Yesterday, we reported that GEMA and YouTube had jointly inked a new deal which will put an end to blocked music videos on the platform in Germany.
Dr Harald Heker (pictured), GEMA CEO, has now confirmed that YouTube will be paying through royalties to the PRO not only for the future, but also for post-2009 plays of tracks penned by German songwriters.
Heker commented: “After seven years of tough negotiations the conclusion of this contract with YouTube marks a milestone for GEMA and its members. We remained true to our position that authors should also get a fair remuneration in the digital age, despite the resistance we met.
“It is crucial that the licensing agreement that we have now signed covers both the future and the past. By reaching this agreement, we can secure the royalties for our members.”
“Significantly we are told the agreement includes remuneration for usages dating back seven years. We look forward to being able to pay through to our clients their share of this money.”
Hartwig Masuch, BMG
The news was further confirmed by BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch who said, “Today’s agreement marks an important step forward for songwriters in Germany and across the world in their ability to earn a living in the digital music world. Not only does this deal produce immediate financial benefits, it reinforces the message that music has a value.
“Importantly not just songwriters will benefit, but also artists who will see the availability of their work in Germany increase as a result of this deal.
“Right from the beginning BMG always believed that ultimately digital music platforms would increase the value of the music market, but too often the infrastructure and agreements necessary to realise that potential have been lacking. We congratulate GEMA and YouTube on having reached agreement.
“Significantly we are told the agreement includes remuneration for usages dating back seven years. We look forward to being able to pay through to our clients their share of this money. Too often debates about the value of music can appear abstract, but we are very aware that this is ultimately about the livelihoods of individual music-makers.”
Just because an agreement has been reached, however, it doesn’t mean GEMA is all-of-a-sudden delighted with YouTube’s practices – particularly its lack of legal responsibility when its users upload copyright infringing content (also known as ‘safe harbour’ laws).
The collection society’s stance has long been a thorn in the side of YouTube, which has been unable to reach German consumers with much of its music content.
In a release confirming the news, GEMA explained:
There are still different legal positions held by YouTube and GEMA on the issue of whether YouTube or the uploaders are responsible for the licensing of the used musical works.
Irrespective of these diverging views, GEMA and YouTube decided to look forward and create a secure foundation for GEMA members and YouTube users.
More details of the deal are yet to be disclosed, but GEMA’s obviously pleased with its lot, stating that it is “fulfilling its fiducial duty to manage the rights on behalf of its members by signing this contract”.
On top of the traditional ad-based service, the agreement covers the new subscription service, Red, which YouTube is already offering in the USA and which it is planning to launch in Europe.
“We remained true to our position that authors should also get a fair remuneration in the digital age, despite the resistance we met.”
Dr Harald Heker, GEMA
Thomas Theune, Director of Broadcast and Online at GEMA, added: “The conclusion of this contract with YouTube is a clear signal to all online platforms that successfully build their business models on the musical works of creatives.
“Authors must be fairly remunerated for the exploitation of their musical works. GEMA will continue to actively pursue this goal.”
Dr Harald Heker further commented: “Despite the conclusion of this agreement, the challenge remains for the politicians to create a clear legal framework.
“The economic value of cultural and creative works must also be passed on to the creators of the works.
“A modern copyright needs to be created which enables music creators to claim their financial share in the digital value chain.”Music Business Worldwide