As the CMOs are mostly specialised in one sector — GEMA, for example, in musical works and VG Wort in literary works – they usually have a de facto monopoly position in their sector. For this reason and because they act in a fiduciary capacity for their right holders, CMOs are subject to government supervision by the DPMA under the Collective Management Organisations Act (CMO Act – Verwertungsgesellschaftengesetz). As supervisory authority we act in the public interest. Requests and complaints from right holders or users also prompt us to carry out an investigation. We ensure that the organisation of CMOs complies with the statutory requirements. Furthermore, we monitor compliance by CMOs with the obligations towards their members and right holders, on the one hand, and the users, on the other hand. In this respect, we check, among other things, whether they comply with the requirements for setting tariffs. The amount to be paid for a particular use is specified in the tariffs set by the CMOs. The Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) has clarified our scope of competence in this respect. On 17 June 2020, it confirmed that the supervisory authority is entitled to carry out a comprehensive examination of CMO tariffs. The court also held that CMOs had an obligation to identify to the extent necessary the rights managed by them prior to setting a tariff.
In agreement with the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), the DPMA has so far granted authorisation to conduct business to 13 CMOs. In 2019, the total revenues generated by CMOs amounted to about 1.68 billion euros. The amount of each individual CMO is listed in the table.
|Collective Management Organisations||Total budget 1 in 2019|
|GEMA||Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung||€1,069.377m|
|GVL||Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten mbH||€215.451m|
|VG Wort||Verwertungsgesellschaft WORT, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung||€158.191m|
|VG Bild-Kunst||Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung||€61.952m|
|VG Musikedition||Verwertungsgesellschaft Musikedition, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung||€8.578m|
|GÜFA||Gesellschaft zur Übernahme und Wahrnehmung von Filmaufführungsrechten mbH||€5.887m|
|VFF||Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten mbH||€31.152m|
|VGF||Verwertungsgesellschaft für Nutzungsrechte an Filmwerken mbH||€9.352m|
|GWFF||Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten mbH||€47.168m|
|AGICOA GmbH||AGICOA Urheberrechtsschutz-Gesellschaft mbH||€24.522m|
|VG Media||Gesellschaft zur Verwertung der Urheber- und Leistungsschutzrechte von Sendeunternehmen und Presseverlegern mbH||€54.399m|
|TWF||Treuhandgesellschaft Werbefilm mbH||€2.988m|
|GWVR||Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Veranstalterrechten mbH||€1,200|
People working in the creative industries, in particular, have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. They suffered great losses due to the cancellation of concerts and other events. In order to support the particularly affected members and right holders as quickly and with as little bureaucracy as possible, many CMOs have launched measures to support them and paid out financial support through the existing social funds.
The revenues of the CMOs for 2020 are expected to be significantly lower in many areas than in previous years. For example, CMOs lost revenues from royalties for music, television and radio programmes often played in public at restaurants, gyms and numerous other establishments because these venues were closed.
The pandemic made the work of the CMOs more difficult: Meetings of the supervisory bodies and their committees as well as general meetings had often to be postponed or held online.
We also keep the register of anonymous and pseudonymous works. The purpose of this register is to grant the regular period of protection under the Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz) to those authors who published their work anonymously or under a pseudonym. It prescribes that copyright in a work normally expires 70 years after the death of the author. However, for anonymous works or works published under a pseudonym, the author is often unknown so that copyright in those works expires 70 years after creation or publication of the work. By registering the real name of the author in the register, copyright protection can be extended to the general period of protection. A detailed overview can be found in the chapter “Statistics”.
Under certain conditions, CMOs may also license rights to certain out-of-commerce works, i.e. works that are no longer available. This allows non-profit organisations (e.g. museums, libraries, archives) to make them available to the public in a digitised format. Through the entry in the register of out-of-commerce works, the author of the work (and thus the right holder) learns of the CMO’s intention to license the work and can object to the management of the rights by the CMO. The register is freely accessible via our website. By the end of 2020, 33,000 works were registered.