Publishers’ participation in pay-outs
Pursuant to Art. 27a VGG (CMO Act), an express consent of the authors is necessary for a future participation of publishers in the statutory remuneration claims. In order to be able to continue the well-established cooperation between authors and publishers, authors must therefore grant the publishers an express consent and the publishers must submit this confirmation to GEMA.
Following the amendment to the Act on Collective Management Organisations (VGG/CMO Act), GEMA has - since 24 December 2016 - been allowed to participate authors and publishers again in exploitation rights in future just as before - jointly and irrespective of the rightsflow. GEMA does, however, recommend in order to avoid any residual risks, to collect a confirmation declaration nevertheless and to submit it to GEMA via the ECP.
Regarding the past, the legal situation based on the decision of the Higher Regional Court Berlin dated 14 November 2016 continues to be in force. Publishers may therefore only keep their payments received since July 2012 until the amendment to the law entered into force on 24 December 2016 if the author has expressly consented to this in a confirmation declaration.
By way of the ECP, GEMA offers its publishers and authors a standardised process which simplifies the confirmation of the publisher participation. Carrying out the ECP is also absolutely essential in order to avoid a reversal or clawback of past pay-outs. By way of using template forms such as the confirmation declaration and the standardised query for mandatory information in the ECP, the forthcoming data volume can be processed better and faster.
With immediate effect, publishers can download electronic work lists at www.gema.de/ecp via the ECP and enter the necessary details on the legal relationships between authors and the publisher. From 01 March 2017 onwards, the completed lists can be submitted to GEMA together with a declaration of indemnification which the publisher will have to issue, and the respective confirmation declarations, via www.gema.de/ecp.
In the course of the legal re-organisation of the publishers’ pay-outs participation, the General Assembly 2017 has instituted the Author-Publisher-Arbitration Committee. The Author-Publisher-Arbitration Committee is an internal dispute resolution body, which is composed of representatives of the three professional categories and by a Chairman. It can be invoked by the author or the publisher in instances of a dispute on the question whether publishers’ services have been fulfilled.
The Author-Publisher-Arbitration Committee adjudges in the context of a settlement ruling whether publishers’ services has been fulfilled and therefore whether the publisher is to participate in the distribution of royalties for the work.
For further information please download the Guideline for members and the FAQ for the Author-Publisher-Arbitration Committee.
If you are an author of a published work, you can contact your publisher and - as long as this is in line with the agreement you have in place with said publisher - confirm to them that you would like a continuation of the publisher participation. Whether a publisher is entitled to receive such a confirmation declaration for pay-outs in relation to exploitation rights and statutory remuneration entitlements depends on the provisions and circumstances of your publishing agreement.
If you are a publisher, now is the time for you to act. This applies:
a. if you directly assign rights to GEMA as a publisher. In such cases, you must provide evidence and confirm in future that you have assigned such rights to GEMA yourself/directly.
b. if you have entered into an agreement on your participation as a publisher. In such cases, you must check the agreement in place with the author or agree on and provide a confirmation declaration with the author. As a result of the court decision, GEMA is no longer allowed to make the general assumption that such agreements between publishers and composers have been entered into. GEMA is providing a template for such a confirmation declaration at www.gema.de/verlegerbeteiligung.
Here, we have outlined a list of all the important upcoming deadlines, supporting information and FAQs.