30 October 2009

German Constitutional Court backs the private copying exception

In a very current decision, the German Constitutional Court

Rejected the Constitutional Complaint

of several phonogram producing companies. The companies in question demanded changes to section 53 (1) of the German copyright act that was amended as recently as of 1 January 2008. Section 53 is part of chapter 6 of the act which deals with limitations to copyright. In particular, section 53 provides that reproductions are permitted for the purpose of individual uses (that is, the use by the person making the copy).

The complainants asserted that section 53 (1) interfered with their constitutionally guaranteed right on property.

The Court rejected the complaint, however, on the grounds of late filing.
Apart from that,

The Court Affirmed That Private Copying Applied to Digital Works

since the 2003 amendments to the copyright act.
Seemingly, the Court opined, the legislator did not intend to undertake changes thereto in the course of the recent 2008 amendments.

The Court further advised on the obligation of manufacturers of copying devices to pay levies (eventually paid by consumers of such devices) that forms a balance to the private copying use.

All in all an important clarification for nowadays’ use of copyright works.

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