At the national level, the legal basis for the obligation to pay remuneration is provided by §§ 54 et seq. UrhG. On the European level, the DIRECTIVE 2001/29/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of May 22, 2001 on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society, there Art. 5 is authoritative.
For further information on the legal background of the private copying remuneration, please refer to the section “Legal Background”.
The purpose of the so-called "private copying remuneration" is to compensate the rights holders for the fact that the legislator permits, among other things, individual reproductions of a work by a natural person for private use (under the conditions specified in §53 (1) UrhG) and for use in science and education to the extent specified in the regulations (under §§60a to 60f UrhG)
Further information on the legal background of the private copying remuneration can be found in the “Legal Basis” section, as well as in the "Private Copies" section
Pursuant to § 54 (1) UrhG, entitled to remuneration are both authors and the holder of ancillary copyrights such as performing artists and event organizers (§§ion 83 UrhG), producers of sound carriers (§ 85 (4) UrhG) and film producers (Section 94 (4) UrhG). The claims under §§ 54 et seq. UrhG cannot, however, be asserted by individual authors or holders of ancillary copyrights themselves, but only by a collecting society (§ 54h (1) UrhG).
For this reason, the authors and holders of ancillary copyrights have transferred their claims to the German collecting societies, which are responsible for this according to their statutes, by concluding rights agreements.
All German collecting societies to which claims have been assigned for administration pursuant to §§ 54 et seq. UrhG are represented by ZPÜ. For this purpose, the nine collecting societies GEMA, GVL, VG Wort, VG Bild-Kunst, GWFF, VFF, VGF, GÜFA and TWF have transferred their claims for reproductions of audio works and audiovisual works for private and other own use within the meaning of §§ 53 (1) - (2) and §§ 60a to 60f UrhG, currently governed by §§ 54, 54a, 54b, 54e and54f UrhG, to ZPÜ for assertion against the companies liable to pay remunerations.
The ZPÜ is a jointly designated receiving agency pursuant to § 54h (3) UrhG.
Further information on the legal background of the private copying remuneration can be found in the “Legal Background” section. An overview of the collecting societies represented by ZPÜ can be found in the section "Partners of ZPÜ".
Pursuant to § 35 VGG, collecting societies are obliged, within the limits of reasonableness, to conclude an inclusive contract with a user association on reasonable terms. ZPÜ has implemented this by concluding numerous inclusive agreements across all products in recent years with, among others, the “Bundesverband Informationswirtschaft, Telekommunikation und neue Medien e.V.” (Bitkom), the „Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e.V.“ (ZVEI), the „Verband zur Rücknahme und Verwertung von Elektro- und Elektronikaltgeräte e.V.“ (VERE) and the „Informationskreis Aufnahmemedien“ (IM).
The remuneration rates agreed upon in these inclusive contracts shall be deemed to be tariffs (§ 38 VGG).
The debtors of the private copying remuneration are manufacturers, importers and dealers of devices and storage media whose type is used alone or in conjunction with other devices, storage media or accessories to make reproductions for private and other personal use pursuant to § 53 (1) - (3) 2 and §§ 60a to 60f UrhG. On the basis of the inclusive contracts concluded or - if they are not party to an inclusive agreement - on the basis of §§ 54 et seq. of the Copyright Act, they are obliged to provide reports and information and to pay remuneration in the amount stipulated in the inclusive contracts or in the tariffs.
These remunerations, which are realized by ZPÜ pursuant to §§ 54 et seq. (UrhG), are - after deduction of administrative costs - distributed to the nine collecting societies participating in ZPÜ on the basis of distribution plans (cf. § 5 of the ZPÜ Articles of Association).
"Private copies" are copies of works or parts of works protected by copyright from the fields of music, film, text or images that are made for private purposes or for other personal use. For example, if I pass on music that I have purchased myself to friends or relatives, this results in private copies.
These reproductions fall under the so-called "private copying barrier", i.e. they are permitted - as an exception to the otherwise applicable exclusive right of authors and ancillary copyright holders to prohibit the reproduction of their works or to permit it only against payment of a license fee. The Copyright Act contains provisions on this in § 53 UrhG and in §§ 60a et seq. UrhG.
In return for these permitted copies, the legislator provides for a compensation payment for the rights holder. This is regulated in §§ 54 ff. UrhG and obliges the importers, manufacturers and dealers of such devices and storage media with which private copies can be made or on which such copies can be stored to pay the rights holders an appropriate remuneration. The remuneration is structured as a lump sum and is due for each device or storage medium concerned that is placed on the market in Germany. Products subject to remuneration include, for example, notebooks, PCs, smartphones, tablets, external HDDs and set-top boxes for recording TV content, to name just a few. Since these statutory remuneration claims can only be asserted by a collecting society and the German collecting societies concerned have granted their information and remuneration claims arising from private copying to ZPÜ for administration, the billing relationship exists directly between ZPÜ and the importers or manufacturers.
For a privately purchased mobile phone - depending on whether the importer or manufacturer is a member of a so-called inclusive agreement that allows for discounting - remuneration rates of €5 or €6.25 currently apply, for a tablet €7 or €8.75. Measured by how many files are continuously copied with an average smartphone or tablet, or to what extent these files can be stored on the devices thanks to generous storage space, and taking into account the purchase price of these devices, the amount of remuneration per product is thus low. All tariffs for the various devices and storage media can be found in the "Products & Tariffs" section.
Since the reform of copyright law in 2008, ZPÜ's distribution plans to the nine collecting societies have been based primarily on empirical studies to determine the intensity of usage of the products used to make or store copies. For this reason, the ZPÜ has commissioned a total of 13 extensive empirical distribution studies from renowned market research institutes (including GfK and TNS) since 2008. In the most recent survey in 2018, an online survey in the GfK Consumer Panel, more than 16,000 people took part and answered questions on the usage of a total of 19 products for copying purposes. The more detailed approach to arrive at the distribution keys can be found in the "Distribution" section.
The distribution plans of the ZPÜ do not yet represent the final distribution stage to the rightholders, but end with the allocation of a share of the revenues to the individual collecting societies. Each collecting society, in turn, distributes the ZPÜ revenues allocated to it to its rightholders according to the rules of its own distribution plans.
The system of private copying remuneration shows its great advantage, especially in times of discussions about the individual's freedom of use and users' data protection rights. Because it is designed as a flat-rate payment, the type, content, and intensity of the consumer's use does not have to be "tracked.” Rather, the user can actually do this "privately" in a protected space and at the same time is not bothered with the modalities of billing. Importers and manufacturers who are at the beginning of the distribution chain and make duplication by the user possible in the first place due to the sale of the products can include the remuneration directly in the sales price of the products. Thus, not only consumers but also a large part of the trade are exempted from the processing of the remuneration obligation.
The current remuneration model is thus the best compromise between anonymity and usage-based remuneration. By referring to products that are clearly suitable for the reproduction of protected works, the remuneration is user-based and does not hit the entire population across the board - as the broadcasting fee does, for example. In addition, a system based on precise recording of the extent to which a user makes private copies would give rise to considerable data protection issues.
The ZPÜ continuously obtains knowledge of other companies that place products subject to remuneration on the market, for example, through incoming dealer information and market research.
The obligation to pay remuneration for products (devices or storage media) results from the statutory regulation. It exists if a device or storage medium, according to its type, is used alone or in conjunction with other devices or storage media or accessories to make copies pursuant to § 53 (1) or (2) or §§ 60a - 60f UrhG (in particular to make so-called "private copies").
If the above-named legal criteria are fulfilled, the obligation to pay remuneration as such exists irrespective of the existence of a tariff. If a product does not meet the legal criteria, it is not subject to remuneration.
All information on products for which tariffs and inclusive contracts currently exist can be found in the "Products & Tariffs" section
Used devices are also subject to remuneration, at least to the extent that no remuneration has yet been paid for it as part of its initial sale.
In 2019, the ZPÜ concluded an agreement on the handling of used devices with the largest suppliers of used devices in Germany at that time, which takes into account the legal and factual uncertainties and the realities of the used devices market. The provisions contained in the agreement are based on the statutory obligations to provide information and pay remuneration pursuant to §§ 54 et seq. UrhG as well as the tariff structure by the collecting societies, but contain modifications in order to reflect the special features of the used devices market. The modalities found in this respect also apply to companies with which no agreement has (yet) been reached.
Whether and to what extent an obligation to pay remuneration exists depends on the specific purchase and sales channel. In particular, there are some constellations of cases in which the obligation to pay remuneration does not apply at all. The essence of the used devices system is therefore to avoid double remuneration.
All remuneration rates can be found in the "Products & Tariffs" section on the respective product pages.
Pursuant to § 54 (1) UrhG, rights holders are entitled to reasonable remuneration. The amount of remuneration is determined by the extent to which the devices and storage media are typically used for copies that are subject to remuneration. In practice, the extent of usage is determinedby empirical studies. The remuneration level also takes into account the fact, that the remuneration must be commercially reasonable in relation to the price level of the device or storage medium. The level of remuneration results in particular from the tariffs established by the collecting societies, which are currently all based on inclusive contracts concluded with associations of importers and manufacturers.
The case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Case C-467/08 (ECJ-Padawan), as well as the application of this case law by the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) and the Munich Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht München), provides, with regard to the remuneration claim, that there may be no indiscriminate application of the private copying remuneration to devices and storage media that are acquired by persons other than natural persons for purposes clearly different from the making of private copies. At the same time, in particular according to the case law of the Federal Court of Justice, the mere fact that relevant products are provided to a commercial buyer such as a public authority or a company, a freelancer or a tradesman does not preclude their use for private purposes according to general life experience. On the contrary, according to the ordinary course of events, it cannot be ruled out that such devices may also be used in the work environment to make private copies.
This presumption can only be refuted by proving that such use appears to be excluded according to the normal course of events. The basis for this is § 54 (2) UrhG. According to this, the obligation to pay remuneration does not apply if it can be expected under the circumstances that devices or storage media will not be used for copying.
For those devices and storage media that are to be exempted from the remuneration obligation, the manufacturers and importers must prove that they are clearly reserved for uses other than the making of private copies and that, at most, such copies have actually been made to a small extent with the aid of these devices and storage media and that they will be made to a small extent in the normal course of events.
In order to make this obligation to provide evidence as practicable as possible in the interest of the companies required to provide evidence, and at the same time to ensure that the rights holders receive an appropriate level of remuneration, a reduced business remuneration in combination with a simplification of evidence was created in consensus with associations of manufacturers and importers for suitable products. For example, for PCs, tablets and mobile phones, the application of the business remuneration is based on the percentage of a brand or vendor that has been identified as "business shares" by the market research institute IDC. In contrast to a complete waiver of the remuneration in the event of successful strict proof, this takes into account the fact that so-called business products are also used to a considerable extent for private and other relevant reproductions - albeit to a lesser extent than privately purchased products.
The ZPÜ has implemented the case law regarding the commercial use of devices and storage media in inclusive contracts and tariffs based on them. Within the framework of the "business regulations", these provide that for products that are demonstrably supplied by the manufacturer or importer by way of direct distribution or by way of a project transaction to a commercial end user or a public authority, no remuneration or a reduced remuneration is due upon presentation of appropriate evidence.
The required evidence as well as the respective remuneration rates can be found in the inclusive contracts or tariffs for the respective devices or storage media. Product-specific information can be found in the “Products and Tariffs” section, all contracts and tariffs can also be found in the Download Center.
Manufacturers, importers and traders are jointly and severally liable:
Pursuant to § 54 (1) UrhG the manufacturer of devices and store media which are used solely or together with other devices, storage media or accessories to produce so called “private copies” or other reproductions for private use, for the purpose of illustration in teaching in educational establishments or for the purpose of non-commercial scientific research pursuant to §§ 53 (1) and (2) or §§ 60a-60f UrhG (see Q4) – is obliged to pay the remuneration.
Pursuant to § 54 b (1) UrhG alongside the manufacturer any person who, on a commercial scale, imports or re-imports the devices or storage media into the territory to which this Act applies (importer) or any person who trades therewith (trader) shall be liable as a joint and several debtor.
Please find an overview of traders’ obligations in the section „customers“.
Pursuant to §§ 54 (a) and 54 b (1) UrhG manufacturers, importers and traders are liable as joint and several debtors. However, the trader’s obligation to pay remuneration does not apply if
Please find an overview of importers’ obligations in the section „customers“.
Please find an overview of manufacturers’ obligations in the section „customers“.
If your company produces or imports products subject to remuneration or put those products on the German market otherwise, pursuant to §§ 54 et seq. UrhG you are obliged to disclose full information on the nature and quantity of the products sold or put into the German market pursuant to §§ 54e (1), § 54f (1) UrhG as well as pay remuneration for these products.
The following products might be subject of a formal request letter:
Please find a precise definition of each product within the product definitions of each tariff (see section "Products & Tariffs").
If you purchased products from German suppliers (as a trader), we ask you to provide respective trader information according to § 54f (1) UrhG including the nature and the quantity of the products purchased as well as the sources of supply.
If you import products subject to remuneration or storage media, according to §§ 54e (1), 54h (3) UrhG you are obliged by act of law to report to ZPÜ the nature and quantity of the imported devices and storage media on your own initiative. The report shall be provided on a monthly basis until the 10th day of each following calendar month.
If you as manufacturer or importer not only import products subject to remuneration but further sell or put them on the German market otherwise, you are obliged by formal request (by ZPÜ) to report the nature and quantity of the products sold or put on the German market otherwise. According to the current practice ZPÜ requests the reports pursuant to § 54e (1) UrhG to be provided on a quarterly basis until the 10th day of the first calendar month of the following quarter (April 10th, June 10th October 10th and January 10th). ZPÜ reverses the right to change the current practice for the future.
As far as inclusive contracts regarding the obligation of payment of remuneration for devices or storage media have been concluded, for customers that joined an inclusive contract the provisions of these contracts rescind the provisions by law. Members of an inclusive contract report semi-annual until February 15th and August 15th for the previous calendar half year.
Please exclusively use the excel forms provided on ZPÜ website for your reports.
In the sections “Manufacturers & Importers” and “Traders” you will find supporting information on how to fill the forms and further references.
Remuneration for customers bound to inclusive contracts is due on October 31st for the first half of the respective calendar year; for the second half of the calendar year remuneration is due on April 30th of the following calendar year.
Remuneration for customers not bound to an inclusive contract is due within 14 days after receipt of the respective payment request. The exact due date can be found on the respective document.
If products generally subject to remuneration are exported directly to a recipient outside of Germany (outside the scope of the Copyright Act) by the manufacturer or importer (own exports) the exported products are no longer subject to remuneration.
The obligation to pay remuneration for manufacturers and importers does not apply to own exports pursuant to § 54 (2) UrhG, if the devices or storage media are not expected to be used for reproduction in Germany.
On demand own exports have to be proven to ZPÜ by the manufacturer or importer via submission of export customs declarations or other export documents that enable the unequivocal identification of nature and quantity of the products.
In case of so-called third party exports, where a trader carries out the export on a downstream stage of distribution, the third party exporter (the exporting trader) must approach the respective upstream stage of distribution/its supplier (for instance the importer) for the purpose of reimbursement. Remuneration will be reimbursed along the distribution chain if appropriate evidence is presented.
If the necessary evidence is available, ZPÜ reimburses those manufactures or importers for third party exports that at the very first stage of distribution paid the respective remuneration to ZPÜ. The manufacturers or importers have to submit evidence that proof
Evidence has to be presented to ZPÜ on demand.
For products produced or imported within a respective period please provide manufacturer’s/importer’s reports (please see Q19 and Q20).
For products purchased in Germany as a trader, you owe trader’s reports (please see FAQs above).
The obligation to report separately also applies if you produced or imported products and additionally purchased products of the same kind in Germany within the same period.
The obligation to pay remuneration for the trader does not apply pursuant to § 54b (3) UrhG if the manufacturer or importer that supplies the products to the trader acceded an inclusive contract for the respective product or if the trader fulfilled the obligations to provide trader’s reports in due time (please see FAQs above).
Pleas find all relevant forms in the Downloadcenter.
If you produce or import products or storage media subject to remuneration, the legal regulation claims the obligation to report the nature and quantity of the products brought to the German market pursuant to § 54e (1), 54h (1) UrhG. These reports shall be provided in writing on a monthly basis until each 10th for the previous calendar month without prior request (e.g. the report for February shall be provided until March 10th).
Additionally, pursuant to § 54f (1) UrhG, manufacturers, importers and traders are obliged to disclose information to ZPÜ on the nature and quantity of devices and storage media sold or put on the German market otherwise on demand.
If ZPÜ requested you to report and meet your legal obligation to pay remuneration pursuant to §§ 54 et seqq. UrhG and you did not meet these obligations (in time), please find the impending further legal consequences in the respective letter of request. Besides the initiation of legal measures further consequences might particularly be the accruing of default interest and in case of a late provision the obligation to pay twice the rate of remuneration pursuant to § 54e (2) UrhG resp. § 54f (3) UrhG.
If you exclusively obtain products from German suppliers as a trader and already fulfilled your obligation to disclose information for certain products and periods pursuant to § 54b (3) no. 2 UrhG (please see FAQs above), you do not need to submit your trader’s reports pursuant to § 54f UrhG again.
If there are inclusive contracts for the remuneration of certain devices and storage media and you acceded an inclusive contract, for the respective product(s) the regulations of the inclusive contract override the legal regulations. In this respect, manufacturers and importers that acceded one or more inclusive contracts submit their reports for the respective products sold in Germany on a half-year basis by February 15th and August 15th for the previous calendar half year. Please find the specific obligations and due dates in the respective inclusive contracts. Please find those in the Downloadcenter.
For specific PC, tablet and mobile phone trademarks/brands the International Data Corporation (IDC) determines the proportion of business use of the products brought to the German market. IDC pools the result of all brands not included specifically within the trademark “others”. Based on the total quantity reported, the IDC business rate (= IDC rate) determines the portion of so-called business products – for these business products a lower remuneration can apply. If you as a manufacturer or importer want to exert this simplification of evidence, for your reporting please use the tab “IDC Daten” within the respective excel form. Please fill in the columns A to E, only. Consequently, it is sufficient to report the total quantity of the products of each brand purchased in the respective period.
The columns F and G do not need to be filled – this will be done by ZPÜ. If, however, you need specific rates determined by IDC for the calculation of the remuneration to be paid, you may request the data to be filled in columns F and G anytime at ZPÜ for your information. Therefore, please provide the brands and products your business produced or imported and sold or put on the German market otherwise in the respective period.
Please note that in your reports to ZPÜ only those products might be classified as “business products” that meet the definition in the respective tariff. In short, business products are products evidently purchased directly to authorities or commercial end-users or evidently purchased indirectly to authorities or commercial end-users via a trader in the context of a project business. All other products in accordance with the definitions of the tariffs will be classified as “private products”.
As far as with regard to PCs, mobile phones and tablets you do not want to exert the split of quantities via IDC-rate, you can report and proof the quantity of business products on basis of the actual sales – as you can for all other products as well.
For the qualification as a “business product” please provide the following information and documents as evidence:
Please find further details regarding the provision of evidence in the respective tariffs.
The lower business remuneration only applies for sales to commercial end users. The mere sale to a commercial trader/reseller by a manufacturer or importer does not cause a reduction of remuneration, since the final purpose of use respectively the final end-user is not known at this point. A commercial customer is therefore not equitable with a commercial end-user.
Commercial end-users are
that acquire products subject to remuneration for own commercial purposes only and not for the purpose of further selling the products or bringing them on the market otherwise.
Also qualified as commercial end-users are group companies that centrally acquire products subject to remuneration for other entities of the group as well as businesses that cede products subject to remuneration to third parties based on respective agreements (e.g. Leasing, IT cession).
Anybody purchasing products subject to remuneration in Germany on a commercial scale and further sells these products or brings them on the market otherwise is accordingly not a commercial end-user but a trader.
Zahlungsaufforderung (payment request) is a claim that is not subject to VAT. A payment request is not an invoice pursuant to § 14 UStG. The receipt is used for accounting purposes and does not entitle the holder to deduct input tax.
If the debtor of remuneration fails to provide information or provides wrong or incomplete information he owes twice the rate of the tariff remuneration of the pursuant to § 54e (2) UrhG and § 54f (3) UrhG. This also applies as soon as the legal deadline for the provision of information is exceeded slightly.
The following information) applies to reimbursement to commercial end-users only (“Padawan-reimbursement”).
It does not apply to reimbursement for returns, export reimbursement or subsequent business certificates. Please find further information on export reimbursement in the FAQs above.
Public authorities and commercial end-users, that purchase refundable products in Germany at a charge that already includes the remuneration for private consumers pursuant to § 54 UrhG are entitled to regain the difference between the private and the business remuneration from ZPÜ.
The following criteria must be fulfilled:
Please find further information on reimbursement options for traders and comments on the reimbursement process in the section “Reimbursement”
One reason for the rejection of a request for reimbursement in particular might be reasonable doubts that remuneration for private use has already been paid to the collecting societies for the products subject to the request of reimbursement.
Furthermore, ZPÜ rejects requests if the manufacturer or importer that brought the refundable devices or storage media on the German market, did not meet his obligation to name the end-users according to the respective tariff for the month in which the respective devices or storage media have been invoiced (see e.g. PC tariff Section 4C. III. 4.).
Please find further information within each tariff under Section 4.
ZPÜ and the collective societies VG Wort and VG Bild-Kunst (in the following: the collecting societies) concluded inclusive contracts with several associations of manufacturers and importers for the products that can be found under “products and tariffs”. Manufacturers and importers can join an inclusive contract as long as they are member of the respective association. By accession to an inclusive contract the collecting societies and the acceding manufacturer or importer enter an individual agreement containing the regulations of the inclusive contract. The inclusive contracts particularly shape the legal obligations to provide information and pay remuneration pursuant to §§ 54 et seq. UrhG with concrete rights and obligations for the contracting parties, includes precise definitions of the products and more.
Please find further information on the inclusive contracts in the section “Products & Tariffs”. Furthermore, all concluded inclusive contracts are available in the Downloadcenter.
Joining a collective agreement entails, among other things, a discount for the joining company on the remuneration rate - currently the inclusive contract discount is 20%.
Please find further information on the individual inclusive contracts in the section “Products & Tariffs”. Furthermore, all concluded inclusive contracts are available in the Downloadcenter.
Please find further information on the inclusive contracts in the section “Products & Tariffs”.
Furthermore, all concluded inclusive contracts are available in the Downloadcenter.