|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.37, 11.10.01, p17|
FIRST PARA TX = Publishers claim a draft German copyright law would create chaos in one of the EU's biggest markets by allowing authors to demand extra payments for work they did up to 20 years ago.
The law, which industry fears could become a model for European contracts, is designed to strengthen the negotiating position of authors and performers in Germany by allowing them to challenge old contracts in the courts if they believe they did not receive "fair remuneration".
But the European Publishers Council, a group of industry CEOs and chairmen, says the law would be another blow to investment in books, papers and magazines - already suffering from the economic downturn and the aftermath of 11 September.
Francisco Balsemao, chairman of Portuguese media firm Impresa, said publishers would not know in advance how much a contract was going to cost them. Writers would lose out because firms would be forced to give less generous royalties in future to recoup unexpected new claims - with future deals "being based on the lowest common denominator". "The change will interfere in commercial contract law and affect not only German publishers but media firms across the EU, since more and more copyright cases have an international dimension," said Balsemao.
Worse, he fears the German model could find favour in a European Commission-led debate into the need for EU rules governing the freedom of contact. The Commission is seeking comments on the issue and is likely to report back early next year.
Publishers claim a draft German copyright law would create chaos in one of the EU's biggest markets by allowing authors to demand extra payments for work they did up to 20 years ago.
|Subject Categories||Internal Markets|
|Countries / Regions||Germany|