As is the case in other artistic fields, visual and applied art activities are covered under the Freedom of Art Guarantee of the Federal Constitution (Article 5.III GG). This provision guarantees everyone the right to freely work in the artistic domain and to strive for recognition of his / her work by the public, that is: the guarantee includes not only the “sphere of the creative work”, but also the “sphere of impact” of that work via its publication and distribution.
With regard to the dissemination and use of artistic works, the frequently amended Copyright / Authors’ Rights Law dating from September 9, 1965 (UrhG) is particularly relevant. The law includes regulations for publication, exhibition and transfer or granting the right of utilisation (e. g. via loans to museums) of artistic work. Other clauses clarify that the creator is entitled to economic returns from the use of his works (§11.2UrhG). However, an exhibition royalty demanded by artists’ organisations similar to the existing public lending right (see chapter 5.3.4) is not included in the present Copyright Law.
The Artists’ Social Insurance Act (see chapter 5.1.4) is important for all independent artists and for companies exploiting their works, by which the latter are required to pay a levy on all fees (“employer’s share”).