News 2015


Certification Course on Curation

It's that time again. The three-month curating course at the Berlin University of the Arts starts again next February. One of the lecturers is Anna Kathrin Distelkamp. You can register until January 29, 2016.


The curating certificate course provides in-depth knowledge for curatorial practice through experienced specialist lecturers, individual advice and visits to exhibition venues. In seminars, excursions and forums, you can learn all the steps from the idea to planning and implementation using specific case studies.


The course is divided into five modules, which take place on Fridays and/or Saturdays. Within three months, you will receive a compact overview of the current fields of curating while working.


Duration: February 26 - May 21, 2016
Times: Friday and Saturday: 9 am - 6 pm and 7 pm respectively
Registration deadline is January 29, 2016

We look forward to seeing you there!


Digital Reading Stations

Libraries are allowed to make books digitally accessible - this was decided by the German Federal Court (BGH) in April. The reasons for the ruling are now available. Our partner and lawyer Bertold Schmidt-Thomé explains what this ruling means for publishers.


Libraries are allowed to offer books at electronic reading stations. This was decided by the BGH in April, which ruled in favor of Darmstadt Technical University. A publisher had sued for injunctive relief in 2010 because the university had made books - including those of the plaintiff publisher - available to students digitally, but had refused to provide the e-book published by the publisher. The BGH's reasoning is now available. Essentially, it states that it cannot be assumed without further ado that the users of the reading stations are reproducing the works unlawfully. Printing or saving for private use is permissible. (Case no. I ZR 69/11).


"Even if a user is interposed here, the core of the dispute is again about the appropriate remuneration of the authors. The statutory provision on which the BGH based its decision makes it more difficult for publishers to prevent the distribution of unlawful digital copies of their works at the source if there is no other contractual agreement.


Publishers must now attempt to enforce a ban on reproduction in accordance with §§ 52b, 53 UrhG via their contractual terms vis-à-vis public purchasers, such as university libraries. It must also be ensured that such contractual conditions are also effective when purchased via booksellers. At the same time, claims for injunctive relief against internet portals that distribute privately posted digital copies of works should be examined for unauthorized commercial reproduction (business model content versus advertising)."


Read the decision here


Second Law Draft

After a sometimes heated debate on the amendment to the Cultural Property Protection Act, Minister of State Monika Grütters has made a complete overhaul. Our lawyer and art historian Bertold Schmidt-Thomé on the draft.


"At last there is a draft basis to talk about. The published version contains not only the legal text but also the entire draft bill with explanatory memorandum in the appendix. It is a heavily amended draft that has been revised in almost all important points. Ms. Grütters has done what she said she would do. Namely to listen. As far as the content is concerned, many concerns have been taken on board and regulations have been toned down. However, there is still a tendency to restrict the rights of private individuals and trade. The law is thus consistently in line with current legislation that restricts civil liberties. Readings in the Bundestag and Bundesrat will now follow. There will also be another round of hearings. So it will remain exciting."


Entrepreneurial Commitment to Culture

For ten years now, the Deutscher Kulturförderpreis has been recognizing special projects by companies in the cultural sector. dtb rechtsanwälte is also among the applicants this year.
Once a year, the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI e. V., together with its partners Süddeutsche Zeitung and Handelsblatt, awards the Deutscher Kulturförderpreis - a nationwide award for corporate commitment to culture.
This year, dtb rechtsanwälte entered the competition with the magazine art value - Positionen zum Wert der Kunst. art value is an interdisciplinary specialist magazine on issues relating to the appreciation of art, which has been sponsored by dtb rechtsanwälte since 2007. Experts from various fields of knowledge discuss aesthetic, political, ideological and economic criteria that can be used to evaluate art.
The prizes will be awarded at a gala ceremony in Berlin in November 2015.



Cultural Property Protection Act

"The nationalization of cultural assets is a questionable category," writes our partner Bertold Schmidt-Thomé in the newspaper DIE WELT about the draft law of the Minister of State for Culture and Media.


The planned amendment to the Cultural Property Protection Act continues to be the subject of lively debate. A press conference held last week by Monika Grütters (CDU), Minister of State for Culture and the Media, was intended to make the debate more objective. This has happened to some extent, and positive voices can also be heard - but many artists, collectors and museums are still unsettled.


Our partner and lawyer Bertold Schmidt-Thomé discusses the pros and cons of the draft in the newspaper DIE WELT and proposes necessary changes.


More here



Law Firm

Berlin lawyer Lucas Elmenhorst and dtb rechtsanwälte go their separate ways. After four successful years, Lucas Elmenhorst and dtb rechtsanwälte have mutually decided to terminate the employment contract.


"dtb rechtsanwälte and Lucas Elmenhorst have worked together successfully for four years. We would like to thank him for this. In the coming months, he will continue to qualify as a notary and we wish Lucas every success in his new position," says Dr. Pascal Decker, founding partner of dtb rechtsanwälte.


Redrafting the Cultural Property Protection Act

The Cultural Property Protection Act is intended to protect cultural property from damage, theft and destruction. Now the law is to be revised. The amendment is being hotly debated. Rightly so? Everyone agrees that the protection of cultural property is important. Nevertheless, the amendment of the Cultural Property Protection Act is the subject of much debate. Why?



The planned amendment is a new law that is intended to unite the existing laws, the Cultural Property Protection Act and the Cultural Property Restitution Act. The amendment is also justified by the fact that German cultural property protection is to be adapted to international standards. The plan is to tighten the import and export regulations for cultural property and to formulate clear due diligence obligations for the acquisition of cultural property. The modification is being initiated by the Minister of State for Culture and the Media, Monika Grütters, and is due to come into force at the beginning of 2016. The ministry believes that stricter regulations will strengthen Germany as a location for the art trade. Recent incidents of counterfeiting and fraud have made negative headlines.



The regulation on the export of cultural assets associated with the legislative project is particularly controversial. Until now, particularly important cultural assets were recorded by each federal state in a "register of nationally valuable cultural assets". If one of these registered cultural assets was to be exported, an official permit was required. The lack of initiative with which this register was kept was the main reason why the export of cultural assets could only be prevented in a few cases due to an entry in the register. The draft law is now intended to counter this with stricter export regulations. The draft bill provides for the export of nationally valuable cultural property to be subject to a general licensing requirement. However, how to determine what is nationally valuable remains unclear for the time being. The proposed regulation would particularly affect private collectors and galleries, as state museums would be exempt from the licensing requirement. This disregards the fact that Germany as an art trade location also thrives on the exchange of private collections on the international market.



Significantly more works of art would only be tradable in Germany if the law were based on an EU regulation that focuses solely on material, age and - often very low - value limits, our partner and lawyer Bertold Schmidt-Thomé noted in the newspaper DIE WELT. In England, for example, there is instead a so-called pre-emptive right of the state, which allows the state to acquire the cultural property within a certain period of time. If this does not happen, the owner may freely dispose of it. This is not the case in Germany. So the question arises: does it make sense to make the transfer of cultural assets more difficult?


Company-specific Trademark Analysis

Tailor-made brand architecture is a prerequisite for successful companies. Keeping track of registered trademarks is not easy. dtb rechtsanwälte and the brand communication agency PLEX have designed ChequeB for this purpose. Companies often have a large number of registered trademarks - but they have lost track of them. As a result, they not only fail to recognize the potential of the individual trademarks, but are also vulnerable on the market. This is because registered trademarks are often no longer up to date.


More here


Public Benefit and Competition

Two seemingly disparate terms from different worlds. And yet there are many points of contact. Our lawyers Dr. Pascal Decker, Nicole Schmidt and Anna Kathrin Distelkamp will explore these in their workshop at the German Fundraising Congress.
The competition for donations is bringing non-profit organizations more and more into the public eye. As a result, free-riders are sometimes able to take advantage of the good reputation of organizations and brands are copied. Competition and trademark law are efficient instruments to defend against this. A strong brand strategy supports positioning in the market and guarantees a monopoly on words, slogans, images and other symbols.
The choice of legal form is also crucial for non-profit organizations. In their workshop "Non-profit status and competition", our lawyers explain how to effectively combine legal forms for different fields of activity and protect yourself in competition.
German Fundraising Congress 2015
Time: May 19 - 21, 2015
Location: andel's Hotel Berlin, Landsberger Allee 106, 10369 Berlin


Proceedings Against Jonathan Meese Dropped

During the 2014 Munich Literature Festival, artist Jonathan Meese gave the Hitler salute and was sued. His gesture is to be regarded as a performance - as the Munich Regional Court has now ruled and discontinued the proceedings. Our lawyer Dr. Pascal Decker is representing the artist.


Jonathan Meese was a guest at the Munich Literature Festival on November 21, 2014 to give a performance on the subject of the "Dictatorship of Art". During his performance, the artist commented on the recent cancellation of his Parsifal production in Bayreuth and then spoke about the main theme of the evening. In the meantime, he showed the 'Hitler salute' at several points.


"This appearance is to be regarded as a performance and therefore a work of art," his lawyer Dr. Pascal Decker commented on the case. He argued that Meese's behavior should be assessed in the light of artistic freedom. Jonathan Meese is nationally and internationally successful as one of the most important contemporary German artists and is known for repeatedly thematizing personalities from world history and myths in his works. "The organizers and the audience, who spent €12 on a ticket, knew what to expect," argues Dr. Decker. This is the fourth case against the artist to end in an acquittal.


Art and Philanthropy

Together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), dtb rechtsanwälte organized the April edition of kunst.kabinett. The guest was Tilman Kriesel - grandson of the collector couple Dr. Bernhard and Margit Sprengel - who spoke about the passion that must not be missing in art and nature conservation.


The guests of kunst.kabinett agreed that it was a wonderful and stimulating evening. The evening's speaker, Tilman Kriesel, addressed the planned topic of "Art and philanthropy". In his talk, the art consultant provided an insight into the life of his grandfather Dr. Bernhard Sprengel, the chocolate manufacturer who became an important art collector and founded the Sprengel Museum in Hanover. In addition to interesting anecdotes, a bridge was also built between art and nature conservation. Passion, said Tilman Kriesel, is needed to be committed and effective in both areas.


dtb rechtsanwälte organizes the kunst.kabinett format four times a year. In a small setting, guests and speakers can exchange views on current topics. After a lecture and a round of talks, there is always time to get to know each other over wine and cheese.


Tilman Kriesel is managing partner of Tilman Kriesel Art Advisors GmbH in Hamburg and co-founder of the Förderkreis der Deichtorhallen and founder and board member of the young circle of Friends of the Sprengel Museum Hannover.


Digital Art Trade

Dealing in digital art is not an easy undertaking. This is because these works of art lack the allure of rarity that makes material works of art interesting. The entrepreneur and artist Stephan Vogler has now developed a solution in collaboration with dtb rechtsanwälte and with the help of Bitcoin technology.


Digital art often finds it difficult to assert itself on the international market. One reason for this is that it appears to be available as often as desired and is therefore difficult to trade. Stephan Vogler and dtb rechtsanwälte have developed a new type of license that transforms usage rights to copyrighted digital works into limited and tradable goods. This is possible with the help of Bitcoin technology.


Bitcoin is the name of an electronic currency and a payment system. With this system, it is possible to process transfers via the Internet without the involvement of a third party, such as a bank. The participants' credit balances are stored electronically. The market value of bitcoins is based on supply and demand.


Stephan Vogler is co-founder and managing director of CipSoft GmbH. His many years of involvement with questions of philosophy, information theory, art, law and economics have led him to create his own works on these topics.


Art Cologne

This year, the Art Congress Cologne will once again take place during Art Cologne. Our lawyer Dr. Lucas Elmenhorst will be attending the conference as an art market expert and will be speaking on the subject of the authenticity of works of art.


"The art market of the 21st century in the field of tension between transparency, acceleration and globality" - this is the theme of the Art Congress Cologne 2015. Exciting statements, lectures and panel discussions will deal with the art market and the legal and tax framework.


The panel "Legitimate acquisition of artworks - the increasing importance of sales contracts and due diligence in the art market" will also deal with legal issues. Our lawyer Dr. Lucas Elmenhorst is represented as a lawyer and art market expert and will discuss this topic with the other speakers and the audience after a keynote speech on the authenticity of artworks.
The Art Congress Cologne is aimed at private collectors, art enthusiasts, professional art market participants as well as institutions, banks and family offices.


Date: 17th of April 2015


Seminar on Art and Law

The new summer semester is now starting in Berlin. This year, our lawyer Dr. Mara Wantuch-Thole will once again provide insights into law at the Freie Universität Berlin.


The interdisciplinary seminar for students of art history and law is dedicated to the question of how the law regulates the relationships between the various players in the "art world". The course is divided into two main topics: Legal Issues of Copyright and Legal Issues of Museum and Art Market Practice.


Dr. Wantuch-Thole teaches together with Dr. Friederike Gräfin von Brühl, K&L Gates.

Introduction on April 21, 2015
Further dates:
May 15/16, 2015
July 3-4, 2015


Free Art Scene in Berlin

Gaining a foothold in Berlin's cultural scene is no easy task, especially for newcomers and career changers. Kulturförderpunkt Berlin organized a networking event in mid-March to provide assistance. One of the speakers was our lawyer Anna Kathrin Distelkamp.


All beginnings are difficult. This also applies to artists who want to establish themselves in the Berlin cultural scene. Before they can start planning their own projects, they need to clarify fundamental questions such as: Which legal form is the right one and what funding opportunities are available?


Kulturförderpunkt Berlin organized the event "How do I get started? First steps in the independent Berlin cultural scene. Our lawyer Anna Kathrin Distelkamp, together with Katja Grabert from Netzwerk Selbsthilfe e.V., advised on legal issues.


Seminar on Foundations

In April, our lawyer Dr. Pascal Decker will be a guest at a foundation event organized by Pax-Bank. The topic is the importance of branding for the identity of foundations.


Under the title "What makes our foundation special - or: Why should someone give us their money?", Pax-Bank invites you in mid-April to discuss together what makes up the special identity of each foundation, how to emphasize it and how to live it as a brand.


Christian Schlimok, Managing Director of Novamondo GmbH, and our lawyer Dr. Pascal Decker will shed light on the topic from a communications and legal perspective.

Time: April 17, 2015, 1 - 5.30 p.m.
Place: Stuttgart
Participation fee: 50€ each


Art on Tour

When art is borrowed, many parties are involved in the process: Collectors, museums, shipping companies, galleries and the public. What to look out for will be discussed at Art Cologne. One of the speakers is our lawyer Dr. Lucas Elmenhorst.


Art Cologne stands for viewing, enjoying and buying works of art. Art lovers and collectors will find a wide range of modern and contemporary art at the world's oldest art fair. This year, the fair takes place from April 16 - 19.


During the fair, many events will focus on topics related to art and the art trade. The 4th Cologne Art Insurance Talk will deal with the loan of works of art. On the first day of the fair, Zilkens Fine Art Insurancebroker invites a group of experts to discuss, among other things, the impact of loan agreements and experience with exhibition venues. Our lawyer Dr. Lucas Elmenhorst will also be represented on the panel.


Date: April 16, 2015
Location: Blue Salon, Koelnmesse
Registration at:


Protection of Cultural Property

According to press reports, militant groups earn their money from the illegal sale of looted art, among other things. Western governments are now trying to take joint action against this. In her doctoral thesis, our lawyer Mara Wantuch-Thole examines how stolen cultural property can be claimed across national borders, taking into account the results of international agreements.


According to media reports, the terrorist regime in the Middle East is largely financed by the illegal trade in cultural property from Syria and Iraq. According to British MP Robert Jenrick, this is "the largest scale of looting" since the Second World War. An agreement is now being discussed between the UK and the USA to take joint action against the illegal import of cultural goods. In Germany, the revision of cultural property law promises tougher measures against the illegal trade in cultural property and to make it easier to enforce claims for the return of cultural property. The amendment is due to come into force at the beginning of 2016.


In her book "Cultural Property in Cross-Border Litigation", our colleague Dr. Mara Wantuch-Thole takes an in-depth look at the protection of cultural property, examining the enforceability of claims to illegally excavated, exported or stolen cultural property across legal systems. The Syria Directive, which has just come into force, and the Iraq UN resolution from 2003 are also explained.


Associations and Marketing

What makes an organization valuable? Which profile suits which association? The Association Marketing and Communication Forum will address these and other questions. Our lawyer Nicole Schmidt will hold a workshop on the topic of association logos and marketing.


The fourth edition of the Association Marketing and Communication Forum will take place in Cologne at the end of April. In lectures and workshops, the successful implementation of campaigns will be discussed, how to deal with crisis situations and how press work can be successful even with few resources.


Together with Christian Schlimok, Managing Director of Novamondo GmbH, our lawyer Nicole Schmidt will hold a workshop on the topic of "From association logo to brand communication". The speakers will discuss what makes a successful external image, how quality and differentiation features can be optimally communicated and what else plays a role in addition to visual factors - in line with the subtitle of the workshop: What really sticks in members' minds.


Date: April 28/29, 2015
Registrations received by March 20, 2015 receive a discount of 100 €.

We look forward to welcoming you.


Networking on the Rooftops of Berlin

The second edition of the law firm boutique salon was once again well attended and offered the participating law firms the opportunity to expand their contacts. During the event, Dr. Nikolaus Förster, editor-in-chief of the business magazine Impulse, explained what law firms should consider in their press work. Following the successful start of the first meeting at the end of November, around 30 representatives from various law firms came together again to discuss current topics.


Together with the host law firm lindenpartners, the initiator and cultural manager Claudia Bonacker welcomed the attendees. Dr. Nikolaus Förster, editor-in-chief of the business magazine Impulse, opened his presentation with the provocative title "Guaranteed to be uninteresting - how to ensure that the media are guaranteed to ignore you". Afterwards, the participants had time to exchange ideas and enjoy the view.


The aim of the network meetings is to develop together and establish reliable contacts - from which clients and law firms benefit in the long term.


Certification Course on Curation at UdK

In February, the three-month curating course at the Berlin University of the Arts begins once again. The course is aimed at anyone who would like to pursue curating as a part-time or full-time profession, as well as decision-makers at public institutions and companies. One of the lecturers is Anna Kathrin Distelkamp. The registration deadline is January 30, 2015.


The curating certificate course provides in-depth knowledge for curatorial practice through experienced specialist lecturers, individual advice and visits to exhibition venues. In seminars, excursions and forums, you can learn all the steps from the idea to planning and implementation using specific case studies. The course is divided into five modules, each lasting two days. Within three months, you will receive a compact overview of the current fields of curating while working.

Duration: February 27 - May 09, 2015
Times: Friday and Saturday: 9 am - 6 pm and 7 pm respectively
Registration deadline is January 30, 2015.
Unfortunately, there are currently only places on the waiting list.

We look forward to welcoming you!

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