Background of Publishers‘ Participation

Following a decision by the Berlin Higher Regional Court in the matter of publisher participation dated 14 November 2016 (Az./file no. 24 U 96/14), publishers are currently called upon to confirm the legal relations with their authors vis-à-vis GEMA with regards to the works they represent. From 1 February until 13 January 2018, publishers have submitted the necessary information and documentation to GEMA.

GEMA has set up an Electronic Confirmation Process (ECP) for the joint rights administration of authors and publishers which is available since 01 February 2017 at www.gema.de/ecp . Publisher members can choose this process to provide evidence and confirmations on a share-per-work basis for the repertoire published by them that they have assigned the relevant rights to GEMA themselves, or that a participation has been agreed with the author, and submit the required documents.

On 24 December 2016, an amendment to the Act on Collective Management Organisations (VGG / CMO Act) in relation to the participation of publishers came into force. It allows GEMA to let authors and publishers jointly participate in exploitation rights again in future, irrespective of the rights flow. In its December 2016 meeting, the Supervisory Board had supported that the legal relationships between author and publisher with regards to payments on a share-per-work level should be verified individually, and had thus decided that the ECP should be set up. The ECP will also be necessary in future, after the amendment to the law, as the law does not affect the past.

Publishers can only keep their payments received since July 2012 until the amendment to the law entered into force on 24 December 2016 if they have submitted the relevant evidence via the ECP. Furthermore, the express permission of the author for the participation of the publisher must be presented in the ECP in future. GEMA recommends that its members obtain and submit the relevant declarations even for future payments in relation to exploitation rights in order to avoid any residual risks.