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Youtube Music The Courts

YouTube Ordered To Remove "Illegal" Copyright Blocking Notices 427

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the some-organizations-deserve-scorn dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with new developments in a two-year-old spat between YouTube and GEMA (a German music royalty collection foundation). After the courts ordered YouTube to implement tools to block videos that contained music GEMA licenses, it seems that telling users why content was blocked isn't making GEMA happy. From the article: "GEMA applied for an injunction to force YouTube to change the messages, claiming that they misrepresent the situation and damage GEMA’s reputation. YouTube alone is responsible for blocking the videos, claiming otherwise is simply false, GEMA argued. ... Yesterday the District Court of Munich agreed with the music group and issued an injunction to force YouTube to comply, stating that the notices 'denigrate' GEMA with a 'totally distorted representation of the legal dispute between the parties.' Changing the message to state that videos are not available due to a lack of a licensing agreement between YouTube and GEMA would be more appropriate, the Court said." The messages currently reads, "Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights." Seems pretty neutral. Non-compliance with the order could result in fines of €250,000 per infraction.
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YouTube Ordered To Remove "Illegal" Copyright Blocking Notices

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  • The court is right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mnooning (759721) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @09:45AM (#46345401) Journal
    With the current wording GEMA looks like the bad guy. What if it read "Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because Youtube will not come to agreement with GEMA."? Then youtube would look like the bad guy. "... lack of a licensing agreement between YouTube and GEMA ..." would be neutral.
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@laurencemartin. o r g> on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @09:48AM (#46345435)

    I am certain that any notice that mentions that GEMA has requested the vid be blocked will not be allowed.

    Googles response should be to block any vids (in Germany) that contain any GEMA licensed music (even official channels) with the notice

    "This video has been removed due to containing Music Licensed by GEMA"

  • Draconian GEMA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SeanDS (1039000) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @09:49AM (#46345439) Homepage
    YouTube are right to pass the buck to GEMA. I've been living in Germany for 6 months after having lived in the UK all my life, and only having very rarely seen videos blocked by the UK music industry, almost all of the videos I try to watch on Facebook or similar (usually viral videos) are blocked. GEMA need to get with the times and realise they can't staunchly deny the internet the right to use its clients' music.
  • by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @09:49AM (#46345451)

    Youtube has a right to not be neutral. It is their website, and they have the free speech rights to portray GEMA however they like, in their publications.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @10:00AM (#46345567)

    Their current statement is in no way neutral. It implies that GEMA is entirely responsible for not giving out licenses to their content for free, and that YouTube/the video's author have no responsibility to pay for music at all.

    I was about to post something similar to this. Saying that the video is blocked because GEMA hasn't granted the relevant right puts the blame at GEMAs door, when the reality is that the person responsible for uploading the video hasn't actually asked GEMA for a licence. The onus is on the uploader to ask GEMA for a licence, not on GEMA to seek out people using material they're in charge of and then give them a licence. Saying that GEMA "hasn't granted the rights" implies that they were asked to do so, which almost certainly isn't the case.

    It's practically saying that GEMA has refused to allow the material to be shown without actually asking them if they would allow it first. You can't blame somebody for not doing something you didn't ask them to do.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @10:19AM (#46345825) Homepage

    Youtube has a right to not be neutral. It is their website, and they have the free speech rights to portray GEMA however they like, in their publications.

    No they don't. They might, though it is unlikely, be allowed to do that in your little bit of the world but they aren't in Germany; that should have been reasonably obvious from the fact the court just ruled it that way. The world doesn't, in fact, exist purely as you think it should.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @10:21AM (#46345849) Journal

    Neutral is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, the statement is entirely factual. GEMA has, in fact, NOT granted the rights. It is actually the youtube poster who is required to obtain (what I assume is the German equivalent of) synchronization rights in order to post the video. Youtube has found it in their commercial interest to secure those rights in the video poster's stead where they can. However, the right - BECAUSE IT IS NOT STATUTORY* - is solely at the whim of GEMA. Youtube may have offered them less than they wanted, or less than they felt was fair compensation. It doesn't matter - GEMA grants or does not grant; it is not Youtube has no say in the rights granting process. Youtube could offer them $100 per play, and GEMA could still say no, because is their right.

    *I presume that US and German copyright law is similar; if it is statutory then the above is not as compelling. Note that in the US, some broadcast and all mechanical licensing IS statutory, and rights holders have no say, but synchronization (video rights) is different.

  • Re:Draconian GEMA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by N1AK (864906) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @10:25AM (#46345911) Homepage

    GEMA need to get with the times and realise they can't staunchly deny the internet the right to use its clients' music.

    Or Youtube need to stop profiting off providing unlicensed music? I'd have more sympathy for Google if they weren't primarily supporting copyright infringement because they profit from it. If Google were willing to sacrifice all earnings made from adverts shown on pages/videos with unlicensed content then I'd have some reason to believe they were being neutral.

  • by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2@@@anthonymclin...com> on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @10:59AM (#46346377) Homepage

    You're right. They don't own it, but they are licensed to be the royalty collection entity in Germany. You'll find the member organizations to be the same or a cross-section of ASCAP members in the USA.

    In the USA, music royalties are collected and distributed back to publishers and/or artists by ASCAP or BMI. In Germany, it's GEMA. In just about every country in the world, it's a different royalty collection process and licensing entity [wikipedia.org], just like it's a different copyright and distribution process.

    This is the fundamental reason why music and video content has been so problematic in the era of the truly global internet. There are billions upon billions of dollars invested in the archaic business models, contracts, organizational infrastructure, and jobs to support the legacy model of content consumption that had been built up over nearly a century. The internet came along and destroyed it all in about a 5 year span.

  • by bigpat (158134) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @01:20PM (#46348211)

    In places where the restrictions on speech are broadly defined and allowed explicitly in the constitution, then there is less room for judicial review because judges are judging the law against whether it reasonably falls under one of the exceptions rather than judging the law against whether it is "abridging the freedom of speech" which is clearly and logically a much higher standard of judicial review.

    So for instance a judge in the US would look at a law like "Publicly questioning the integrity of a public official shall be punished by a fine of no more than $500" and ask the question first "Does this abridge freedom of speech?" Where in Germany they might ask first whether this restriction falls under "protection of the reputation or rights of others" or does the law serve "the prevention of disorder".

    This exception language is pretty much the same language that the UN adopted under which all manner of despots around the world are claiming to be suppressing speech in the name of public order. Of course the "public order" despots are protecting is the order of keeping themselves and their cronies at the top and the rest of society as their slaves.

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