Statement of German stakeholders of the creative industries on the German copyright bill

 03 February 2021

Politics has missed the chance to create justice in the digital market – to the detriment of the German creative industries. The winners are the global online platforms.

The copyright reform bill approved today by the cabinet damages the German creative industries and the European single market! Politicians have missed the opportunity to create justice in the digital market – the winners are the global platforms.

Associations and institutions of rights holders from various sectors are dismayed at the draft for the implementation of the DSM Directive in Germany, which was approved by the cabinet today, Their practical and legal criticisms of the BMJV’s text, which have been voiced many times in recent weeks and months, have – in essence – not been taken into account. Thus the industry realities are ignored by politics. Instead, the cabinet today adopted a draft that adds its own regulatory construct to the requirements of the European Directive to be implemented without any need for Germany, thereby strengthening global online platforms, weakening the legal position of creators and their partners, and in decisive parts contradicting the DSM Directive’s aspiration for a balanced, harmonized copyright in the digital single market. Countries such as France or the Netherlands, on the other hand, are implementing the directive in the spirit adopted at the European level.

Among the criticisms repeatedly voiced are an impractical structuring of claims and licensing relationships as well as massive interference in established and future licensing markets. In particular, the so-called de minimis threshold has been sharply criticized by many sides, and rightly so. Even if this is now subject to a different regulation, the draft continues to de facto deprive rights holders of control over significant parts of their content without corresponding justification by the directive. In the future, up to 15 seconds from a piece of music, film work or motion picture, up to 160 characters of text, 125 kilobytes for photos and graphics are to be able to be used publicly by anyone without permission or liability in return for a (small) collectivized flat fee – evaluated on platforms that generally generate considerable profits from this. The rights holders can therefore no longer primarily determine how and where the use of their works takes place. Furthermore, the draft also jeopardizes widely accepted industry solutions in copyright contract law and creates disproportionate bureaucratic costs through new types of reporting obligations. All of this puts the German creative industry in a worse position than its global competitors and will cause lasting damage to Germany as a creative location. There is an urgent need for improvements in the parliamentary process and a willingness to compromise must be signaled in order to avert the threat of Germany being disadvantaged in the digital single market..

*Signatories from the cultural and creative industries include here:
the BVMI – Bundesverband Musikindustrie e.V.,
the BVPA – Bundesverband professioneller Bildanbieter e.V.,
the DFB – Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V.,
the DFL – Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH,
the Allianz Deutscher Produzenten e.V.,
the SPIO – Spitzenorganisation der Filmwirtschaft e.V.,
the VAUNET – Verband Privater Medien e.V.,
and the VUT – Verband unabhängiger Musikunternehmer*innen e.V. (Association of Independent Music Entrepreneurs).