Although remuneration negotiations by the German Association of Translators (VdÜ) with some hardcover publishers were very far advanced, the participating publishers announced to the association a few weeks ago that they will halt further negotiations until a decision of the Constitutional Court is reached. The constitutional objection of publishing house Hanser Verlag is directed against the Supreme Court rulings on translator compensation, but also against some parts of the underlying law.
With the current payment negotiations having been broken off by the participating publishers, the most important task of the German association of translators is to return to the negotiating table as soon as the Supreme Court has ruled on Hanser Verlag’s constitutional objection.
Members attending the VdÜ general assembly on the 2nd of March 2013 expressed anger and disappointment.
In his reaction,VdÜ president Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel said: “I share that anger. No matter what the publishers call it, this is an abandonment of negotiations. Nobody knows when Karlsruhe [i.e. the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany] will arrive at a decision, nobody knows what the decision may contain, nobody knows what the previous good results of the negotiations will be worth at that time.
It is a bitter disappointment: Our negotiating partners have left the path of mutual agreement and hope that the court upholds the right of the strong and tilts the legal obligations to be found in all reasonable contracts. Translators and all copyright holders hope for the opposite: that the legislature intends adequate compensation for them in the future – twelve years after the adoption of the enabling statute.”