Copyright Initiative Austria 

VdFS is a founding member of the Copyright Initiative Austria

The Copyright Initiative Austria (IUAT) is an association of Austrian artists' associations (authors and performing artists) that is committed to improving the legal framework in the area of copyright (contract) law and collecting society law in Austria.

In particular, the initiative develops proposals to strengthen the typically less powerful negotiating position of artists vis-à-vis their contractual partners (publishers, labels, film producers, broadcasters, other exploiters) and to improve the remuneration situation of artists in Austria.

You can find all information on the initiative and its demands on the following homepage:

Collecting Society Act

New Collecting Society Act (VerwGesG 2016)

The EU Directive on the collective management of copyright and related rights and the granting of multi-territorial licenses for rights in musical works for online use in the internal market was implemented by the Austrian legislator.

The resulting need for adaptation required a comprehensive revision and reorganization of the applicable standards in a separate recodification (VerwGesG 2016).

The Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ) sent a draft of the new law for review on February 9, 2016 and set a deadline for comments until March 2, 2016.

VdFS submitted comments on the BMJ's draft law within the deadline, which can be found here.

Further comments can be found here.

The new Collecting Societies Act 2016 (VerwGesG 2016) see was passed in the National Council on April 28, 2016 and entered into force on June 1, 2016.

An amendment was also tabled in Parliament that would require collecting societies to disclose the "median income" of the rightholders in the transparency report in the future. The provision on the obligation to conclude joint overall agreements (Section 47 (2) VerwGesG 2016) was amended insofar as these must be negotiated jointly in the future at the request of the user organization (e.g., WKO), but may still be concluded separately. Otherwise, the legislator did not make any further changes to the content of the government bill.

The implementation of the requirements of the EU Directive in the new law is intended to improve the transparency of collecting societies and to facilitate the multi-territorial and cross-repertoire allocation of copyright in musical works for online distribution in the EU.

The VerwGesG 2016 includes new provisions on the operating license (while preserving previous principles), membership and corporate constitution, a concretization of rights and obligations vis-à-vis rights holders, beneficiaries and users, as well as the expansion of transparency and reporting obligations. Furthermore, new special provisions for collecting societies that grant multi-territorial licenses for online rights to musical works, the introduction of a complaint management system, the expansion of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and an expansion of the tasks of the supervision of collecting societies as well as their internationalization and strengthening are planned.

Rubey Manuel
Copyright sounds a bit old-fashioned these days, but it is an important achievement. VdFS takes care of such things and many others. And that is of course good and important.
Manuel Rubey / Actor

Political Claims of VdFS

New remuneration claims

VdFS supports the proposals and concerns of the © Initiative Urhebervertragsrecht on new claims for adequate remuneration (statutory remuneration claims). In particular, these proposals are intended to result in an improvement in the remuneration of online uses of works and performances - both on download and streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, Deezer, iTunes, Flimmit, Maxdome, etc.) and the major online platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) - for authors and performers.

In the view of the initiative, this legislative text also represents a balanced proposal that takes into account the justified interests of the exploiters and users (film producers, sound carrier manufacturers, broadcasters, streaming and download services, small and large online platforms, cable network operators, libraries, etc.) accordingly.

In this context, it is also important to consider the direct participation of authors and performing artists at the "upper end" of the exploitation chain in the uses and thus to relieve the primary copyright contract law and the good relationship between the creators and their direct contractual partners, the producers, which is important for the entire creative scene and who, as owners of derived and own rights, should also retain the decision-making and control authority.

Here is a summary of the key points (german):

Proposed wording film copyright

Among other things, the 2015 amendment to the Copyright Act also brought about the long-awaited amendment to film copyright law. However, in the view of VdFS, this amendment was disappointing and incomplete. Only the "cessio legis", which is contrary to EU law, was replaced by a rebuttable presumption rule. All of VdFS's more far-reaching proposals for a modern and balanced film copyright law were unfortunately not taken into account. For many years, filmmakers have been demanding equal treatment with other authors and performing artists in the UrhG.
The concrete proposals of VdFS are as follows:

1. Exception of the main director from the presumption rule (i.e. equal status with the screenwriter and composer of the film music).

2. Appropriate participation of filmmakers in the producers' revenues from types of use not yet known, exploitation rights granted in the future and periods of an extension of the protection period.

3. Appropriate remuneration of filmmakers for the communication of cinematographic works to the public, the retransmission of broadcasts and the rental of works by the respective users.

4. Indispensability and non-assignability of the aforementioned claims (except to VdFS).

5. Elimination of the "cessio legis" that continues to apply to film actors and its replacement by a presumption of conformity ( as with film authors).

6. Legal distribution regulation: all rights holders involved in the film work - filmmakers (copyright), actors (ancillary copyright) and producers (ancillary copyright) - are to share equally in the remuneration claims.

7. All other regulations of the UrhG that can only be explained historically and that continue to discriminate against filmmakers will be deleted without replacement.

The formulation proposal of VdFS for a fair and modern film copyright can be found here (german).

Copyright Contract Law

VdFS supports the proposals and concerns of the © Initiative Urhebervertragsrecht.

These proposals and concerns serve to strengthen the typically weaker negotiating position of creators vis-à-vis their contractual partners (publishers, labels, film producers, broadcasters, other exploiters) and are therefore of particular relevance to all writers, translators, composers, performing musicians, filmmakers, actors, visual artists and many other authors and performers in Austria.

From the point of view of the initiative, the text of the law represents a balanced proposal that also takes into account the justified interests of the user side.

Here is a summary of the key points (german):

Find more information here (german): Initiative Urhebervertragsrecht

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