Making music in your flat without fighting with the neighbours in Germany

Making music in your flat without neighbouring stress: is that possible in Germany?

As a matter of fact, the old-fashion prerequisite of a happy home is having the freedom of doing what you like, when you like, with whom you like. But from a legal point of you? Is it true? Are we free to do whatever we like?

The answer is the same: your freedom ends when mine begins. If your behavior is in some way causing a situation of distress for another person (it could be the neighbour, the flatmate etc.), your freedom could become a “torture” for someone else and this should be legally regulated. More precisely: you all know the problem: good vibes, a group of friend, a nice dinner listening to some music. Or you have just bought a new piano and want to practice every day. Is it allowed? How loud? Till when? Is there a legal regulation for this? Of course!

Practising a musical instrument shall not be prohibited even in rented flats. The Higher Regional Court (OLG) Hamm has made it clear.There is a general right to make music (OLG Hamm, Ref. 15 W 122/80) and even practising an instrument on Sundays is not considered a disturbance of the peace per se.

As a rule, a maximum of two hours of music-making per day should be tolerated. However, there are different court rulings on house music. The permitted practice time varies depending on the court decision – for the piano, for example, from one and a half to three hours a day.

Every situation is different. No legal dispute is the same. Details matter. Your legal representation matters. Contact us.

 

 

“Musikgutachter”: The legal role of music experts in Germany

Music experts have significant influence on the decisions in almost all legal proceedings. In some cases, several expert opinions are requested in order to have an objective framework of the situation; it could also happen that different experts can contradict each other. In the last years, there has been an increasing “professionalisation”. In the beginning, expert opinions were still personal and sometimes methodologically questionable. Over time, experts with a certain familiarity with case law and legal vocabulary were chosen from the tribunal/legal structure. Increasingly, other methods besides the purely descriptive analysis of works and the comparison of notes from the fields of music psychology and music sociology started finding their way into expert opinions protocols. Today, the demands on music experts are correspondingly high. Sometimes several experts are commissioned to clarify technical questions of evidence.

You can avoid arising music law conflicts if you commission a forensic music analysis of your production for legal certainty and quality control as a preventive measure before publication. You will receive an objective analysis of whether your work maintains the required distance from the comparative work of music.

Our law firm works daily with cases of music plagiarism, distortion, adaptation, quotation, intellectual property protection. Get in touch with us. Our experts are here for you.

Mrs. Anna Umberg is one of our copyright law specialists. Book an appointment with her. 

True or False – Music Law

True or False – Music Law:

Quick Check on the most Frequent Asked Questions of the internet

Are self-composed songs automatically protected by copyright?
German copyright law automatically protects music or sheet music and song lyrics.

What has copyright to do with music?
The musical work is protected under copyright law as soon as it is created, i.e. when the song is played for the first time at rehearsals or when the lyrics and melody are written down.

Has copyright on music a period of expiration?
Copyright on music lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. After that, the statute of limitations expires and it is considered to be in the public domain.

Strangers are using a self-composed song without my permission. What shall I do?
In this case, there may be a copyright infringement. It is possible to take legal action against this. Do not waste time. Contact a lawyer immediately. 

What about YouTube? Can I download music for free and sell it online? 
The answer is definitely NO. Illegally downloading music from YouTube and eventually selling it or using it without permission is a crime and it can be punished legally. Anyone who uploads a self-composed song on Youtube is considered to be the author. This means that the copyright law for music applies. In addition, anyone who includes other people’s music in a video may be committing a copyright infringement. Therefore, it should be checked beforehand who the author is and whether permission is necessary. A lawyer could definitely help you clarify every question you have. 

Copyright infringement only occurs if I commercially exploit the music, right?
NO, that is not correct. If you use pieces of music protected by copyright law and offer them for free download on your website, this is also an infringement. If unauthorised distribution takes place, it is irrelevant whether it is of a commercial nature or not.

So, let a legal check your conditions before making the wrong move. Copyright Infringements are

legally punishable. 

“Urheberrechtsreform” – When digitalizations means a copyright-law reform

The New Music Copyright Reform enters into force on June 7, 2021

The law concerning the new EU copyright directives was published in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt) on June 4, 2021 and the new so-called Copyright Service Providers Act (UrhDaG), i.e. the implementation of the controversial Article 17 of the EU Directive (formerly Article 13), will then come into force on August 1, 2021.

Background of the reform:

As a sign of our constantly changing society, social media platforms are also in an unremitting search for the best contents. Copyright law is constantly confronted with digital changes and without a constant adaptation of our legal system would be difficult to keep the media laws contained. For this reason, a copyright reform was passed this year to meet the requirements of an increasingly digitally active knowledge society.

The Reform:

According to the reform, digital platforms will be held liable for copyright infringements on their channels and have to acquire the necessary licenses. Representatives of the online community must accept that there is an enforceable copyright on the Internet and this must be accepted in the future of copyright law. Authors and rights exploiters, in turn, must come to terms with the fact that the German government has defined a “minor use” that is permitted without compensation for copyrights: fifteen seconds in image and sound, 160 characters of text, and image excerpts of up to 125 kilobytes are free.

Criticisms:

This does not sounds like “too much”, but  just the fifteen seconds is too much in the age of Instagram and TikTok for musicians, music publishers, filmmakers and film rights holders of the free. These fifteen seconds are enough to play out the decisive scene on TikTok for instance and this has been the reason for criticism and resistance form the side of musicians and music publishers. These letters will in particular not give up really soon, even once the new copyright law has come into force.

If you wish to know more about it, go check out the official website of the German “Bundesregierung” and if you habe questions, do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

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Hamburg Higher Regional Court – Music Law

Decision of the 11.10.2018, 5 U 57/15

What if you decide to write a music album… and someone else decides to publish the same music you have just written? Is it just a case? Did they copied you? What does the law says about these kind of legal disputes?

In detail:

The author of a music work X decides to sue the author of the song Y, because the music is alleged to be copied from the pre-existing work X. This is

This is a real case that the OLG Hamburg solved with a strong and firm tribunal decision.

The Hamburg Regional Court dismissed the case. Yes, you read that right. In fact, it is true that the X work of music own the right of protect ability, however, the composition of the Y music had minor deviations. The possibility of double creation was thus given. It could not be proved that the protectable guitar melody was taken over from the pre-existing work.

The second expert of the Court of Appeal referred to the frequent occurrence of the chord sequence (Turnaorund) and that the guitar figures could easily be derived from finger exercises. A double creation was therefore very likely.

Are you interested in this case? Do you have questions? Don’t waste time! CONTACT US. We are here for you.

Source: www.pixabay.com

Value Added Taxes – No Say No Pay?

Karlsruhe Regional Court (Ref. 14 0 31/20 KfH)

Has it already happened to you that the costs estimated from the seller is much less than the actual final price? 

Stop wrapping your head around it and seek for legal help!

The Case

Mr. F. becomes clear information from his car repair shop: The flat-rate price for the repair of the damage is going to be 700 euros. When the customer picks up the car, however, 833 euros are printed on the invoice.

Reason for this unfortunate misunderstanding is that the employee of the car repair shop only told his customer the net price of his service, absolutely not mentioning the value added taxes that were going to incur. 

Mr Falkenberg decided to take legal action, as he previously refused the offer of another garage, which would actually have been cheaper, only because he thought that he was going to pay only 700 euros. 

Tribunal Decision

The Karlsruhe Regional Court decided that consumers in Germany must always be able to see immediately and transparently the actual price of goods and services they are going to purchase, always including VAT. It is not permissible to add VAT on the invoice without informing the customer in advance. 

In case the seller (or car repair shop owner) does not comply with this regulation, it could face an administrative fine of up to 250,000 euros.

So, be careful with your business! We advise all kind of businesses. Contact us. 

Source: www.pixabay.com

Life Insurance Laws

Going home from work is not automatically covered by life insurance

Federal Social Court of Kassel (Case B 2 U 9/19 R)

Sometimes life does not go as planned. The case we are reviewing with you today is unfortunately concerning the tragic car accident of Hannes Hanke.

The Case: 

Mr. Hanke used to work as a chemical worker in his hometown in Germany. One day, just like many others, leaves Mr. Hanke his workplace, leaves the machine running, doesn’t say goodbye to his colleagues and doesn’t log off at the working hours file record. He usually calls his wife before going home, but he doesn’t do that that day either. He gets into his car and goes on the usual and direct way home. In doing so, his car gets caught in oncoming traffic and Hannes Hanke suddenly loses his life in a car crush. His widow is now claiming survivor´s loss benefits from the statutory life insurance. However, the employers’ insurance association rejects her claims as the accident was according to the records on his way home and not at his actual working place.

Ms. Hanke decided then to go to court and let the judges at the Federal Social Court in Kassel decide. 

The Tribunal Decision:

They took the following decision: An accident on the usual way home from work is not always covered by the statutory accident insurance. Rather, it must also be clear that the employee actually wants to drive home. This cannot be established in the present case. After a normal working day, it can be assumed that the employee does indeed want to go home. However, this does not apply to the completely atypical procedure that Mr. Hanke had on the day of his death. 

So, Ms. Hanke unfortunately had not received her insurance benefits. 

Source: www.pixabay.com

What do you think about this case? Do you have questions on German insurance law? 

Get in touch with us. We can help. 

Corona Pandemic and Company Council Meetings

In times of corona, every action we were actually taking without thinking has become an open question. This is the case of an employer (a German company operating in the field of clinical rehabilitation) and the group works council (in German Konzernbetriebsratsitzung) of its company.

Source: www.pixabay.com

The Case:

The employer has temporarily prohibited all employees from attending inter-facility meetings and gatherings and has applied this prohibition also with regard to a planned meeting of the group works council, which is to be held in person over several days and requires the works council members to travel. The employer considers such a presence meeting to be unacceptable in view of the current Covid 19 pandemic. The group works council has however opposed to the prohibition and claimed that all applicable legal requirements for protection against infections have been complied with and there is no need to postpone meetings.

Tribunal Decision:

In the proceedings for interim relief, the Berlin Labor Court has ruled that a meeting of the group works council cannot be prohibited.

According to the decision of the labor court, there is no legal basis for a ban of this kind of meetings. According to the Works Constitution Act, the chairman of the group works council decides on the convening of the meeting, the place of the meeting and thus also on whether a meeting is to be held in the form of a video or telephone conference.

According to the Corona Contact and Operating Restrictions Ordinance currently in force at the venue, it is permissible to hold the meeting, whereby the observance and compliance with the Ordinance is primarily the responsibility of the group works council itself and its chairperson. The increase in risk remains despite expected compliance with the rules of conduct but this did not entitle the employer to prohibit the meeting as a face-to-face event.

This decision is subject to appeal to the Berlin-Brandenburg Regional Labour Court.

Are you facing similar problems with your employer? Just get in touch with us and let a lawyer analyze your situation. You are not alone.

NRW: Masks at School

Tribunal Decision of the Week

BWLH Reviews

As a matter of fact, masks have slowly but drastically become an ornament to our everyday life, just like shoes and clothes. Most countries of the world are changing rules in order to fight the corona global pandemic from spreading and infecting more people on a daily basis. 

The World Health Organization and most Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommend including face masks at public events and everywhere, where it is difficult to keep the required social distancing. 

Masks come in a broad variety of styles and sizes and everybody own at least one. 

However, not everybody is ready to use one, when needed. 

This was the case of a couple of German students that definitely weren´t that happy to wear a mask in public!

The Case (Higher Administrative Court North Rhine-Westphalia AZ: 13 B 1368/20): 

The two students wanted to be permanently exempted from the compulsory masks to be worn in the school building. For this reason, they submitted medical certificates to the school management. The certificates stated that from a health point of view, wearing an everyday mask all day is not to be recommended. Concentration, attention and the process of learning of the applicants would suffer.

The school management however, decided not to accept the certificates and refuses to exempt them from the mask obligation. The parents decided to bring the case before a judge in court. 

Tribunal Decision:

The urgent application was rejected by the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia. The justification for refusal was that the submitted medical certificates did not meet the minimum requirements, since the general impairments listed there, could ultimately affect all students and not only these two one. Rather, the medical certificate must clearly and specifically state the health impairment individually for and only these two subjects and specifically explain which are the consequences of the mask on them. Possible relevant previous illnesses should for instance be mentioned. Besides it must be clear, on which basis the attesting physician came to this estimation and on which evidences he attested so. The decision is also not contestable. 

Are you also living a situation that does not fit your expectations and you would like to clarify the problems you are facing?

Get in touch with us. We are a team of expert lawyers and we are happy to help you. Just fill out our form and get a free price estimate for your case.