In many areas, authors have the option of entrusting a collecting society with the administration of their rights. In view of their monopoly and fiduciary status, collecting societies are subject to government supervision. The German Patent and Trademark Office exercises this supervision on the basis of the Collecting Societies Act.
The following collecting societies are licensed to conduct business in Germany:
- Society for Musical Performing and Mechanical Reproduction Rights (GEMA).
- Collecting society Bild-Kunst (VG Bild-Kunst)
- Collecting society Wort (VG Wort)
- Collecting society for rights of use in cinematographic works (VGF)
- Collecting society Musikedition (VG Musikedition)
- Society for the Assumption and Administration of Film Performance Rights (GÜFA)
- Collecting society of film and television producers mbH (VFF)
- Society for the Administration of Film and Television Rights mbH (GWFF)
- AGICOA Copyright Protection Society mbH (AGICOA)
- Corint Media GmbH (Corint Media)
- Treuhandgesellschaft Werbefilm mbH (VG TWF)
- Society for the exploitation of ancillary copyrights mbH (GVL)
- Society for the Administration of Organizer Rights mbH (GWVR)
Further information on the collecting societies can be found under "Related Links".
It follows from the author's exclusive right that the use of the copyrighted material (e.g., by performing a musical work or staging a spoken work) is only permitted with the consent of the author or the holder of the exclusive right of use. If the author has commissioned a collecting society to administer his rights, the necessary license must be obtained from the society.
Conversely, performing artists and event organizers have a property right related to copyright (ancillary copyright) in their performance, which can also be administered collectively by a collecting society. In Germany, this task is performed by the Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten mbH (GVL).