13 May 2014

Berlin Regional Court confirms publisher’s right to GEMA payouts

In its ruling dated May 13, 2014 (file number 16 O 75/13), the Berlin Regional Court dismissed in full the action of two authors against GEMA regarding the publishers’ share of GEMA payouts.
The claimants had asserted that they were entitled to the publisher’s share as well as the author’s share, as usage rights had been assigned solely by the authors. They considered it as irrelevant that, the claimants themselves in their publishing contract with the publishers in question,  had agreed a division of the proceeds in accordance with the GEMA allocation formula as a return service for the work carried out by the publishers. The Court did not accept this argument and agreed with GEMA. The Court ruled that payouts are admissible irrespective of the flow of rights in a divergent contractual agreement and are not  considered arbitrary within the meaning of the copyright administration act.  In addition, the Court held that a collecting society was not in the position to verify the flow of rights. The judgement is not yet legally binding. GEMA represents the copyrights of more than 67,000 members (composers, lyricists, and music publishers) in Germany, as well as those of over two million copyright holders all over the world. It is one of the largest societies of authors for works of music worldwide. Press contact:
Ursula Goebel, Head of Marketing & Communication
E-Mail: ugoebel@gema.de, Tel: +49 89 48003-426