Sports law in Germany

Sport Law is our passion and we have the pleasure to offer secure legal solutions for athletes, clubs, promoters, associations and other institutions. We evaluate your questions both form an economic and tactic point of you, trying to do our best in order to achieve great results, together.

Sport has to be clear and transparent. For this reason, compulsory and enforceable regulations are so important. This is what we stand for!

From a legal point of you, there is no other field of law, that describes clearly and distinctly the sector of sport law. Various sports have different regulations (national and international) and they are not equally applicable in each case to all parties. In addition the regulation of every sport, we also need to deal with the respective state´s law. Sport Law includes also cases of alleged manipulation and doping.

We are expert in sports law, especially in the following key points:

  • legal counseling and representation of athletes, sports organizers, sports federations and league providers, as well as the corresponding formation of all related sport agreements;
  • legal advice and representation in the context of sponsorship agreements, authorization assignment, league statutes, association and society agreements, etc.;
  • Development and testing of sport club’s articles of association, sport association charter and statutes, sponsorship agreements, marketing agreements (all media), sports rights agreements, sports license agreements, sports agency agreements, sports events agreements, sports organizers contracts, sports equipment contracts, horse contracts etc.;
  • Legal consultation and representation of gamer managers, sports managers, sports company consultants, sports marketers, and sports sponsors;
  • legal advice and representation before national and international sporting courts, as well as national courts and association or association courts;
  • legal advice and representation in doping procedures, cross-disciplinary proceedings as well as in cases of competition barriers, transfers etc.;
  • In the light of personal commitment, we also advise in the area of ​​animal rights, in particular, equestrian clubs, horse sport associations, horse breeders and horse owners, as well as private and professional riders and veterinarians (including horses and horse doping);
  • sports law advice in connection with the associations ‘creations, the drafting and alteration of statutes, the divestment of economic business operations, sponsoring contracts and business agreements (including TV rights);
  • prosecution of product piracy, infringements of sports law, trademark infringements, copyright infringements, violations of the right of self-determination with regards to public information, legal infringements in connection with verbal and image journalism.

German film business law

There is no particular „film law” in Germany: instead, the copyright, trademark and competition law provisions shall be used as guidelines and regulations for issues concerning television and licensed films.

During the development, production, exploitation and financing of film and television programs or productions, many people are involved in various legal positions of various natures, which lead to different legal bundles that need to be analysed case-by-case.

From a practical point of view, it is first and foremost fundamental to understand what is going to be produced (a film-production, a big-screen movie, a series etc.), from who is it going to be executed and produced (producers, executives, co-producers, film director, author etc.), and where (Germany, Europe, International-wise, via IPTV etc.) is this production going to be made and settled.

What am I expected to do as an author?

As an author, you will be expected to find an exposé in Germany, not a complete script, as in the USA for example. Before an exposé is sent to the film production, the aspects embodied in the exposé should be examined in the light of whether legal protection appears to be possible. This applies particularly to titles, characters or the work as such.  In contrast to the expose, a so-called “treatment”, which is typically matched with the production of the film, will be protected by the copyright law as a precursor to the script.

Who is generally entitled to the movie legal rights?

  • Film director (own copyrights)
  • Producer (ancillary copyright)
  • Cameraman (in case of considerable artistic work)
  • Sound Engineer (in case of considerable artistic work)
  • Cutter (in case of considerable artistic work)
  • Costume designer/ Stylist (in case of his/her own inventive artistic work)
  • Production Design (in case of considerable artistic work)
  • Film actor (§§ 73-83 German UrhG*, has no copyright to the whole work/film)

Which are the typical kinds of contracts used in film production?

There are typical kinds of contracts used according to film rights; these are designed on a case-by-case and this also confirms the diversity of the various types of contracts. Please consider that these are listed below only as example:

    • Director Contracts
    • Screenplay and filming contracts
    • Cast contracts
    • Audio-visual performers contracts
    • TV License agreements
    • Video and DVD Licence Agreements
    • Format evaluation contract
    • Production Contract
    • Distribution Agreement


Film Promotion/ Film Financing

In Germany, dominantly highly promoted films are produced. The sponsor generally can appear as producer or co-producer with “his” corresponding production company.

Protection of honour in Germany

We are a team of qualified attorneys, specialized in copyright and media law who are here to advice and represent you in all press law matters; we have a particular interest in protection of honor and right of expression´s cases. We list you some of the most common keywords regarding this topic.

  • Examination, assertion and defence against injunctive relief, counterstatements, revocation claims and claims for damages (including the so-called „compensation for pain and inflicted suffering);
  • Examination of journalistic due diligence obligations;
  • Examination of text publications and picture messages;
  • Copyright related queries regarding reporting of words and photojournalism;
  • Word and image rights;
  • Reputational damages/defamation/abusive criticism;
  • Personality rights infringements;
  • Consultation on freedom of opinion and freedom of press.

What can we do for you?

Do you need help in one of the listed tasks? Contact us.

  • Extra-judicial claim by press law warnings
  • Interim legal protection (preliminary injunction proceedings) also according to state press laws for the purpose of fast enforcement of press law claims
  • Enforcement of press claims in main proceedings
  • Obtaining a counter-notification and revocation
  • Elimination and future omission of incorrect factual claims
  • Elimination and shortcoming of abusive criticism/reputational damage/defamation
  • Claims for damages and compensation, including immaterial damage·         Criminal proceedings, such as criminal, subsidiary and private actions

International copyright law

Copyrights apply and are effective also internationally. This follows the principle of territoriality and the so-called “Lex loci protexionis”. Copyright infringements are ruled by the laws of the respective country. The national rules of this state determine the development, content and scope of the copyright. The author receives a copyright only in the respective state in which it exists according to its regulations. Foreigner’s provisions may differ from the national ones. If, for example, a copyright infringement is asserted in another state before a German court, then it must also be stated how this copyright has been created and infringed in regards to the legal ordainments of the state. The German court therefore has to apply the law of the foreign state (because of the “lex loci protexionis” principle).

Is there an internationally recognized copyright? 

No; instead, there is a large number of international copyright agreements, such as the Berne Convention (RBC or RBÜ, as it is called in Germany) of 1886 and the TRIPS of 1994; both are actually the most important international copyright agreements. The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) also represents one of the most important international agreements. This regulates copyright´s matters in order to keep the RBC up to date. The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) covers related rights of performers and phonogram producers separately. 

What does the Berne Convention regulate? 

The Berne Convention (Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works) was last updated in 1979. Accordingly to Article 5 of the RBC, each Contracting State must recognize the protection of works of its own citizens. However, this has the consequence that the foreign author can be entitled to different rights in the different country, as these are differently regulated in the respective target states (contrary to the “lex loci protexionis” principle).  Nowadays, about 158 states have joined the RBC. Subsequent international agreements generally allow the RBC to be considered at least “supplementary” to the state territorial provisions.

What does the TRIPS include?

The TRIPS is an annex of the WTO provisions. Any State that wants to join the WTO must also ratify TRIPS.  Currently, the WTO and TRIPS have about 149 members. However, copyright is not the only aspect that is regulated by these agreements; they also concern the basic features of a free trade economy, while maintaining all IP rights, including in particular the technical property rights and ancillary copyrights. In addition, the member states may develop their own fundamental limits of protection.

Which effect do international agreements have?

Just like any simple contract, international agreements only work between the contracting parties, in this case, the countries that have signed them.

German art law

Art law regards all manifestations of art, such as visual arts and cultural arts (theater, opera, serious music, etc.).

The designation of “artistic rights” is abstract, as there is no authorized art act or art law in the German legal system. The term “art law” itself, however, bundles the legal issues and solutions that are fundamental for artistic workpieces.

Art law can accordingly stand for all those art-relevant decisions, norms and areas of law. Thus, art law includes parts of the Civil Code (BGB), the Commercial Code (HGB), the Copyright Act (UrhG), the Penal Code (StGB), Competition Law (UWG) and other laws. The following legal issues are really common in German “Art Law”

  • Restitution of pieces of art issues;
  • Inheritance of works of art;
  • Transport of art-pieces issues;
  • Art and penal law;
  • Purchase of art issues;
  • Auctions issues;
  • Museums laws;
  • Galleries laws;
  • Photography of works of art;
  • General Art law;
  • Art-Licenses rights;
  • Modification of pieces of art etc.

German event law

We advise and represent concert and tour event managers and organizers, guest theatre directories, art management agencies, event agencies, artists, entertainers, tour operators, security companies, individuals and media companies in all those legal aspects concerning events and entertainments. This also includes the following topics:

  • Artist social tax liability from agencies, guest performances and concert directorates;
  • Fee conflicts with the GEMA, GVL and other collecting societies;
  • Contractual design for organizers and participants (organizers, event facilities, event technologies such as sound, light, stage etc., artists, guest performance agencies, restaurateurs, hoteliers etc.);
  • Official permits and licenses for performances of foreign artists in Germany;
  • VAT exemption acc. § 4 No. 20a and b UStG, application of the standard and reduced VAT rate, taxability for cross-border services, limited tax liabilities etc.;
  • Labour Law issues;
  • Trademark, title protection and competition law issues in the context of event law;
  • Copyright issues;
  • Customer protection and conceptual protection in the agency business;
  • Liability of event organizers.


For the organization and realization of even smaller events, it is fundamental to regulate every action with related contracts; medium and large events need to be regulated by a variety of legal relationships. At a live-event it is really important to have a strong organizational structure able to react as quickly as possible (and in a legal manner!) in the most unpredictable situations.

We do not only accompany you throughout all your legal issues that may have to be clarified before an event, but we can also be present on the occasion of your event to solve unpredictable problems immediately.

Our lawyers are specialized in copyright and media law, and we all are fluent in English. This allows us to follow you even throughout international events legal aspects.

Please feel free to contact us for further information and queries.

German copyright law

What is a copyright?

Copyright is an exclusive right to copy a literary, musical, artistic or other original. The usual prerequisite for a copyright is a personal intellectual creation. Protection covers works of literature, science and art. These include sound recordings, pictures and performances of an artist as well as e.g. software. As far as the latter is concerned, however, there are special regulations within the Copyright Act. The contents of a domain can be protected by copyright. This does not regard the software the contents are created with, but the way the website is presented.

The term “copyright” does not, however, comprise all aspects of what copyright means. The protection offered does not only deal with the legitimacy of a copy. Similarly, public performance, distribution, translation, alternation and so on of the work as a whole or any substantial part of it are also protected. Furthermore, when looking at them in detail, there are differences between Anglo-American copyright law and its German counterpart, the “Urheberrecht”, which is often referred to by the English term. (Differences include, especially, the so-called personality copyright in German law, which is not transferable, the way in which employees’ inventions are treated, etc.).

What can be protected by a copyright?

A copyright protects personal intellectual creations from numerous areas such as literature, drama, music, art, architecture, film and others. Scientific representations are also protected, i.e. sketches, plans, maps and drawings. A personal intellectual creation requires the so-called degree of creation (whereas in the Anglo-American law merely “skill and labour” are expected). It is impossible to handle the question schematically whether this degree of creation exists; even courts decide variously on this matter.

Copyright can also apply to software. So called accomplishments protection rights (not relating to law on competition) are regulated in the Copyright Act as well and concern e.g. databases.

What cannot be protected?

Ideas as such are not protected, neither by copyright, nor in any other way, according to the principle that “thoughts are free”. It is only a concrete expressive form of an idea that can obtain protection by copyright. An author of a book on German history might have copyright protection for his book. He cannot, however, prohibit the “idea” of a work on German history. Similarly, a person who converts a certain idea of an internet company into reality by means of a personal intellectual creation enjoys protection by copyright for the homepage thus created. The idea as such can be used otherwise, though.

Protection by copyright does not usually cover the title (title protection is possible under trademark law), names, slogans (still disputable) and similar short terms. Mass articles of average „originality” are not protected, either, due to an insufficient degree of creation.

What is the duration of a copyright?

A copyright is usually effective during the lifetime of the author and 70 years after his death. In case of joint authorship the author who lives longest is decisive.

How is a copyright obtained?

In Germany, just as in many countries nowadays, protection by copyright is guaranteed automatically, when the legal requirements are fulfilled. Entry in the register is not necessary and no official fees must be paid (it is in principle recommended to deposit a work as evidence for the purpose of proving authorship).

Are copyrights transferable?

Exploitation rights are in principle transferable. „Copyright” cannot, however, be sold, since the so-called personality copyright remains always with the author.

As far as the transfer of exploitation rights in favour of the author is concerned, the Copyright Act assumes that in case of doubt he will only transfer what is necessary in order to comply with the contract (purpose transfer theory).

As far as the granting of exploitation rights is concerned, so-called licences play a central role, which cover a wide range of legal, factual and financial regulations.

An author owns his “words” and not his “books”.

Authorship is not synonymous with ownership. An author of a book has an intangible (intellectual) right to it. This means that illegal copies of a book do not “belong” to its author. Nonetheless, he can enforce their destruction.

What is the relevance of the copyright notice?

Such an indication is recommended on every piece of work which is suitable for it, since it leads to a so-called shift in the burden of proof. This means that it is not the author of the work labelled with such a notice, but the third party, who has to prove authorship.

Press law and media reporting law in Germany

The right of freedom of media reporting, freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of press are the most important fundamental foundations of democracy and, as a matter of principle, are embedded in Article 1, 2 and 5 of the Basic Law.

But media communication has also different sides. It can unjustly destroy the honor and prestige of a person. The basic rights of a human being can be violated by declaring false or untruthful facts about this person, unlawful or manipulated photos can be “leaked” on the internet, and the private sphere of a person can easily be infringed.

In these cases, it is generally issued an injunction proceeding, or a request for compensation for pain/damages or similar. Negative reports however, are not changed by juristic decisions. Unfortunately, even successful processes can have negative consequences in the light of their new public impact.

What we do for you is: after examining of all the material, proofs and your legal situation, we will let you know a possible tactical move in order to succeed in your goal. We offer more than a legal advice; it is all about your success and your reputation. We will support and accompany you throughout all the legal proceedings, before the Federal Constitutional Court or the European Court of Human Rights. Our experienced attorneys also advise and represent a few medium-sized press companies in all matters of media and press law.


Publishing law in Germany

In what concerns the publishing legislation?

A Publishing Agreement authorizes the author to leave the work to the publisher for duplication and distribution in his representation. The publisher is obliged to reproduce and distribute the work as it is. Typical publishing contracts regard subjects of literary or musical works.

What is a „Publishing contract“?


The relationship between the authors and the publisher can be freely arranged. Some publishing contracts are based on the standard agreement of the Exchange Association. The non-binding Publishing Law (from 1901) regulates the main features.

What can we do for you?

  • Contracting and auditing of licensing agreements, remuneration agreements, publishing, editors and publishers administration contracts, including contracting for the production of sound, film and data media; (artists and bands publishing contract, distribution contracts, and performance contracts).
  • General media law including publishing, press, internet, music, film, television and event law as well as drafting contracts for film and television productions (scripted contracts, license agreements, production agreements);
  • Management, agency, consultancy and promotion contracts; media cooperation and merchandising agreements;
  • Protection of domain names, brand and company codes, hosting access, service and content provisions as well as general liability issues on the internet, in particular the liability for own and third-party sited or another type of networking;
  • Software and database law (with mobile commerce and MMS and digital rights management, ie handling of DRM systems, technical protection measures such as access control systems and copy protection system), in particular copy protection for audio CDs, DVDs as well as for film and multimedia DVDs and other data carriers;
  • Negotiation Management for authors with production and distribution companies;
  • Conduct negotiations between production and sale companies against authors;
  • Copyright examinations and evaluations, especially in the areas of design and art, as well as in the case of speech, sound and image works;
  • National and international law enforcement; utilization assessments (admissibility assessment of work use);
  • Judicial and arbitration enforcement of all kinds of copyrights, including interim injunctions and international legal proceedings.

Further topics and services offered by our Law Firm

  • Publishing Law;
  • Publishing Law Attorneys Hanover;
  • Verify, create the publishing license;
  • Publishers;
  • Authors;
  • Author´s contracts;
  • EBOOK-contracts;
  • Publishing company;
  • Book publishing;
  • Music publishing;
  • Publisher agreement;

German media law

What does „media law“means?

Media law as a separate legal area in the form of a single Act or even systematically from a legal view of ordered norms is not legally relevant in itself. The “Media Act” came from the former “new media” (BTX, modem, cable transmission, etc.). The term is still sector-oriented to the present, but encompasses both classical and “new” forms of media. As lawyers specialized in media law, we deal with the areas of classical media law, such as broadcasting law, broadcasting licenses rights, mechanical and performance rights, publishing rights, telecommunications law, but also all adjoining legal areas such as copyright, press law, film law, music law and data protection law. Of course, the focus is on aspects of new media such as eCommerce, eGovernment, ePayment (such as bitcoins), cloud computing or sales platforms such as iTunes or Amazon / eBay as well as the use of personal protective rights or third party rights, or third party websites, distribution platforms for media content and, in general, competition and antitrust law.

Where are „media law” regulated?

“Media law” is initially standardized in media-specific regulations such as state press laws, broadcasting laws, broadcasting agreements, telecommunications law, tele-media law, etc. However, the branch approach leads to the fact that media law also includes neighbouring legal areas with media references such as, for example, competition law, copyright, trademark law, publishing rights, anti-protection legislation, etc.

Media Law foundations using the Lower Saxony´s regulation as example:

The media enjoys special protection under Article 5 of the Basic German Law (Grundgesetzt). There is a very comprehensive basic right of freedom of opinion and press, which clearly shows the limits of state influence. On the other hand, it is not to be overlooked that media have a great influence. They inform, entertain and represent opinions. Media does not only represent reality; they also shape the reality in which we live. In view of the strong position of the media in our information society and its high socio-political importance, it is necessary – within the limits of Article 5 – to regulate and correct, if necessary, the media law system.

The legislative competence for those above-mentioned broadcasting laws depends on the German regions (Länder). To ensure that there are no 16 different regulations for the nation-wide electronic media (radio, television and online services), the regions have agreed in state treaties on federal legal bases. Thus, there are a number of different broadcasting state contracts (for example, the ARD State Treaty, the ZDF State Treaty, the Broadcasting State Treaty). In Lower Saxony, we also have the Lower Saxony Media Act for nationwide and regional private broadcasting. It regulates the organization of broadcasting of private broadcasters, media services in cable systems and the allocation of transmission capacities. The supervisory authority for private broadcasting is the Niedersächsische Landesmedienanstalt (NLM).

The legal basis for the activity of the Norddeutsche Rundfunks (NDR) is regulated in the NDR-Staatsvertrag. The NDR is a public service broadcasting corporation and is supported alongside the states of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein. The Broadcasting Council has the program supervision on the NDR. The Lower Saxony Press Act applies to the area of the so-called print media (primarly newspapers and magazines). This includes, for example, the right to information and the due diligence of the press, the requirements for an imprint (Impressum), and the right to a regional representation.