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German Collections Society GEMA Standing Up to YouTube

by Reinhardt Schuhmann on May 12, 2010 · 3 comments

Thanks to German collecting society GEMA, German YouTube users will be deprived of a great deal of popular music (Hopefully not including Kevin Costner’s).

Negotiations between YouTube and GEMA have broken down, and as a result, 600 videos will be removed from the video site’s German service.

YouTube’s contracts with several European collecting societies expired over a year ago, and most have renegotiated with the Google-owned site. For example, Great Britain’s PRS for Music agreed upon a rate of £0.00085 per track.

GEMA, however, has refused to budge on its requirements for a new deal, which would account for YouTube’s revenue growth by demanding shares of advertising revenue. The German society is proposing a significantly heftier collection rate of  0.1278 (£0.11) for every song up to five minutes, and more for longer tracks and those with ads.

Although still playing ball with YouTube on their home turf, other collecting societies have shown support for GEMA’s actions.  According to Billboard, this royalty collecting all-star squad includes BMI, SESAC, and ASCAP in the U.S., SACEM in France, and SIAE in Switzerland.

This is the latest in the struggle between content-driven sites like YouTube and the content’s rights holders. GEMA and other collecting societies (correctly) assert that music has a price, while YouTube counters that they cannot pay royalties to the point that they are engaging in a business that loses money. Stay tuned for more on this very significant battle.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

ROB August 31, 2010 at 2:02 pm

It would be a lot easier to prove that Google not only indexes sites and serves up free links to consumers promoting sites enabling illegal consumption of content, but that Google actually profits from its business activity and is intimately connected to serving up links to sites, promoting illegal sharing of content, namely from its adwords and display advertising products. http://bit.ly/dvDNK5

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