German Culture Minister Announces Copyright Reform
German Culture Minister Announces Copyright Reform
Frank Briegmann, Left, of Universal Germany and BVMI with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who held informal discussions on German copyright law (Photo: Michael Kucharski, Universal Music)

BERLIN - Bernd Neumann the German minister of culture and media of the conservative CDU party, announced at press conference German copyright law reforms. Neumann stressed that all legal judgments would take the author as the starting point for all copyright litigation, adding that there was no justification for revising copyright law in favor of users.

The statement was made in reaction to Germany Green Party, which has proposed a flat culture tax that would allow users more access and usage of copyright materials.

The Minister said that in the digital age free access to copyrighted works could not come at the expense of creative people. Neumann also pointed out that internet service providers should bear some of the responsibility in protecting intellectual property, and that the ways in which they could be "held accountable" needed to be developed further.

Neumann called for a warning system, much like France's HADOPI laws, which would first caution offenders giving them the chance to change their behavior before serious legal consequences came into effect.

At the media night in Berlin Frank Briegmann, member of the board at the association of the German music industry (BVMI) and president Universal Music Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Deutsche Grammophon, had an informal talk with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bernd Neumann.

Briegmann told Billboard, that they discussed how the future of the content industry depended on the fast implementation of modernized copyright legislation. "The cultural damage would be irreparable if artists and creative people who were trying to make a living from their art could no longer support themselves with the income generated by others exploiting their work and in a worst case scenario had to stop their creative work altogether. The economical consequences for large parts of the cultural and creative industry would be incalculable without the enforcement of appropriate copyright legislation."

German music-publishers are disappointed the reform of the copyright law has taken so long and that the alterations in favor of copyright owners will only come into effect after the elections in 2013.

Dr. Heinz Stroh, managing director of the German music-publishers association (DMV) in Bonn said to Billboard: "It is about time that the providers [ISP] take responsibility. We hope that the talks at the G8 summit this week in France will lead to solutions for a better protection of copyright owners and put pressure upon the European member countries."

Angela Merkel said in the German parliament, der Bundestag, on Thursday, that she will discuss the problems about the protection of the authors on the internet at the G8 summit meeting with the leaders of France, United Kingdom and Italy this week in Deauville, France.

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