Since 2016, companies in Germany are confronted with the threat of advance payments for copyright levies on devices and media storage in the form of juridical orders for security deposits. This is often the case with products for which there are no agreements with respect to the obligations for levy payments or tariff levels.
In this context, the industry in Germany is looking into the means of defining tariffs and scope based on negotiations and mutual agreement. However, such negotiations could take years. A ruling in favour of advance payments would reflect strongly on the willingness to negotiate and the course of the negotiations. The new legal option is intended to provide collecting societies with an effective instrument for enforcement.
The industry tends to be doubtful of whether such orders for security deposits are practically in place, or at all effective. To this end, the German Arbitration Board has recently ruled against the collecting society’s claim against a manufacturer for MP3/4 players (arbitral verdict; only in German). The reasons behind the ruling, or the rejection of the claim, were purely due to legal formalities. The process is a clear proof that the ZPUE (Central Organization for Private Copyrights) is acting on and applying the option and will enforce disputed tariff claims. The so-called security deposit requirement may not be a toothless tiger, after all.