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German Film Law contains numerous legal aspects related to the film industry - as Film Law does in other countries.

At first Film Law deals with the legal and contractual relations between the initial right owners and the film producer, e.g. author agreements, music clearance...

Secondly the film production itself establishes diverse legal relationships (e.g. producer - actor, - labs), those relations are mainly established in all kind of film contracts. According to a collective Agreement (Tarifvertrag / text in German language) between the German Media Union (IG Medien) and the main producer associations certain standards in the relation between film participants and production are fixed.

Also public law regulations like working permits, shooting permissions, child labour protection, taxation etc. take effect on film production.

Then Film Law is concerned with matters of film finance. For example almost each feature film in Germany is partly financed by one or more of the several film funding organizations in Germany and/or Europe. Consequently the legal framework of such fundings are an important issue within German Film Law.
Nevertheless the involvment of all other financers such as distributors/TV stations or foreign co-producers require also substantial legal counsel.

Film Law deals also with the protection and exploitation of a Film, its title, spin offs such as remakes, TV-series etc., merchandising, soundtrack etc..

Last not least Film Law applies also to the unavoidable legal proceedings at court, among them the fast going injunction.

The above described fields of Film Law do certainly not contain all aspects . An independent production company has also legal questions concerning their corporate law or labor law, which is not typically a question of Film Law, but supplements the range of counsel.

There is not a specific Film Law legislation in Germany. The German Copyright Act contains some articles, which refer to the special situation of Film. Among other the producer is granted a special legal protection for his film.

The German Civil Code (BGB) is the base for the contracting law, although a lot of common provisions in film agreements reflect national and international film business standards.

In respect to public law the protection of juveniles acquire age ratings of released films in theatre or video. Pornographic, excessive violent content can lead to a public banning of the film.

A special legislation (FFG) rules the work of the German Federal Film Board called the Filmförderungsanstalt . In its provisions and regulations the procedure of their diverse film funding schemes are fixed.
Due to the federal structure of Germany there are also numerous regional Film Boards, with very different funding budgets for support. The ones from the main German film centers (Munich, Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg) are equipped with annual budgets of two-digit million sums (in US-$), smaller ones do not even have a million to spend. All of them apply their own rules & regulations, which have to be respected. For an overview of all german Film Boards see GermanFilmBoards.

MEDIA II (for info in english see www.iftn.ie/mediadesk/) and Eurimages are Europe's major funding institutions, also with their own regulations. They mainly deal with co-productions, which leads to the international aspect of Film Law and international film agreements.
National funding possibilities and international co-production are subject of various co-production treaties between Germany and other countries (Koproduktionsabkommen). The most important is the European Co-Production Treaty. These treaties mainly harmonize the national funding regulations of the respective co-producers.
Besides legislation court decisions in film matters also influence Film Law substantially. Due to the small amount of specific legislation in Film Law these decisions of practical cases influence and supplement to a great deal German Film Law.

In respect to the substantial international impact of film production and even more ist distribution the legislation and jurisdiction of other countries also influence the practice of German Film Law counsel as the film in question might travel all over the world.

© 1999 Thomas G. Müller