Game authors, Publishers and Culture Council: Include analog games in the collection and catalog of the German National Library!

As representatives of the creators of thousands of analog games, we advocate that these media works should be included in the collection and catalog of the German National Library (DNB). The German Game Publisher Association Spieleverlage e.V. and the German Cultural Council already joined this demand in 2015.

The objective is the creation of a public-law data basis for the determination and distribution of the library royalty according to § 27 UrhG (German IP law) by the collecting societies as well as the associated elimination of a financial, but also constitutional disadvantage of authors and publishers of analog games. At the same time, this would lay the foundation for a public institution that is professionally and comprehensively dedicated to the documentation and preservation of analog games, as well as providing a basis for research, as would be appropriate for this cultural asset.

The legal claim to library royalties according to § 27 UrhG must be legally realized to end the discrimination of the authors of analog games. Almost all public libraries have an increasing stock of games, but the DNB has so far refused to include them, which means that the authors suffer considerable financial losses. For this to happen, the current exemptions for games in DNB's collection guidelines (item and in the Obligatory Collection Ordinance (§ 4 item 14) must be changed respectively deleted accordingly.

Games can be found in almost all public libraries in Germany – experts speak of over 4,000 different titles. In 2020, according to a projection based on the public libraries in Hamburg, the stock in all public libraries amounted to approximately 2.5 million games; lendings were about 3 million. In recent years, it can be observed that the range of games in public libraries has grown strongly. The same applies to the range of games available in bookstores. It is therefore incomprehensible why games have not yet found their way into the German National Library. In the collection guidelines of the DNB it says under § 3 media works: "(1) Media works are all representations in writing, image and sound, which are distributed in physical form or made accessible to the public in incorporeal form."


In May 2019, we presented a legal opinion to the parties in the German Bundestag, which justifies in detail the legal claim of game authors to the library royalty according to § 27 (2) UrhG and points out the need for a comprehensive and accredited database based on a mandatory levy also for analog games.

In October 2020, the FDP parliamentary group in the German Bundestag also submitted a motion to place the legal claim of game authors* to the library royalty on a comprehensive data basis, e.g. by including analog games in the DNB's collection catalog. 

In the summer of 2021, the SAZ asked the parties before the Bundestag elections for statements on the topics of "Analog games in the DNB" and "Promotion of the cultural asset game". 

In November 2021, the coalition parties SPD, BÜNDNIS'90/DIE GRÜNEN and FDP agreed on the following in the section on cultural and media policy: "Analog games should be able to be named in the German National Library's collection catalog." That gives hope. 

Of course, this German initiative can be a blueprint for other countries as well to strengthen the awareness for the cultural property of games in society and to participate on fees based on Public Lending Rights. An overview of other European national libraries you can find here.