Legal Representation of Clients in Copyright Matters
The German copyright system differs greatly from the North-American copyright system. In Germany, copyrights are not only economic rights, but also moral rights which protect certain personal rights of the authors. Moral rights can neither be waived nor transferred, which may, to some extent, impede distributors who try to use and exploit the copyright protected works in Germany. Also, a “work made for hire” principle is not part of the German copyright system. In addition to copyrights, the German Copyright Act protects certain “neighboring rights” of artists, singers, performers, actors, record labels and event organizers.
Our attorneys at ZELLER & SEYFERT will represent you and your company out of court, for example by sending out warning letters on your behalf and demanding a signed cease and desist declaration from the infringer on your media rights or copyrights. Our attorneys will also represent you before all German and European courts (EGC, ECJ, ECHR).
Our clients in the various areas of media law and copyright law particularly include:
- E-Commerce & Internet: Internet companies, online shops, online pharmacies
- Film Law: Film makers, film studios, actresses, actors, acting agencies, performing artists and artist agencies, owners of film rights (copyrights), film music publishers, film music composers, casting agencies, directors, voice actors, screenplay writers
- Music Law: Music publishers, record labels / record companies, music producers, music video producers, music studios, singers, songwriters and musicians, music composers, film music composers, film music publishers, music managers and music agencies, music promoters, event promoters / event managers / event organizers, tour managers / tour promoters, performing artists and artist agencies, owners of music copyrights and neighbouring rights
- Entertainment Law – Events: Event organizers, music event promoters, musical promoters, concert agencies
- Performing Artists: Actresses, actors and acting agencies, stage actresses / stage actors, artist associations and artist agencies, directors, musicians, music bands and music managers, studio musicians, singers and songwriters, opera singers, musical performers and musical singers, conductors, voice actresses, voice actors and voice-over artists, dancers
- Copyright Law: Filmmakers and film studios, photographers and photographic agencies, composers, musicians, music publishers and record labels, performers and artist agencies, event organizers and promoters of all types (e.g., for music, musicals, sports, entertainment), internet companies and online platforms of all kinds, software companies, software developers and software engineers, computer game publishers and computer game developers, choreographers and dancers, theaters, opera houses and festival halls, architects, engineers and project planners, book publishers and book authors, television networks, television broadcasters and television stations
- Publishing Law: Book publishers, music publishers, film distributors
- IT Law – Software Law and Computer Law: Software producers, software companies and software systems houses, data centers, computing centers and colocation centers, web designers and web programmers, IT consulting companies, IT service providers, backbone operators, hosting companies and Internet providers
- Image Law & Photo Law: Photographers, depicted persons on photos or other pictures, photo models, people who were photographed against their will, people whose right to their own image was violated
- Personality Rights (Defamation): People whose reputation was damaged, defamed people, slandered people, libeled people, companies whose economic appreciation was damaged
- Press Law: Newspapers, periodicals, magazines, web portals, media companies, book publishers
In our litigation law firm Attorney at Law Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. will handle your media law or copyright case. Christian is a Certified Copyright & Media Law Specialist as well as a Certified IP Law Specialist. He has dealt with media law and copyright cases, and he is a trusted expert in the protection and enforcement of copyrights in Germany, in the EU and on an international scale for many years.
Legal Representation in Copyright Matters before German Courts
Competent for the assessment of copyright cases in Germany are the general German civil courts (District Courts and Courts of Appeal). Attorney Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. (USA) has represented companies in copyright matters for many years before German courts. He will evaluate your copyright case in detail and give your company advice on how to move forward and litigate your copyright case in Germany.
Our law firm will in particular enforce the following copyright claims on behalf of your company before German courts:
- Injunctive relief against the continued unauthorized use of the copyrights of your company (injunction against unauthorized copyright use)
- Requests for information from the copyright infringer on the nature and extent of the unauthorized use of the copyrights of your company (right to information)
- Claims for damages, in particular profits made by the copyright infringer and compensation according to the license analogy principle (damages for copyright infringement)
- Claims to destruct, recall or transfer illegally manufactured or distributed copyright protected products (destruction, recall or transfer of products which are in violation of copyrights)
- Claims against the copyright infringer to submit certain bank, financial or commercial documents (submission of certain documents)
- Claim to give notice of the court verdict in the copyright case to the public at the expense of the copyright infringer (publication of judgment)
Legal Representation of Copyright Clients in Summary Proceedings (Speedy Trials)
If you are aware of continued copyright infringements in Germany to the detriment of your company, urgent measures are regularly needed to avert further damage. Our attorneys will swiftly enforce the copyrights of your company and seek an injunction in a summary proceeding (speedy trial) before the competent German court. Particularly urgent is usually also the preliminary enforcement of certain rights to information on the nature and extent of the copyright infringement and to the submission of certain bank, financial or commercial documents for the later calculation of damages. ZELLER & SEYFERT will deal with the copyright matters of your company promptly and seek quick injunctive relief to the benefit of your company before the competent German court.
Warning Letters – Pre-Litigation Representation out of court
Owners of copyrights generally have the burden – according to German civil law – to first send a warning letter out of court to the copyright infringing party. This warning letter shall inform the copyright infringing party about its copyright violations and seek a possible settlement between the parties. Rushing with a copyright case to court without prior demanding from the copyright infringing party to cease and desist from its copyright violations may otherwise result in your company having to pay for the entire court fees and attorney fees of both sides, even if your company later wins the copyright lawsuit.
Defending Clients against Copyright Claims of others
ZELLER & SEYFERT will also represent you and your company in the reverse situation: If somebody has put forward copyright related claims in Germany against your company, a prompt response by a German attorney is regularly necessary and generally advisable. A prompt response by a German attorney is particularly needed, if your company has been served with documents from a German court or your company has received such documents otherwise. Litigation in copyright matters in Germany is our attorneys’ forte. Our attorneys welcome your calls and e-mails for a quick evaluation about your copyright case.
Border Seizures by the German Customs Authorities
Particularly successful copyright protected works like internationally successful motion pictures and music are often cheaply and illegally copied by product pirates. These pirates then try to smuggle the illegal copies (CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs etc.) into the domestic market – to the detriment of the owners whose copyrights have been violated. Our attorneys will support your company to intercept the illegal copies at the German border with the assistance of the German customs authorities. Our attorneys will then also have the illegal copies cracked and destroyed right at the border. ZELLER & SEYFERT will start the appropriate border seizure procedures with the German customs authorities on behalf of your company. Our attorneys will guide your company through the German border seizure procedure from its beginning until its successful completion. For more information please click on Border Seizure Procedures by the German Customs Authorities.
German Copyright Law and International Copyright Law
In a globalizing world, copyright cases are more and more frequently played out in an international or multinational arena. Especially in complex international copyright cases, it is particularly important to get solid legal advice on the questions, in what countries and to what extent the enforcement of the copyrights of your company are possible. Our attorneys will discuss with you in detail the international copyright situation for your company, in particular, whether German courts have international jurisdiction in your copyright case and to what extent the copyrights of your company can be enforced in Germany. Together with our international cooperating partners, we can also help your company to enforce your copyrights and other IP rights in jurisdictions outside of Germany.