Bereich DPMA

Supervision under the CMO Act

Composers, painters, directors — they are entitled to fair royalties for the use of their works. Collective management organisations ensure that the authors receive the royalties. The DPMA, too, plays an important role in this system.

Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar
A comprehensive collection of protected works: Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar

Collective management organisations (CMOs) are associations under private law in which authors have joined who are active in the area of composition or fine arts, for example, and/or holders of related rights (Leistungsschutzrechte), such as participants in a theatrical performance or a film production. Every use of a work protected by copyright basically requires the prior permission of the rightholder. Yet, especially where works are used abundantly, it is actually impossible to obtain such a permission in any individual case. In addition, the authors often do not have knowledge of the respective uses and thus cannot assert any claim to the royalties to which they are entitled. For this reason, collective management organisations manage the rights of creative people collectively. To do so, they grant licences for the works managed by them, monitor their use and collect royalties that are subsequently distributed to the rightholders on the basis of distribution schemes.

As the collective management organisations are mostly specialised in one sector (for example, GEMA is specialised in musical works, 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 rightholders, CMOs are subject to government supervision by the DPMA pursuant to the Collective Management Organisations Act (CMO Act — Verwertungsgesellschaftengesetz). In Germany, 13 collective management organisations are currently authorised by the DPMA to conduct business. In 2021, they generated total revenues of 1,731.503 million euros. The amount accounted for by each collective management organisation is listed in the table.

Revenues of the collective management organisations in 2021
1 Revenues include income from licences and claims to remuneration, income from interest and securities and other operating income.
Collective Management Organisations Total budget 1 in 2021
GEMA Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung €1,038.904m
GVL Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten mbH €248.604m
VG Wort Verwertungsgesellschaft WORT, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung €161.881m
VG Bild-Kunst Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung €70.174m
VG Musikedition Verwertungsgesellschaft Musikedition, rechtsfähiger Verein kraft Verleihung €9.093m
GÜFA Gesellschaft zur Übernahme und Wahrnehmung von Filmaufführungsrechten mbH €5.793m
VFF Verwertungsgesellschaft der Film- und Fernsehproduzenten mbH €40.571m
VGF Verwertungsgesellschaft für Nutzungsrechte an Filmwerken mbH €10.040m
GWFF Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten mbH €56.097m
AGICOA GmbH AGICOA Urheberrechtsschutz-Gesellschaft mbH €29.305m
Corint Media Corint Media GmbH €55.698m
TWF Treuhandgesellschaft Werbefilm mbH €5.311m
GWVR Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Veranstalterrechten mbH €31,514.00
Total €1,731.503m

In 2021, to also adjust copyright law to increasing digitisation, the legislator reformed a number of fields of law of the collective management organisations by implementing the Digital Single Market Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/790 of 17 April 2019). Since then, there has been the option to grant collective licences with extended effect (extended collective licensing – ECL) based on the model of the Scandinavian countries. In accordance with sections 51 et seq. of the CMO Act, collective management organisations can thus grant rights of what are referred to as external rightholders, i.e. creative people who have not entered into a management agreement with any collective management organisation so far. Compared to the provisions in most Scandinavian countries, the German legislator has decided not to provide for a special authorisation or other approval procedure at the DPMA. Accordingly, collective management organisations can grant ECLs on the basis of their original management authorisation. Some collective management organisations already use the new licensing option; they have provided information on the internet and have published tariffs.

The DPMA is also responsible for the supervision over authorised entities under the Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz). Authorised entities are institutions which offer educational material or provide information products and texts in an accessible format to people with a visual impairment or reading disability on a non-profit basis (for example, libraries for the blind). Pursuant to the statutory permission under section 45c of the Copyright Act, such entities may convert published literary works and sheet music into an accessible format and make them available to other authorised entities or to people with a visual impairment or reading disability. Authorised entities are required to notify the DPMA of their activities. For this purpose, the DPMA provides a notification form on its website. An accessible list of all 24 authorised entities currently notified (in German) and FAQ providing further information on authorised entities (in German) are also available.

The DPMA also keeps the register of anonymous and pseudonymous works. In this register, authors of works published anonymously or under a pseudonym can register their real name and thus have copyright protection extended to the general term of protection of 70 years after the author’s death (section 66 of the Copyright Act). The only purpose of the register of anonymous and pseudonymous works is to extend the term of protection. Yet it does not contain a documentation of all works protected by copyright. For current statistical data, please see the table in the “Statistics” chapter.