40 Years German Artists' Social Insurance (Künstlersozialversicherung)
At a ceremony in Berlin on August 31, 2023, the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Artists' Social Insurance was celebrated. As the German government pointed out, the Artists' Social Insurance is a unique social and cultural policy achievement in Europe. It offers protection against elementary life risks to a broad spectrum of self-employed artists and publicists. "Art is work," said Federal Minister of Social Affairs Hubertus Heil at the ceremony in Berlin. And as with any form of work, there is a responsibility to provide artists with reasonable protection. This is also a question of respect. Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth said, "Creativity is the driving force of human societies, in all their fields." She added that it was an ongoing task to examine what social framework conditions were necessary to ensure that culture had the freedom that a democratic society needs.
In 2016, the SAZ succeeded in having " Game Authors" and "Game Designers" included in the catalog of artistic activities of the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK) – the institution for the administration of the Artists' Social Insurance. This was preceded by a legal dispute lasting several years, because a German game publisher refused to pay the artists' social security contribution (currently 5%) on fees to game authors. The publisher argued that "designing a game mechanism is not a publishing or artistic activity, but rather a technical process; the activity is therefore more comparable to that of an engineer, military strategist or logistician." These bizarre justifications did not help the publisher. The Regional Social Court of North Rhine-Westphalia, which was responsible for the appeal, upheld the KSK's claim under file number L 5 KR 91/12 and ordered the publisher to pay. The ruling, which thus confirmed the previous ruling of the Cologne Social Court from 2011, thus became legally binding.
We are happy and thankful that the KSK also secures the existence of many freelance game authors. Congratulations to the KSK from us as well!