Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

You can find answers to the most important questions by licence. Rights users of sound recordings about GVL here.


GVL issues licences to broadcasters for the exploitation of commercially published sound recordings and music videos on the radio and on TV, in accordance with the rights assigned to it for administration. Read more

Public performance

Communication to the public, or public performance, such as in restaurants, hotels or discotheques is also known as "Kneipenrecht" in Germany ("pub rights"). In line with the statutory remuneration entitlement, public performance is subject to a licence fee. GVL licences the usage in the name of its members vis-à-vis the rights users. Read more

Direct reproduction

GVL issues licences for making copies of commercially published sound recordings and music videos in certain areas pursuant to the rights that have been assigned to it for administration, e.g. to manufacturers of blank media and recording devices. Read more

External reproduction

For the reproduction and copying of commercially published sound recordings and music video clips, GVL mandates external partners such as ZPÜ in certain categories with the collection of licence fees in accordance with the rights that have been assigned to GVL for administration purposes. Read more

Rental and lending

If a commercially published sound recording or a music video clip are available for rental or lending, provided they have a profit-making purpose, remuneration rights arise for contributing performers, producers or event organisers. In such cases, the party that is renting or lending the item must pay fees for this kind of exploitation based on the "rental tariff". Read more

Web radio and in-store radio

The exploitation of commercially published sound recordings via web radios is subject to a fee. If you operate a web radio you must therefore register with GEMA and GVL. Since GEMA and GVL represent different groups of rights owners, you need to acquire both licences in order to use the music. Read more

Cable retransmission

Cable re-transmission refers to the re-transmission of a programme via cable systems or microwave systems. The so-called "Munich Group” manages the collection on behalf of GVL; they are an association of collective management organisations licensing the relevant rights. Read more

Website background music

If you want to use music as background music on your website, you can acquire the respective licence from GVL. You can view all necessary details regarding the scope of the licence and the tariff below. Read more

Private film production

In the case of producing non-commercial or private films, a fee must be paid for the use of productions protected by neighbouring rights. Read more


General agreements and collection agreements

Why does GVL not issue all licences directly?

GVL has concluded representation agreements with other collective management organisations and general agreements with various institutions in order to save administration costs. Rights users, rights holders and the collective management organisations benefit from the standard collection and licensing procedure. Read more

What are collection agreements?

A collective management organisation can instruct another one to manage the rights it represents and to collect the licence fee from the user.

What are collection agreements?

A collective management organisation can instruct another one to manage the rights it represents and to collect the licence fee from the user.

Non-commercial web radio

Why do I need to register my web radio with GEMA and GVL?

Artistic performances and contributions by creators and performing artists, such as musicians or singers is governed by the Copyright Act. Pursuant to the latter, composers and artists must receive remuneration when their rights are exploited. GEMA and GVL take on this task: GEMA manages the rights of composers and lyricists (creators), GVL represents performers (singers, musicians etc.) and producers of sound recordings. As a consequence, it is necessary to obtain a licence from GEMA and GVL. GVL licenses the music recordings used in a web radio service published or released on sound recordings (e.g. CDs) or by on-demand-services (e.g. Musicload or iTunes). GVL's duty to issue a licence applies irrespective of whether the statutory term of protection under copyright for composers and lyricists is still in force or has expired already. 

What do I have to do in order to run my hobby radio in a legal manner?

Please note that online streaming service providers only supply the technical framework; they cannot issue licences covering neighbouring rights. You as the operator - i.e. the "maker" - of the web radio are responsible to obtain such a licence. 

To sum up: you need to follow these five steps in order to legitimately go "on air":


  • Install the technical framework (studio, technical requirements) for your web radio.
  • Register an online stream.
  • Register your web radio with GVL (as well as with GEMA). Use the official GVL registration form to obtain a licence.
  • If GVL has no objections relating to your registration, you may begin with your broadcasting activities immediately. GVL issues invoices to you on a quarterly basis (retroactively).
  • If you cease to operate your web radio, you must terminate the GVL contract (and the GEMA contract); this is possible at the end of a month. 
How much does a web radio cost (licence fee)?

Licence fees are calculated in accordance with GVL's current tariff for webcasting (available here). The tariff distinguishes between commercial and non-commercial services. Determining factors for the calculation of licence fees are, among others, the daily broadcasting duration, the average audience size and the number of the music titles stored for webcasting purposes. 

Calculation example 

A web radio that 

  • broadcasts 12 hours per day via one channel, 
  • has a sound recording share subject to GVL fees of 81 - 100%,
  • has an average of 12 listeners per hour in Germany and 
  • creates and stores 500 MP3 titles on its hard disk for broadcast operations 

would pay the following: 

  • EUR 275 broadcasting fees per year 
  • + EUR 62.50 reproduction fees for the musical pieces per year (= Eur 0.125 per title/year) 
  • + EUR 23.63 equals 7% VAT 
  • = EUR 361.13 TOTAL (gross)

If you divide this by 12 months, you obtain a GVL licence fee of EUR 30.09 per month. GVL issues an invoice every three months amounting to EUR 90.28. (add to that the GEMA licence fees you need to pay separately).