Four Basic Facts You Should Know About Media Reviews & Copyright Law

2 minutes reading time

Series on Media Reviews & Copyright Law, Part 1:

“We actually compile our media review in-house – and it’s for internal use only” or “our review contains very few articles, therefore licensing rules don’t apply” – this, or something similar, is probably what many companies believe to be true. But it turns out these are actually common misconceptions, which can lead to the inadvertent infringement of basic copyright law.
To help you avoid the pitfalls of German licensing regulation, we are launching a new series of articles designed to answer crucial questions about media reviews and copyright law.

1. When do I have to pay royalties for my (digital) media review?

You must pay royalties for digital media reviews if they include a) print articles or b) full-text articles from online media – instead of a short excerpt or URL link to the original source. In both cases fees are mandatory, regardless of whether you scanned the article, acquired it from a service provider or made the screenshot yourself (in the case of online media). Even if your media review is only shared among a handful of colleagues or if it contains just a small number of articles, copyright law still applies.

2. What’s the average cost of royalties for media reviews?

In Germany, publishers themselves set the tariffs as they see fit. Therefore, royalties may vary from one article to another. Regardless of these price variations, the fee per article depends on the number of readers. This means that the fees of a media review for a mailing list of five people are lower than those for a review shared among 50 addressees. Moreover, royalties are also dictated by whether you plan to archive articles for a prolonged period of time or whether you only need to access them over the next 12 months. Currently, a basic contract for up to ten readers and a 12-month archiving license requires you to pay a fee of € 3,07 for most articles.

3. Where do I license my articles?

In Germany, there are two institutions authorized to license articles in media reviews: the VG Wort, founded in 1958, and the Presse-Monitor-Gesellschaft (PMG), founded in 2011. The differences between these two associations and their respective priorities will be the subject of another blog post. Generally speaking, in the majority of cases the PMG will be responsible for licensing the articles included in your digital media review. The prerequisite for a media review that is compliant with copyright law is thus a contract with the PMG on the basis of which your articles will be licensed.

To spare our customers bureaucratic hassle, we take care of their license management. In addition, we also provide comprehensive advice on specific questions such as image licensing or how to purchase the rights to share your media review in your company’s intranet.

4. Our media review includes articles from international sources – do we have to license those as well?

Since by now most countries have adopted laws which regulate the licensing of print and full-text online articles, you are also required to license articles from international media sources. The respective royalties to be paid depend on country-specific regulation and may vary. Besides Germany, the UK, Norway and Sweden also have very strict copyright laws. In other countries – including many African states – licensing regulation is still a work in progress, which means that often they have not yet defined a standard for royalties.


And if you want to know what the continent of Westeros from the hit series Game of Thrones and copyright law have in common, stay tuned for part II of our series.

If you have any further questions about copyright law or your media review, we’d love to hear from you. You can contact us by email at or by phone at +49 (0)211 175 20 77-888

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