Netflix appeases German producers regarding full buyouts in service agreements

Transfer of rights Germany Netflix
German action and adventure series "Barbarians" | © Netflix

Netflix requires producers to transfer all rights when collaborating. Regardless of the fact that in a so-called full buyout according to the American system, European copyright law is disregarded. This is how representatives of German production companies expressed themselves in a panel discussion at the Hamburg Film Festival. Netflix was also present. And contradicted.

Hamburg, October 2, 2020

At a panel discussion that took place as part of the Hamburg Film Festival, producers from the production companies Accomplices Film and Constantin Film expressed their criticism of Netflix: It is customary to do so as part of a so-called service agreement all rights would have to be transmitted to the American streaming giant. This shows that the American concept of copyright is not compatible with European copyright law.

The German Netflix manager present on the podium, Wolf Osthaus , Director Public Policy for the DACH region, disagreed. Firstly, it is still the case that the involvement of Netflix is still low compared to the classic TV stations in Germany. Second, it must be noted, so Osthaus, that every single collaboration is regulated individually and differently.

Decisive, explained Osthaus, are a whole series of different factors for Netflix in the concrete regulation of the cooperation and the determination of the rights to be transferred. It would depend on the phase of production in which Netflix made a commitment, who the production partner was and what potential and what marketing opportunities a project was given.

If the production company keeps some rights and Netflix has to pay less for them, that’s great!
Wolf Osthaus

Cooperation with streaming partners is becoming increasingly important for producers in Germany. In the previous year, Netflix cooperated with German production houses on a total of 7 productions; this year there are already 20 series and films that are being produced in Germany with Netflix. Experts assume that the company will continue to increase its share of foreign productions in the future.

Recording (live stream) of the panel discussion | © Filmfest Hamburg / YouTube

Domestic Netflix productions include the Emmy award-winning series “Unorthodox” by director Maria Schrader, “Biohackers” (already in its 2nd season), the documentary “A perfect crime” and “Barbarians” (starts October 23) .

Source: Hamburg Film Festival

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