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49 J. Copyright Soc'y U.S.A. 1041 (2001-2002)
A Revolution of Copyright in Germany

handle is hein.journals/jocoso49 and id is 1110 raw text is: A REVOLUTION OF COPYRIGHT IN GERMANY
by WILHELM NORDEMANN*
The development of copyright laws in civil law countries, from its real
start marked by the French law of 1791, needed more than two centuries
to become common all over the world. At the beginning of the new millen-
nium, only some Arabian, Central and East Asian countries only - Saudi
Arabia being the most important, and richest, among them - persisted in
staying outside the World Copyright Family.
Nearly all of even the most modern copyright laws, while explicitly
aimed to protect authors, composers, artists, and other creators, only focus
on provisions constituting copyright as such, and on infringement regula-
tions - a slowly increasing number of them include neighbouring rights of
actors, musicians, and other officers executing copyrighted works. Almost
none of the laws includes mandatory rules on copyright contracts to pro-
tect authors against inappropriate or even unfair conditions when granting
exploitation rights to publishers, producers or other users of their works.
The most significant example of an exception has been the French Copy-
right Act of 1957, art. 37 of which, as ius cogens, determines a minimum
payment to the author of 7/12 of the usual remuneration.
Although the bargaining position of a single author, who usually
lacked any business sense, traditionally was much weaker than the profes-
sional user on the other side, the failure of the law to address unequal
negotiating powers was, during the first three quarters of the last century,
not yet too disadvantageous for the creators in general, as most user con-
tracts were - at least outside the U.S. - concluded by an exchange of
letters, or even by verbal agreement, and, furthermore, publishers' or pro-
ducers' enterprises used to be run by single owners who cultivated the
relations to their authors personally.
That changed in the last three decades. Old famous publishing houses
merged, or were incorporated into bigger competitors. The so-called
globalized exploitation provided worldwide operating enterprises. In 1998,
around two-thirds of all exploitation of copyrighted works throughout the
world were in the hands of:
*Dr. jur., Professor of Law (Humboldt University Berlin), Senior Member of
Boehmert & Boehmert, Patent Attorneys' and Lawyers' Partnership, Potsdam and
elsewhere.

A Revolution of Copyright in Germany

1041

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