Brexit Day has come (or not)

Well here we are on 29th March, 2019, and today is supposed to be Brexit Day, when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

The last few weeks have seen a fury of activity in the House of Commons, culminating in the votes on Wednesday night to decide which is the preferred way forward.  It does rather beg the question why that decision was not taken at the start of the process, before negotiations with the EU got underway.  In fact, it would have probably made more sense to agree on one of those options before the referendum itself.  That way, at least the Leave campaign could truthfully argue “people knew what they were voting for”.  As we saw on Wednesday, not even the MPs in the House of Commons can agree on what “Brexit” is going to mean. [Read more…]

The performing rights problem (or: YouTube v GEMA)

A street musician - ©iStockphoto.com/dmitrievadmitrievaA court case in Germany made the international headlines last week.  Billed in some cases as “YouTube v GEMA” it dealt with the issue of whether Google has to pay royalties for the music that people upload to the YouTube service.

Since GEMA is not that well known outside of Germany, it’s probably fair to compare them with the PRS in the UK or ASCAP in the USA.  Their job is to collect royalties from anyone using the music written or composed by their members.

This is a very important point: they represent the songwriters and composers, not necessarily the artists.

Just for a moment, think about what it means if you just use a piece of music on your YouTube video, without getting permission to first.  You are probably infringing on the copyright of the record label or the performer on one level, but on another you are using words and music written by someone as well. [Read more…]

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