For several years, there have been various debates on the development of copyright at the national, European, and international levels. The reasons for the increasingly irreconcilable debate are manifold: First, unlike in the pre-digital age, the gap between technical possibilities and the legally admissible is widening. While, previously, mainly artists and users were concerned with this matter, today even normal users browsing the Internet are faced with copyright requirements, often by means of written warnings.
The perceptions of where the development of copyright is headed appear to be different: Some fear that copyright protection will be extended more and more, for example, through the ancillary copyright of publishers or an extension of the period of protection for performing artists and producers of sound storage media from 50 to 70 years. Others feel that the rights of authors to control the use of their products and receive reasonable compensation for the use of said products are in danger given the argumentative tailwind from the “open access” debate and the continuous demand for “free access” to cultural goods.
In the field of visual arts, the resale right has recently become a subject of discussion.
Those who are affected by the obligation to pay – for example, the seller of a work who must pay a percentage of the profit to the copyright owner – increasingly advocate for a reduction of the resale right. They argue, for example, that only few and already wealthy artists profit from this right.
The final report of the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag on ‘Culture in Germany’ from the year 2007 offers an inventory of the current discussions regarding copyright issues in Germany.