German Federal Court ruling highlights urgent need for clarification of EU copyright framework

The German Federal Court of Justice today ruled that since publishers are not considered as rightsholders under copyright law they are not entitled to receive a revenue share from the German collecting society VG Wort.

This ruling is valid retrospectively. Consequently publishers will have to introduce provisions for reimbursements of received revenues from VG Wort over the last years and in addition an important revenue source for German press publishers will dry up for the future.

We expect many publishers to have severe difficulties to cope with this challenge and it cannot be excluded that a good number of publishers will have to close down as a consequence.

EMMA President Auke Visser states: “This ruling clearly shows the need for a clarification in the European copyright framework to explicitly acknowledge publishers as rightsholders in view of their printed and digital publications.”

For further information contact:

Catherine Starkie 
Director, Legal Affairs, EMMA

+32 2 536 06 02


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 14 national associations across 14 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.