Is the DFJ press card an official identification card?
In Germany there are no official press cards, i.e. neither the German Federal Government nor regional state governments issue press cards. That would also not be appropriate given the need for press independence.
Who issues the press cards then?
Owning a press card does not entitle you to any legal rights. The cards are issued through membership in a registered organisation or professional association.
What benefits are there for photographers and members in the case of airlines?
The staff from most airlines are generally favourably disposed towards travel journalists. Particularly when planes are full, you have a good chance of getting an upgrade if you ask when checking in or shortly before boarding. For example, you might get bumped up to Business Class. Cheaper prices for journalists are also certainly possible on request. You can find the respective contact person in the Member Area.
Can I purchase my digital camera more cheaply as a journalist?
That is probably difficult. The prices for cameras in particular have now become so chaotic that it is possible to find cheaper cameras through EBAY than through specialist photography wholesalers. However, many camera manufacturers such as Canon offer services or clubs for professionals where it is easier to become a member.
Can I also pay my membership fee by invoice, as I don’t want to pay by direct debit.
As a result of bad experience, you will only receive the press card when the fee has been paid into our account. The direct debit procedure, of course, also facilitates the transaction in the subsequent years. If you pay by invoice, it takes somewhat longer until you receive the respective press card.
I have now sent the application. When and how much do I have to pay next time?
You are now a member and have paid EUR 63.00 for the calendar year (including for the vehicle press badge) or EUR 31.50 for the half-year. In addition there is the EUR 20.00 registration fee. At the end of the year, the payment of EUR 63.00 is automatically booked for the following year. You then automatically receive the press card for the next year.
I would like to take photographs at a car show. Does the press card enable me to get into the trade fair for free?
You generally go to the box office and the press card will gain you admittance to the show. Normally it is only the larger events that provide online accreditation in advance. It’s best to check the trade fair’s website first.
Information on the right to publish photos
We are frequently asked about this thorny issue. Problems mostly arise when photographers takes pictures of people and then offer these images for sale. This can easily infringe people’s individual rights to privacy.
We would like to provide a few examples.
I want to take photographs at a major sporting event in summer. I would then like to present the photos in a public lecture using a video projector. Am I allowed to do that?
In principle yes, since you are the author of the photos. You can decide yourself what you do with your own photographs. As long as these images remain within a private circle of people, there won’t be any problems anyway.
Am I also allowed to publicly show photos with sportsmen and women, or do I have to ask them for permission in advance?
In this case the sportsmen and women would be considered public figures. According to the German Law on the Protection of Copyright in Works of Art and Photographs (KUG), photos of these people may also be disseminated without their permission. For example, a world famous goalkeeper would be considered to be a public figure. However, if you sell these pictures, there could be problems if you did not have permission to photograph in the stadium. Here the organiser can apply his domiciliary rights – so it could be a thorny issue after all.
What is the case with people who appear in the photos by accident, such as other spectators?
According to the KUG Act, they may also be photographed as long as they form part of a crowd. However, you are not allowed to disseminate close-up pictures of individual persons. This means that a group of people at a public event is generally unproblematic. If, on the other hand, you were to photograph, for example, a small group of tramps in a park carrying out a typical activity such as a drinking bout, this would also possibly infringe their personal rights to privacy.
In other words, if you photograph individuals and intend to sell these photos by some means, you generally have to obtain their permission to photograph them. In practice this is difficult because it would mean you would have to bring along a small form with you so that they can sign it when you have photographed them.
A further issue is the use of background music for a photo slide show, since there are also regulations that apply here.
I would like to use my own selection of background music to accompany my photo slide show. Am I allowed to do that?
That depends where and to whom you would like to show the slide show. A slide show among your family and friends is not considered to be a public broadcast of the piece of music. In this case you can use music other than your own to accompany the photos. As soon as you show your photos in public, however, the strict requirements of Section 52 of the German Copyright Act (UrhG) apply. You require permission from the copyright holder unless you do not want to earn any money from the event and admission is free.
What do recordings subject to fees typically cost?
Unfortunately they are not exactly cheap and the costs can quickly exceed 100 euros. In the case of music the fee is paid in Germany to GEMA (German Society for Musical Performing Rights and Mechanical Reproduction Rights). GEMA has a diverse range of different tariffs, whereby details are available online at www.gema.de.
Do you want to use music CDs that you have bought? In that case you have to pay fees not just to GEMA but also to the GVL (German Collecting Society for Performance Rights, www.gvl.de).
Whereas GEMA pays the composers, GVL administers the payment of artists and record producers. We therefore recommend that you use the so-called GEMA- and GVL-free music CDs. These are not subject to fees and are available in specialist stores.
In case of doubt you should always find out in advance, since copyright should be taken very seriously and is a complex issue that only specialist lawyers can satisfactorily answer.