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…]

Changing 2009 to 2010

I have a regular task to perform each year – New Year’s Day, which is only slightly connected to the fact that I want to get our blogs up to date.  It is the Copyright date.

You see, German-based websites are required to have something called an “Impressum“, often called an “Imprint” in English.  In this, I have to make my name, address and contact methods publicly available.  The page is linked to by all other pages and posts on the site – usually from the footer.

So this special page is the obvious place to put copyright information, and that includes the current year.

And it is, that at the beginning of January each year I update all of my sites to reflect the new year.  Not the most exciting thing to do on New Year’s Day, but it has to be done!

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