BSG: Social security tax must be paid for free cameramen

Kassel (jur). Despite all the new technology, cinematographers are still dependent on their “expert view” for the production of professional films and videos. The activity is thus artistically shaped, so that television stations and film productions have to pay a levy to the artists' social security fund for the employment of freelance cameramen, the Federal Social Court (BSG) in Kassel decided in a judgment published on February 2, 2017 (file number: B 3 KS 2/15 R).

This means that a video production company from Saxony-Anhalt has to pay 7,626 euros to the Artists' Social Fund (KSK). The company had made television reports for the “Tagesschau”, but reports and live sports broadcasts were also produced. Four freelance cameramen were also employed for the production.

When the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Mitteldeutschland carried out an audit, it found that the company had not paid any social security contributions for the employment of the four freelance cameramen. For this artistic activity of the cameramen there is a duty to pay, according to the pension insurance provider.

The video production company did not see this and denied that the cameramen's work was art. Because in the meantime there have been so many technical innovations in the field of video production that the work of cameramen can no longer be assigned to an artistic activity.

However, the BSG did not follow this in its judgment of November 29, 2016. There is no "substantial knowledge" that cameramen are no longer artistically active. Even if the progressive use of audiovisual techniques is taken into account, it still requires the “expert view” to bring out the motif to be captured in the best possible way. An “automat” cannot replace this activity. For the KSK fee, it is important that “camera operators work in an area of ​​activity that is artistically or journalistically shaped,” says the BSG. This is the case here. fle

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