Legal basis

Legal basis

The legal basis for our activity is anchored in the Copyright Act as well as in the Act on Collective Management Organisations.

Important laws and terms


Copyright Act

In the Copyright Act, neighbouring rights are referred to as "related protection rights", exhibiting similarities to authors' rights.

They apply to performers and producers of a work. It was not until 1965 that neighbouring rights were incorporated into the Copyright Act.

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Act on Collective Management Organisations

The so-called Act on Collective Management Organisations is also important to our work.

It defines how collective management organisations have to carry out their activities as fiduciaries, e.g. distribution regulations preventing an arbitrary allocation of remuneration must be determined with the involvement of the delegates in the respective committees.

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Secondary exploitation rights

We manage the so-called secondary exploitation rights on behalf of our members and collect the resulting statutory remuneration in order to pass it on to the artists, producers and event organisers. 

While secondary exploitation rights are collectively managed by GVL on behalf of its members, the primary exploitation is characterised by individual contractual provisions between the rights owners and the rights users.

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German Patent and Trademark Office

The German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), which in turn is under the control of the Federal Ministry of Justice, is the supervisory authority for all collective management organisations in Germany - including GVL. Representatives of the DPMA take part in Board meetings, associate meetings and members' meetings. The constant communication exchange between DPMA and GVL illustrates the constructive and critical supervision by the DPMA.

Arbitration body

The arbitration body is established within the DPMA. It shall consist of the Chairperson or their representative, and two observers. It may be called upon by any of the affected parties in the following cases of dispute where GVL is involved:

  1. The exploitation of performances which are protected by copyright law 
  2. The obligation to pay a fee for devices and storage media pursuant to Art. 54 of the German Copyright Act or the operator’s fee pursuant to Art. 54c of the German Copyright Act, 
  3. The conclusion or the amendment of a general agreement.

Any contributing party can also appeal to the arbitration body in the case of disputes involving a broadcaster and a cable operator, if the dispute concerns the obligation to contract in relation to cable-retransmission (Art. 87 para 5 of the German Copyright Act).

GVL, as a collective management organisation, may appeal to the arbitration body to have it carry out an independent, empirical investigation in order to establish the relevant exploitation pursuant to Art. 54A of the German Copyright Act. Furthermore, any contributing party can appeal to the arbitration body in the case of disputes between a collective management organisation which has its registered office in Germany, which assigns online rights in musical works on a cross-border basis, and online service providers, rights owners or other collective management organisations, as long as the rights and duties of the contributing parties are affected pursuant to part 3 or Art. 34 para 1, phrase 2 para 2, Art. 36, Art. 39 or Art. 43 VGG (Collecting Societies’ Act).