations suggests in the spirit of accelerating the tariff setting procedures and the abolition of the existing negotiation asymmetry, so that creatives' interests can be negotiated at eye level and payment defaults hopefully become a thing of the past."