Windfall payments add up

ONE OF THE biggest problems that freelances face are the unfair contracts imposed on us. To try to fix this, Germany passed a law - the Urhebervertragsrecht - that allows German freelances to go to court to review such contracts. Even if the original wasn't terrible at the time, under the so-called "windfall clause" they can ask for more if the work was an unexpected success.

film still

Going up! This cinematography eventually won Jost Vacano a significant uplift

The film Das Boot was certainly one of those. Released in 1981, it tells the story of a submarine and its crew.

A full 16 years later, on 21 December 2017, a Munich court has awarded Jost Vacano, its director of photography, about €438,000 euros as fair remuneration with €150,000 on top for interest. He is also entitled to 2.25 per cent of future net proceeds. For future TV broadcasts, he may demand reimbursement of fees in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement of the public broadcaster WDR.

The European Federation of Journalists continues to push for a similarly sensible proposal to be included in European Union law. This would at the least set a new standard against which UK law would be judged.