BGH hears “legal dispute concerning framing” between Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst and Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek

On Thursday, the 21st February 2019, the Bundesgerichtshof in Karlsruhe (Federal Court of Justice) (BGH) will hear the legal dispute between the Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst (VG Bild-Kunst) and the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (German Digital Library) (DDB). The legal dispute concerns the question whether the VG Bild-Kunst is obliged to grant any rights of use for its repertoire of copyright-protected works of visual arts to the DDB for the purpose of displaying preview images on its internet platform without the DDB’s technical prevention that its users link the displayed preview images via framing on their own websites. 

What happened so far

As early as 2016, the VG Bild-Kunst and the DDB negotiated on the conclusion of a licensing agreement. Since they were not able to come to an agreement with regard to the “framing protection” demanded by the VG Bild-Kunst, they agreed to clarify this legal issue judicially. Following the appeal filed by the DDB against the judgement of the Landgericht Berlin (Regional Court in Berlin) dated 25 July 2017 (case number: 15 O 251/17), the Kammergericht Berlin (Court of Appeal in Berlin) established in its judgement of 18 June 2018 (case number 24 U 146/16) that the VG Bild-Kunst must not make the conclusion of a licensing agreement with the DDB subject to the condition that the DDB takes any technical protection measures to prevent framing. 

We reported on this issue in greater detail in our news release of 15 June 2016 "Model case proceedings concerning framing" and in our press release of 10 July 2018 “Kammergericht Berlin (Court of Appeal) Decides Copyright Dispute in Favour of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek”. The VG Bild-Kunst has filed an appeal against the appeal judgement of the Kammergericht Berlin before the Bundesgerichtshof (I ZR 113/18).

What comes next?

On 21 February 2019, we will learn how the Bundesgerichtshof will assess the classification of framing from the legal perspective and whether the BGH will submit the legal issue to the European Court of Justice for decision. So the case will remain exciting in every respect!

You will find more information about the hearing on the website of the Bundesgerichtshof:

17.12.2018 Press release by the Bundesgerichtshof on the hearing date

[For the press release of this article go to our Press and Media section