YouTube vs. GEMA: German court says Google company can’t blame society

The licensing battle between YouTube and GEMA in Germany has been raging for years, but the collection society won a small but important victory this week: on February 25, the District Court of Munich issued an injunction to stop the ‘illegal public vilification’ of GEMA by YouTube.

In its ruling, the court said that YouTube can no longer permitted to publicly point the blame at GEMA for music content not being available to consumers on the platform.

What that amounts to is the Google-owned service no longer being able to present consumers in Germany with an approximate translation of the message: ‘This video has been blocked because GEMA would not grant the rights.’

GEMA has been locked in a disagreement with YouTube for the best part of a decade. Reports suggest that the German PRO is demanding US$0.17 per YouTube play – significantly higher, for example, than the $0.0034-per-play rate agreed by PRS For Music in the UK.

GEMA CEO Dr. Harald Heker said, “This decision is an important positive signal to the music author: it’s not GEMA who prevents the enjoyment of music on the internet.

“It seeks merely to license to YouTube, like all other music portals. Our principle concern is to ensure that authors and creators can earn a living from their music in the future.”

The court said that YouTube’s current messages “denigrate” GEMA with a “totally distorted representation of the legal dispute between the parties.”Music Business Worldwide

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