4. Law and legislation
Last update: March, 2020
At present, the Federal Constitution for the Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz – GG) includes one phrase referring to culture and the arts: "The arts and science, research, and teaching shall be free." (Article 5.III GG). According to the interpretation of the Constitutional Court, this clause not only stipulates a right for creative artists to be protected from state interference but also mandates the state to preserve and promote culture and the arts.
This principle was explicitly reaffirmed in Article 35 of the 1990 Unification Treaty. In the past two decades, there have been efforts to insert a more precise "cultural clause" or to include culture among the main goals of the state in the federal constitution. The last of these proposals was issued in 2005 by the Commission of Inquiry set up by the German Parliament entitled “Culture in Germany”. In contrast to the Federal Constitution, the majority of the federal states' (Länder) Constitutions address the arts and culture more specifically – the only exception being the city-state of Hamburg. Three of the federal states (Länder) – Bavaria, Brandenburg and Saxony – include culture among the main goals of the state in clauses such as: "Bavaria is a legal, cultural and social state" (Article 3.I). Similar or identical to the clause in Article 3.III GGof the Federal Constitution, basic protective rights are found in 11 of the federal states' (Länder) Constitutions. Furthermore, provisions regarding authors' rights can also be found in e. g. the constitution of Hessen: "The rights of authors, inventors and artists enjoy the protection of the state." (Article 46)
Most constitutions of the federal states (Länder) include pledges for public support of the arts or cultural development, e. g. in clauses such as: "The Land protects and supports cultural life" (Berlin, Article 20.II). In addition, many of the Constitutions oblige the authorities to foster public involvement in the arts and culture, e. g. "The whole people should be given the opportunity to make use of the cultural goods of life." (Rhineland-Palatinate, Article 40.III)
Many federal states' (Länder) constitutions include legal obligations with regard to specific public responsibilities, such as in the field of heritage protection or adult education and some mention the promotion and protection of cultural traditions of ethnic minorities. In a wider context, some clauses propose cultural goals for the educational system, such as in the constitution of Bavaria: "Openness to everything that is just, good and beautiful" (Article 131.II) or Thuringia: "Peace-loving and living together with other cultures and peoples" (Article 22).
In May 2019 the 70th anniversary of the Federal Constitution was celebrated.
Last update: March, 2020
In general, there are no legal provisions governing cultural financing in Germany, which would indicate the specific amount and / or means to distribute public funds. Exceptions are the Act on the Cultural Areas in Saxony (Sächsisches Kulturraumgesetz), which provides for joint funding of cultural endeavours of regional or supra-regional importance by the Land, the counties and the municipalities. As well as a cultural treaty for the federal capital, which defines the funds to be allocated by the Federal Government to cultural institutions and activities in Berlin. With the amendment to Saxony Law in the summer of 2008, the cultural areas were, arranged differently and, most importantly, the time limit on the Act was lifted and endowed with a minimum annual budget of EUR 86,7 million.
Additional commitments can be found in the laws establishing public foundations, such as the Federal Culture Foundation or the Foundation for Prussian Heritage and the Foundation "Classic Weimar", with the latter being governed jointly by federal (Bund) and federal state (Länder) authorities. There are special laws or regulations governing the respective cultural foundations in many of the federal states (Länder). Beyond these exceptions, the funding for cultural institutions and general cultural activities supported by the federal (Bund) and federal state (Länder) authorities is regulated via the annual parliamentary budget appropriations. The same procedures apply for most of the federal states' (Länder) allocations to local cultural institutions and for the cultural budgets of cities and counties.
Last update: March, 2020
Artists and journalists / authors in the Federal Republic of Germany enjoy comprehensive social security coverage. When employed, they are covered under the general social security regimes. Self-employed artists and journalists / authors are obliged to join the Artists' Social Insurance Fund (KSK). The special protection for self-employed artists and journalists / authors provided for under the Artists' Social Insurance Act (KSVG) which came into force on August 2nd, 1983 encompasses statutory health, long-term or old age care and pension insurance. Like employees, the artists and journalists / authors must only pay half of the social insurance contribution.
The funds for the other fifty percent are provided by a federal subsidy (20%) and 30% are financed by the artists' social security contribution. To that effect, the enterprises are charged with an artists' social insurance levy (Künstlersozialabgabe) on all fees and royalties paid, whose level is subject to annual adjustments. For example, the levy reached 5.8% in 2005 and then decreased in the following years to 4.1 % in 2013. In 2018 this levy reached 4.2 %. Around 189,000 people are currently insured in the social insurance scheme for artists.
Through another amendment of the Artists' Social Security Law that came into effect in June 2007, the financial basis of the Fund was improved by broader coverage and a stricter examination of all contributors, including the artists as beneficiaries. In September 2008, the attempt of some federal states (Länder) in the Bundesrat to abolish the Social Security Act for Artists failed, due to a broadly supported protest against such plans both from cultural policy makers of all parties and from culture and artists' associations. 2018 also saw the failure of a company's constitutional complaint against the artists' social security contribution, which was supported by the Taxpayers' Association (Bund Deutscher Steuerzahler).
On 1st January 2015, the Artists' Social Insurance Stabilisation Act (Künstlersozialabgabenstabilierungsgesetz) came into force. The aim is to insure the regular review and advisory services of the employers concerning the social insurance levy, in order to stabilise the rate of charge and to pursue levy justice. Now the German pension insurance compulsorily audits all undertakings (companies) and employers every 4 years, who have more than 19 employees that are already registered at KSK.
Last update: March, 2020
Indirect state support for the arts and culture in the form of tax breaks is not laid down in a separate piece of legislation but instead consists of a multitude of regulations contained in various specialised acts. In the case of VAT, some cultural products (such as books) are subject to a lower rate of 7% instead of the standard 19%; under certain conditions, public cultural operations and non-profit activities (e. g. theatre performances) are exempt from VAT and corporate tax altogether.
Since January 1st, 2000, an Act on the Taxation of Foundations is in force, which includes tax incentives for the establishment of and donations to foundations. In recent years, additional tax breaks have been incorporated into the law governing donations, and the tax exempt ceiling for income from voluntary activity (the so-called standard exemption for course instructors) has been raised and extended to apply to other groups.
The reform of the Law on Non-profit Character and Donations in July 2007 eases taxation of civic commitment. Amongst others, donations remain free from income tax to a limit of 20% and the tax free allowance for the establishment of foundations was raised from 300 000 EUR to 1 million EUR.
In July 2014 the German Parliament has passed a bill to reduce the taxation of audio books from 19 % to 7 % (just as printed books), it came into force in January 2015. In July 2019, the federal government passed the draft of the annual tax law. As soon as the law comes into force, e-books will also be taxed at the reduced rate of 7% (instead of 19%).
Last update: March, 2020
With the exception of the Artists' Social Insurance Act (see chapter 4.1.3), there are no special laws regarding the terms of employment for artists and other cultural workers. The general labour legislation is applied. If artists or cultural workers are employed in municipal, federal state (Länder) or federal facilities, then the public service regulations apply.
On the basis of the general Wage Agreement Law (TVG), special contracts and wage agreements for the cultural sector, including non-artistic staff, were concluded by unions and employers organisations for single artistic sectors and cultural facilities such as theatres, orchestras and music schools. The conditions of work for main occupational groups such as singers, actors, orchestra musicians etc., are laid down in these agreements. In addition, special courts of arbitration have been set up to settle employment disputes in theatres (Bühnenschiedsgericht).
The right of employees to participate in decision making processes is guaranteed through the General Worker Co-determination Laws (Mitbestimmungsrecht) and similar regulations for public service staff. However, these rights are somewhat restricted in companies such as e.g. theatres, museums or libraries as well as newspapers and broadcasters with regard to management decisions of artistic or scientific relevance (the so-called Tendenzschutz).
Of relevance for independent artists and journalists is a regulation from the 1970s: the Wage Agreement Law (§ 12a TVG), which was revised in October 2005. Under the law, freelancers who work predominantly for one company can enjoy an "employee-like" status which allows their professional organisations to conclude wage or fee agreements with their contractors.
In March 2018, the special regulations for unemployment benefit, for predominantly short-term employees were extended until 2021. This special regulation, from which many cultural workers also benefit, is now to be replaced by a solution worked out together with cultural workers from 2021 onwards.
Last update: March, 2020
In Germany, the German Copyright and Related Rights Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz - UrhG), which is still valid today, was passed in September 1965. In particular, it replaced the Law on Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works of 1901 and largely replaced the Art Copyright Law of 1907. Among other things, it provided for an extension of copyright from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author. Germany thus became an international pioneer in the extension of copyright periods.
Along with the Copyright Law, the introduction of a standard levy on audio equipment was passed in 1965 which was to be administered and distributed by the collecting societies. A levy on audio and video recording equipment was added in 1985. This applies to recording and reproduction equipment with a certain playing time and capacity. Since the form of reproduction is irrelevant in this regulation, authors and performing artists also receive levies on digital reproductions. These standard levies are collected by the collecting societies and distributed to professionals. Public lending rights were first introduced to the general Copyright Law in 1972 (Article° 27).
The Amending Law on Copyright came into effect on the 10th September 2003, which began to implement the European guidelines on Copyright in the Information Society (2001/29/EU). It makes, inter alia, the evasion of copyright for commercial and private purposes a punishable offence (§§ 95 a ff. UrhG). Further elements of the revision are the clear definition of Internet Law, in terms of Right of Public Accessibility in § 19 UrhG, and the retention, in principle, of the system of payment for private copying. It also contains adjustments to take account of the new technological developments, in particular of the digital use and distribution of artistic, literary and scholarly and scientific works.
A new reform of Copyright Law (the so-called second tranche) was passed by the Bundestag in July 2007 and continued the work on fully implementing the EU guidelines on Copyright in the Information Society (2001/29/EU). After long and intensive arguments between artists' representatives, the users, as well as the appliance industry, a compromise was reached. Afterwards, the lump-sum payment system, which adjusts charges to include a levy for private copying was reformed so that in the future, the rate of duty will be independently negotiated by the collecting societies and appliance industries. In 2009 and 2010, public debate about a restructuring of the Copyright Law intensified not only due to the new possibilities of digital production and reproduction; a "cultural flat rate" was discussed but not adopted.
In October 2012, the federal government proposed an Eighth Amending Law on Copyright. It would extend copyright for (exerting) performers and phonogram producers from 50 to 70 years. In addition, for joint productions, this period would be universally set to 70 years after the death of the longest living creator / originator. This amendment would implement an EU Directive. With the Law on orphan and out of print works the national parliament transposed the EU directive 2012/28/EU into national law in June 2013.The ancillary copyright for publishers was adopted in March 2013, which allows publishers to demand licences for any use of their articles made by third parties. In October 2015 the national ministry of justice and consumer protection presented a ministerial draft of a “Law of improved enforcement for the right of equitable remuneration for originators, authors and practicing artist".
In November 2015 the German Cabinet adopted a draft of the Collecting Societies Act to transpose the EU directive 2014/26/EU for the collective defence of the copyright and related rights and the granting of the multirepertoire licenses for rights on musical works for the online use in the internal market and the amending of procedure concerning the remuneration of technical equipment and storage media.
In March 2018 the Copyright Science Society Act (“Urheberrechts-Wissenschaftsgesellschafts-Gesetz”) came into force. It newly regulates which acts of use under copyright law are legally permitted in the field of education and science without requiring the consent of the authors and other rights holders (so-called copyright limitations).
In April 2019 – after two and a half years of intensive discussion - the Copyright Directive was adopted, in which the copyright regulations were adapted for the digital market. The ancillary copyright law for press publishers and the copyright responsibility of platforms were particularly discussed. It also contains numerous new regulations on publisher participation, copyright contract law, digital use in the educational sector and the availability of out-of-print works.
Last update: March, 2020
In Germany, the state of Hesse opened data legislation in 1970 with the world's first data protection law. At federal level, the first version of the Federal Data Protection Act came into force in January 1978.
The German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG), together with the data protection laws of the federal states and other area-specific regulations, regulates the handling of personal data that is processed in information and communication systems or manually. It implements the Data Protection Directive, which will be repealed and replaced by the Basic Data Protection Regulation. At the same time, a new version of the BDSG came into force in 2018.
In addition, the federal states' (Länder) data security laws apply on the level of state and municipal authorities. The purpose of the data security laws is to protect "the individual against an infringement of his personal rights through the misuse of his personal data" (§ 1.1BDSG). This right of "information self-determination" is considered, according to a ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, as a fundamental right of all German citizens. The basic principle of the law is a general ban on the collection, processing and use of person related data, except where explicitly permitted by law or individually approved – usually in writing – by the person concerned. Other important principles of the law include those on "data avoidance" and "data thrift" (e. g. the former Federal film statistics were abolished, in this context). A Federal Representative for Data Security and Access to Information (Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit, BfDI) and similar officials in the federal states (Länder) are responsible for supervising and guaranteeing these provisions.
On 23rd May 2001, the European directive on data protection, which defines minimum standards for data protection of EU member states, adopted by the European Parliament and by the Council of the European Union in 1995, was transposed into German national law through the amendment of the Federal Data Protection Act (“BDSG”). However, as the Federal Republic of Germany failed to adopt this transposition within three years after the enactment of the European directive, the European Commission initiated an infringement procedure against the Federal Republic of Germany.
Moreover, in 2005 the European Commission criticised the German implementation of the European directivein respect to contents as insufficient since the absolute independence from state interference of data protection supervision is not satisfied. Up to now, the BfDI had been under legal supervision of the Federal Government and administrative supervision of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)and resorted moreover to the organisational and administrative infrastructure of the latter. Therefore, the European Commission initiated a new infringement procedure. In 2010 the European Court of Justice passed the judgement that the European directive on data protectionhad not been transposed correctly into German national law: The control of data protection in the EU member states may not be subject to any other executive state bodies, as they could possibly have a political interest in the non-compliance of data protection laws.
Since January 2016, the BfDI was restructured into an entirely independent supreme Federal authority. In the course of conversion, the legal supervision of the Federal Government as well as the administrative supervision of the Federal Ministry of the Interior will be abolished and the BfDI will remain subject to parliamentary and juridical control only. These general data protection laws are complemented and clarified by many other data regulations, e.g. in the social security domain or with regard to church life. However, the BDSG regulations are also relevant in the cultural area, where they have gained relevance e. g. in the marketing work of cultural facilities.
There are also special rules for public service broadcasters. Religious societies under public law are not subject to the Federal Data Protection Act or the data protection laws of the federal states. The Roman Catholic Church has issued an order on church data protection and the Synod of the Protestant Church in Germany has issued the EKD Data Protection Act.
Last update: March, 2020
There are no general regulations governing the representation of languages in the media. In areas with official ethnic minorities, such as Saxony, Brandenburg and Schleswig- Holstein, the languages of these minorities are represented in the media. In larger cities, especially in Berlin, in addition to single foreign-language radio channels (RFI and BBC); some programmes for ethnic minorities are produced by public broadcasters (such as SFB Multikulti or WDR 5) in alternating foreign languages. In addition, private radio and television stations feed foreign-language programmes into the cable network.
Last update: January, 2016
The (annual) finance law is currently being reviewed. There were also plans to amend areas that concern culture, for example: VAT liability for stage directors and choreographers, value added tax rate for art-trade and value added tax for educational institutions. The law was adopted in the national parliament in October 2012 but failed in the mediation committee. The federal states brought forward a new proposal in March 2013.
Last update: March, 2020
Legal aspects of cultural policy are governed by related provisions in constitutional and administrative law. These provisions, however, are not codified in a single text; they consist of a host of constitutional and statutory provisions, above all the Federal Constitution and the constitutions of the federal states (Länder), the municipal and county codes, a few specialised statutes of the federal states (Länder) relating to cultural affairs, federal legislation such as the Act on the Protection of German Cultural Heritage against Removal Abroad, the Copyright Law, the Federal Film Promotion Act and the Artists' Social Insurance Act, the Federal Archives Act and various provisions relating to cultural matters in legislation such as the Federal Building Act, the Federal Regional Planning Act and the Federal Act for the Expellees. In addition, German cultural policy is bound by the provisions of international legal instruments such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes the stipulation that "everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts …"
Moreover, the federal authorities – based on the Constitution (see chapter 4.1.1 and chapter 4.1.2) and on the jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court – lay a claim to competence originating "in the nature of the matter" where the matters in question are tasks that in a federally structured union are peculiar to the national level and cannot be effectively handled or regulated by a Land. In practice, the Federal Government and parliament derive their competence on these grounds when functions of significance for the state as a whole are at stake, such as representing the country in its entirety. This includes concrete activities in the area of promoting culture, whereby the Federal Government – aside from exceptions such as its contractual commitment to fund cultural institutions in the capital – generally only acts together with one or more federal states (Länder) or with a municipality. Prior to unification, cultural matters relating to both German states fell within the remit of the national government. Upon unification, the aspect "promotion of unity" as expressed in Article 35 of the 1990 Unification Treaty took centre stage.
The cultural competence of the federal states (Länder) is limited by the tasks of the federal authorities defined in the Federal Constitution and by the responsibilities transferred to the municipalities within the framework of "local self-government" (Article 28.2 GG), as well as by the obligation of the municipalities under many Land constitutions to cultivate and promote cultural life. In contrast to the other two levels, the competence of the federal states (Länder) is more precisely defined by provisions in their constitutions and by individual laws.
In individual federal states, specific laws on cultural promotion have been passed in recent years: In December 2014, the Cultural Promotion Act - Act for the Promotion and Development of Culture, the Arts and Cultural Education in North Rhine-Westphalia (Kulturfördergesetz) – came into force in North Rhine-Westphalia. This is a law which does not deal with one sector, but with the promotion of the entire state cultural sector. This makes North Rhine-Westphalia the first federal state to adopt a legal regulation for cultural promotion. The Cultural Promotion Act concretizes the constitutional mandate of the state and shapes it, it sets out the principles of state cultural promotion and regulates fields of action and procedures. The Act introduces two new instruments: the Cultural Promotion Plan, which defines goals and priorities at the beginning of the legislative period, and the State Cultural Report, which comments at the end of the legislative period. Together with the annual cultural promotion report, the new promotion guidelines, the evaluations of the promotion measures and the associated impact dialogues, the Act also aims to achieve greater transparency and new governance structures. In other states, the drafting of a law to promote culture is being discussed, such as Thuringia and Lower Saxony.
Specific laws on cultural matters exist at state level in the fields of archiving, monument preservation and adult education. In some federal states there are also Music School Acts (e.g. Brandenburg since 2003 and Saxony-Anhalt since 2006) and Library Acts (e.g. Thuringia since 2008, Saxony-Anhalt since 2010, Hesse since 2010, Rhineland-Palatinate since 2014 and Schleswig-Holstein since 2016). However, there are no specific legal provisions for the majority of the cultural sector, such as theatres, museums, orchestras etc. Media law is divided between the federal and state governments.
Last update: March, 2020
One of the central tasks of cultural policy is the protection and preservation of the built heritage, i.e. cultural monuments and man-made landscapes including architectural, archaeological and paleontological monuments as well as parks. At the Land level, monument protection legislation has been passed. In addition to their sovereign right to define their own tasks, the federal states (Länder) also consider it their duty to preserve such monuments and provide funds for this purpose. Municipalities are also involved in monument conservation; as a general rule, they have been assigned specific roles in this domain.
Despite the primary role of the federal states (Länder) in monument conservation, a programme at the federal level has been operating since 1950 to promote monument conservation measures in order to preserve and restore immovable cultural monuments of national significance. This involves federal co-financing of those cultural monuments that are significant for Germany as a whole. Following re-unification, the Federal Government launched several monument conservation programmes to help meet the special needs for long overdue monument conservation work in Germany's eastern federal states (Länder).
These programmes are co-financed by the Land involved. The federal (Bund) and federal state (Länder) authorities work together in the German National Committee for Monument Protection.
Private sector activities in the area of monument conservation are of great importance. There are a substantial number of volunteer monument conservators in Germany who work hand in hand with the respective public authorities. Furthermore, private funding has become indispensable in this field.
The German Foundation for the Protection of Monumentsfunctions as a useful and effective link between public and private sector activities in this area. The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK)serves as the national clearinghouse for recommendations of monuments to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Whereas monument conservation measures are designed to preserve and safeguard immovable cultural assets and thus protect this part of the nation's cultural heritage, other cultural heritage protection measures serve to protect its movable cultural treasures. These, too, are at risk of deterioration and destruction. The greatest threat to the nation's movable cultural heritage is, however, the loss of specific treasures, especially through their sale abroad.
The statutory basis for state protection against the export of cultural objects is the Act on the Protection of German Cultural Heritage against Removal Abroad. This legislation is in line with EU law, which – contrary to the generally prescribed free movement of goods within the EU internal market – expressly provides for such a restriction on trade and movement in the case of "cultural objects classified … as national cultural treasures possessing artistic, historic or archaeological value". Protected from export are objects that have been entered by the federal states (Länder) in their registers of cultural treasures and archives that possess national value. The vast majority of these objects are privately owned such as paintings, medieval books, musical instruments, archaeological objects or archives.
The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) maintains a consolidated register of cultural treasures and archives possessing national value that is compiled from the Land registers and published in the Federal Gazette. The Commissioner is also responsible for deciding whether to permit the export of such objects.
In order to safeguard national treasures, the Federal Government also assists the federal states (Länder) and the municipalities in purchasing important objects when it is feared that they may be sold abroad (see chapter 4.2.2). In contrast, in September 2008, the federal cabinet agreed to the establishment of a register of cultural assets, which is to help prevent the illegal import of cultural assets from other countries.
In November 2015, the federal cabinet passed the draft law on protection of cultural assets. So far, in Germany three laws regulated the protection of cultural assets: the Act on the Protection of German Cultural Heritage against Removal Abroad, the Act on the Return of Cultural Assets and the Act to Implement according to the Haagener Convention. The adopted amendment of the law on protection of cultural assets harmonises the different German regulation standards and transposes the EU-directive on protection of cultural assets of May 2014 into national law as well. Thus, the harmonised regulations comply with the European and international law and the requirements of data protection. The directive covers public collections, whereas private cultural assets only in case of classification as national cultural assets. The export control will be tightened by a permit requirement for cultural assets of certain categories; in addition, an import control for cultural assets transported to Germany will be exercised. The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Mediadescribes this adopted amendment of the law on protection of cultural assets as "one of the most important initiatives of cultural policy during this legislature".
The new Cultural Property Protection Act
came into force in August 2016. It
includes an evaluation of, among other things, the expenditure for the federal
states and the corresponding report was presented in January 2019. It comes to
the conclusion that the additional burdens for the federal states and the
compensatory funds of the Federal Government have been compensated, that losses
in turnover at German auction houses have not yet been detected and that export
applications are in the three-digit range.
 In April 2017 a handbook on the protection of cultural property was presented for practical use.
Last update: March, 2020
Apart from the general constitutional regulations and to the Labour Law (see chapter 4.1), there are no fixed legal provisions for the fields of music and theatre. The practical organisation of work in this domain is regulated through individual contracts between the authorities in charge of a facility or company and its manager ("Intendant"). Contracts are then drawn up between the facilities and the artistic and other staff members along the lines of general wage agreements such as the Normal Contract Stage, which summarises the main terms of employment of the different artistic groups working in a theatre. For the music schools, the general legal basis is the state supervision of the school system. In addition, the following federal states have their own Music School Acts: in Brandenburg (since 2000) and in Saxony-Anhalt (since 2006). In other federal states there are special legal provisions within the framework of other education laws, such as the Youth Education Act (Baden-Württemberg) or the School Act (in Berlin).
Last update: March, 2020
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").
Last update: March, 2020
Article 5.1 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression of opinion and is, therefore, an important legal prerequisite for the development of free and lively literature. Furthermore, this Articlestipulates that everybody has the right "to inform him / her unhindered from generally accessible sources". This could be interpreted as a duty for the state and its public facilities, in particular libraries, to provide an "unhindered" access to the literary resources administered by them. However, the right to participate in state services and educational supplies cannot be brought to court.
For a long time in Germany, legal regulations governing the public provision of appropriate facilities existed in only one federal state for a long time under the Continuing Training Assistance Act (Baden-Württemberg). There are now separate library laws in 5 federal states: first in Thuringia (since 2008), then in Saxony-Anhalt (since 2010), in Hesse (since 2010 with amendment in 2016), in Rhineland-Palatinate (since 2014) and in Schleswig-Holstein (since 2016).
In all other federal states (Länder), the general legal background for public library services is derived from the Federal Constitution (see above), the respective federal states' (Länder) constitutions as well as from regulations existing on the level of counties and other local communities. The discussion about such laws and on acts regulating the support for culture also reached the parliaments of some other federal states (Länder).
On July 1st 2007, the Act on the German National Library came into force with a stretching of the collection on the internet, certain provisions were amended in 2017. The Copyright / Authors' Right Law of 1965 (UrhG) is another legal instrument of importance in the literature and library sector. Among other items, the law regulates the rental, duplication and copying of printed products and media. Article 27 UrhGtries to balance the interests by introducing a public lending right: a library royalty paid by state authorities to authors' societies (VG Wort, GEMA, VG Bild-Kunst), which then compensate the authors as appropriate. For copying machines, Article 54 UrhGforesees a royalty both for the individual machine and for those operators which regularly use them for copying protected works. The VG Wort collects these duties from importers / traders, commercial operators and, as regards the libraries, from the federal states (Länder)
The Law on Fixed Book Prices (BuchPrbG), of 2nd September 2002, is also an important piece of legislation for literature and its dissemination. Publishing companies are obliged to fix the retail prices for their new books. This regulation is meant to safeguard a stable book market and with it a diverse supply structure, from which both the authors and readers should benefit. Since September 1st 2016, the statutory price fixing has also been binding for electronic books (e-books). It applies to all book sales in Germany and is therefore independent of the dealer's registered office.
In Germany, press law is a sub-area of media law. Press law is reserved for the legislative competence of the Länder. Consequently, the press law for each individual federal state is derived from the respective state press law. The central requirements for the press include the duty of care in journalistic matters, the obligation to provide an imprint, the labelling of advertisements and the right to counterstatements.
Last update: March, 2020
Both the Federal Government and the federal states (Länder) provide support for film. National film support has its legal base in the Federal Film Promotion Act (FFG) which entered into force in 1968 and is constantly being updated. The present version (7th amendment to the Federal Film Promotion Act) came into force on August 1st 2014. The FFG is the legal basis for the Film Promotion Agency (FFA). Among other things, it determines the responsibilities and institutional framework of the Film Promotion Agency, includes regulations concerning requirements and funding and is the legal basis for the film support fee. The FFA is tasked with providing "measures for the promotion of German films as well as for the improvement of the structure of the German film economy" and to support the overall economic interests of the film industry, to improve the basis for the promotion and evaluation in line with the marketing of German films within Germany and its economic and cultural impact in other countries as well as promoting the coordination of film support from the national and federal states level. The FFA is financed via a "film levy" raised from all industries involved in the utilisation of films: cinemas, the video industry and broadcasting companies (§ 66 following FFG). The annual budget of the FFA amounts to 78,7 million EUR (2018) and is used, to support productions, scripts, the rental and distribution of films, cinemas and video stores.
In addition to the FFA, the German film industry is also supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM). Every year, more than 130 million EUR in total flows into awards (for example, the German Film Award) and promotion programmes (support for productions, scripts, cinemas, etc.). Since 2005, the German Film Award (with prize money of 3 million EUR) is organised by the German Film Academy, founded in 2003. Furthermore, film festivals and symposia (for example, the International Film Festival Berlin), international film productions (through bilateral film agreements), as well as institutions dedicated to the restoration and preservation of film cultural heritage (for example Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin and the Deutsche Filminstitut in Frankfurt am Main) are also supported by the BKM.
The German cinema promotion amounts actually in total to 340 million EUR, made up of the promotion of FFAas well as the Federal Government (Bund) and federal states (Länder). On January 1st 2007, a new support model entitled Encouragement and consolidation of film production in Germany came into force, which offers film producers a reimbursement of 15 to 20 % of production costs, spent in Germany, on the production of a cinema film. 60 million EUR p.a. has been provided. The intention is to increase Germany's attraction as a production location for large-scale international productions.
In addition to support measures for the improvement of the artistic quality of films, federal policies in this domain include regulatory measures, e.g. concerning taxation and copyright frameworks. In that context, tax shelters for film funds were abolished in November, 2005.
The federal cabinet decided on a mandatory registration for German cinema films in October 2012. This was adopted accordingly in the Federal Archive Act (Bundesarchivgesetz). In January 2014 the Federal Constitutional Court confirms the legality of the Federal Film Promotion Act and dismisses the constitutional complaint of four internationally represented cinema chains. This constitutional complaint had been particularly brought against the so-called film levy, which provides that cinema owners have to pay between 1.8% and 3% of their net income (if more than 75.000 EUR are achieved) to the Film Promotion Agency. Through this the Federal Constitutional Court confirms the in this manner since 1968 existing promotion and levy system.
Film promotion programmes also exist at the federal state (Länder) level. These differ considerably in scope and are funded by a variety of sponsors and bodies. In order to coordinate the film policies of the federal states (Länder) with the Federal Government, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) established a Film Committee of the Länderin 1994, which involves the participation of the respective state chancelleries and economic ministries.
The statutory basis for the public radio and television corporations (financed mainly by licence fees) and the private (commercial) television broadcasters (financed by advertising revenue) is the Interstate Broadcasting Agreement concluded among the federal states (Länder). On the basis of this Agreement and within the framework of their responsibilities for radio and television broadcasting, the individual federal states (Länder) have enacted detailed provisions in their respective Land Broadcasting Acts.
The legal framework for the new information and communications technologies is defined by the Telecommunications Act, which entered into force on August 1st, 1996, the Federal Information and Communication Services Act, which entered into force on August 1st, 1997, and the essentially identically worded Interstate Broadcasting Agreement concluded among the federal states (Länder).
Last update: March, 2020
As early as 1950, a federal Law on Art for Public Buildings (Kunst am Bau) was passed to promote visual artists and to bring art into public spaces (actually, a regulation of the same name for the Reich, the federal states (Länder) and the towns already existed in 1934). The law foresaw that 1 percent – later 2 percent – of the construction budget of public buildings should be spent on works of art connected with the architecture. This regulation was reworked several times and is known today as the "K7" component of the Guidelines for the Realisation of Construction Assignments of the Federal Government (RBBau K7). At the beginning of the 1990s, the 2 percent rule was taken out of the regulation. The RBBau K7 applies only to constructions carried out on the federal level. The federal states (Länder) introduced similar regulations for constructions carried out under their responsibility, some of them with the same name "K7", others under the title Art in the Public Space. Some local authorities also developed similar guidelines. More general definitions relating to architecture and town-planning are laid down in the Federal Construction Codeand in building regulations, above all at state level.
In 2005, the Bundestag / Federal Parliament decided unanimously to establish a National Foundation for Architecture (Stiftung Baukultur). However, this plan failed because of the resistance of the Bundesrat (Chamber of the federal states (Länder) in the Parliament) and because some federal states (Länder) feared too much influence from the national authorities.
Environmental care and landscape protection in general do not fall into the area of cultural policy in Germany. Both on the national and regional level, they are administered through separate laws and regulations by ministries for environmental affairs. However, the protection and care of the natural heritage and built monuments in the narrow sense are at least partly addressed by authorities in charge of the care of monuments, based on the laws for monument protection of the 16 federal states (Länder).