Good news for documentary filmmakers: ARD's broadcasters and the Producers Alliance have reached agreement with the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dokumentarfilm (AG DOK) and the Bundesverband Regie (BVR) on joint remuneration regulations. They have been in effect since the beginning of the year and are said to contain substantial improvements, but only affect purely commissioned productions with a length of 30 to 90 minutes.
The agreement sets minimum fees and entitlements to subsequent remuneration for commissioned productions, while raising the overall fees for directors and writers. To strengthen productions with special demands, such as investigative projects, surcharges of up to 50 percent of the book and director's fees are also provided for.
The previously common "buy-out" with flat fees will be replaced by a post-production remuneration model. This will also give creators a share in the commercial success of their films by systematically recording repeat viewings in the future and also giving filmmakers a percentage share of commercial revenues.
Media libraries are becoming increasingly important in the exploitation of documentary productions, which is why the flat-rate payment for media library use is to be swiftly replaced by a usage-based payment model in a further step.
The application of the rules for subsequent remuneration will be retroactive for the broadcast or use of documentary commissioned productions from 2011. The new remuneration model will thus not only lead directly to subsequent remuneration payments, but should also contribute to satisfying the legal situation for the use of legacy productions. Possible implementation problems, especially in the initial phase, are to be dealt with in a joint clearing house.
In a further step, negotiations for co-productions, i.e. productions that are co-financed to a significant extent by film subsidies or other partners, are now to be initiated in a timely manner.
The exact wording of the new Joint Compensation Rules (GVR) can be viewed at here.