After mis­sed Noti­fi­ca­ti­on — Ger­man Legis­la­tor is deman­ded

Ger­man Government fai­led to noti­fy Ger­man Press Publis­her ́s Right in 2013 and is requi­red to pass new Euro­pean Press Publis­her ́s Right immedia­te­ly.

Press Release
Ber­lin, 2019-09-12

The Court of Jus­ti­ce of the Euro­pean Uni­on (CJEU) ruled today that the Ger­man Government was obli­ged to noti­fy the 2013 Ger­man Press Publis­her ́s Right accord­ing to the Infor­ma­ti­on Directive(case num­berC-299/17). Befo­re refer­ring the case to the CJEU the Regio­nal Court of Ber­lin had alrea­dy sta­ted that the action of VG Media against Goog­le was „at least part­ly well foun­ded“. The decisi­on con­trasts starkly with the state­ments of the Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on, several mem­ber sta­tes as well as the Ger­man government, accord­ing to which a noti­fi­ca­ti­on was not requi­red.

Mar­kus Run­de, CEO VG Media: „The decisi­on only con­cerns the past and does not con­tain any state­ments in regard to the influ­ence of the DSM Direc­ti­ve of April 2019 on the refer­red ques­ti­ons to the CJEU. The­re­fo­re, the decisi­on only covers the peri­od bet­ween the year 2013 and 17 April 2019. The impact of the decisi­on on the pen­dent pro­cee­dings will have to be asses­sed. Fur­ther­mo­re, the decisi­on does not influ­ence the new­ly pas­sed Euro­pean Press Publis­her ́s Right of the DSM Direc­ti­ve (Art. 15). The decisi­on is tech­ni­cal and dif­fi­cult to grasp. This is aggra­va­ted by the fact that the cir­cum­s­tan­ces have chan­ged com­ple­te­ly sin­ce the case was refer­red to the CJEU. During this peri­od the Euro­pean law­ma­kers pas­sed a uni­on-wide Press Publis­her ́s Right that will have to be app­lied in all mem­ber sta­tes. This new Euro­pean Press Publis­her ́s Right favours the Press Publis­hers by con­fer­ring wider and robust rights than the 2013 Ger­man law. The fail­u­re to noti­fy the old law is alrea­dy old news. We look for­ward to enfor­cing the new rights. The Press Publis­hers soli­cit an immedia­te har­mo­ni­sa­ti­on of the Euro­pean Press Publis­her ́s Right in Ger­ma­ny as this is the only way to gua­ran­tee a free and demo­cra­tic press. Goog­le and other plat­form busi­nes­ses should remu­ne­ra­te the Press Publis­hers for the use of their con­tent. If the plat­form busi­nes­ses con­ti­nue to igno­re the remu­ne­ra­ti­on obli­ga­ti­ons, which should take into con­si­de­ra­ti­on the tur­no­ver of the plat­forms, the Ger­man Press Publis­hers will be for­ced to initia­te court pro­cee­dings once again.

Back­ground infor­ma­ti­on: The Ger­man par­lia­ment pas­sed the natio­nal Press Publis­her ́s Right in the year 2013. Accord­ing to the sta­tu­tes in ques­ti­on, search engi­ne ope­ra­tors and aggre­ga­tors of press pro­ducts are obli­ged to pay a fair remu­ne­ra­ti­on for the use of digi­tal press pro­ducts. The pro­cee­dings at the Regio­nal Court of Ber­lin con­cern the legal enfor­ce­ment of the Ger­man Press Publis­her ́s Right against Goog­le LLC, Moun­tain View, Cali­for­nia. The pro­cee­dings beca­me necessa­ry as Goog­le in princip­le oppo­sed the obli­ga­ti­on to pay a fair remu­ne­ra­ti­on for using digi­tal press pro­ducts. In the case that Goog­le now again refu­ses to con­clu­de a licen­se agree­ment with VG Media, the Regio­nal Court of Ber­lin would have to deci­de on claims of VG Media con­cer­ning the dis­clo­sure of tur­no­ver and dama­ges. Befo­re refer­ring the case to the CJEU the Regio­nal Court of Ber­lin had alrea­dy sta­ted that the action of VG Media against Goog­le was „at least part­ly well foun­ded“. Should pro­cee­dings con­ti­nue in front of the Regio­nal Court of Ber­lin Goog­le would be orde­red to pay dama­ges and to dis­c­lo­se its tur­no­ver in Ger­ma­ny to the public for the first time. Other pro­cee­dings against Goog­le as for instance a com­p­laint of several Ger­man Press Publis­hers with the DG Comp of the Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on con­cer­ning the abu­se of power will con­ti­nue none­theless.

The Ger­man Press Publis­her ́s Right is a role model for the Euro­pean Press Publis­her ́s Right inclu­ded in the DSM Direc­ti­ve pas­sed April this year. Mem­ber Sta­tes are obli­ged to har­mo­ni­se the Euro­pean law into natio­nal legis­la­ti­on wit­hin the next 21 mon­ths.

VG Media is a Ger­man collec­ti­ve manage­ment orga­ni­sa­ti­on and mana­ges copy­rights and neigh­bou­ring rights for almost all pri­va­te natio­nal broad­cas­ters and for 200 Press Publis­hers.

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