• Reform of German Copyright Act Passed
  • March 3, 2017 | Authors: Viola Bensinger; Christoph Enaux; Stefan Lütje
  • Law Firm: Greenberg Traurig Germany, LLP - Berlin Office
  • On December 16, the new German Copyright Act (in German only) was adopted by the German parliament. The reform aims to strengthen authors' and performers' rights to an adequate remuneration, and facilitate the enforcement of such rights.
    In particular, the existing so-called “bestseller provision” is being extended. Pursuant to this provision, authors and performers of copyright protected works may claim additional compensation from exploiters of the work if there is an "evident disproportion" between the initially contractually agreed remuneration and the subsequent commercial success and revenues generated from the work by the exploiter. Under the updated rule, any author or performer is entitled to be informed annually about the scope of, and revenues derived from, the exploitation of their work, both vis-à-vis their contracting partner/licensee and any third party distributor who is materially involved in the exploitation. Also, in the event of a buy-out (without any profit participation), the author (but not performers) will generally be allowed to re-license the work ten years after the initial grant of rights or delivery of the work. Thus, the licensee will be left only with non-exclusive rights to the work for the remaining term of the distribution rights (even if an exclusive license was originally granted in perpetuity). However, there are some exceptions to this latter provision with regard to material used in audio-visual works.
    The new German Copyright Act will be applicable from March 2017.