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Supervision under the Collective Management Organisations Act

Every use of a work protected by copyright – such as copying of a text or communication of a musical work to the public – generally requires prior permission by the author. In particular, in the case of the mass use of works, it is virtually impossible to seek permission in each individual case. Furthermore, since the author often does not have knowledge of each particular use and consequently cannot assert claims for appropriate compensation, collective management organisations generally manage the rights of creative people collectively. Collective management organisations are associations of creative people organised under private law. They grant licenses for the works managed by them, monitor the use of these works and collect royalties in order to subsequently distribute the revenues to the right holders on the basis of distribution schemes.

As most collective management organisations have specialised in a certain field – for example, GEMA and VG Wort have specialised in musical works and literary works, respectively – they often have an actual monopoly position in their respective field. Because of this monopoly position and because they act on a trust basis for the right holders they represent, they are subject to government supervision pursuant to the Collective Management Organisations Act (Verwertungsgesellschaftengesetz), which is exercised by the DPMA.

Detailed information on the tasks and the organisations and organisations and entities to be supervised is available on the following pages.

Last updated: 22 November 2021