German Court Tells YouTube To Change 'Content Blocked' Notice After GEMA Complains About Its Hurt Feelings

from the oh,-so-you're-a-'crying-on-the-inside'-sort-of-thug dept

German YouTube users get to see a whole lot of the following rather than actual videos, thanks to the world's most aggressive PRO (performance rights organization).


GEMA, which has been engaged in litigation against YouTube for several years now in hopes of "negotiating" higher fees, has just secured a ridiculous decision in its favor from a German court that specifically targets the wording used in the "sorry 'bout that, Germans" message.
Time and again, users are informed that videos are blocked due to GEMA not granting the necessary music rights. As a result, GEMA has become very unpopular indeed.

Trying to remedy the situation, 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.
Poor sweet, sensitive GEMA. It can't handle German users being told that the PRO has yet to grant the rights. Instead, it wants to make it look as though it's entirely YouTube's fault. It wants to pretend it hasn't spent a majority of the last half-decade battling and suing YouTube, the end result of which has been massive amounts of videos being blocked in Germany.

GEMA's complaint is every bit as ridiculous as that of an artist in a story we covered back in 2012, who claimed that YouTube's "content removed" notices somehow made the artists looks like the "bad guys" by listing the party responsible for the takedown in the message. In that case, this artist was upset that YouTube was doing exactly what he asked it to do: take down infringing content and notify the infringer that the content had been removed.

The same thing applies here. GEMA hasn't granted the rights to use this content, therefore it's blocked in Germany. But that heaps too much of the blame on GEMA's tiny shoulders, a burden GEMA (and now a German court) feels should be transferred to YouTube. This despite the fact that GEMA could have an agreement with YouTube, but because it's asking for $0.17 a stream (as compared to say, PRS, which receives $0.0034 per view), there's very little chance of it ever obtaining one. In the meantime, Germans will continue to see quizzically apologetic faces and court-ordered wording instead of videos. This ultimately has nothing to do with GEMA's faux concern for its stable of artists (don't forget: GEMA is opt-out, not opt-in, like other PROs) and everything to do with its public image.

GEMA's reputation isn't something it can salvage at this point and no amount of wording is going to change the fact that it's its own worst enemy, and pretty much the worst thing that has happened to 95% of its roster (the top 5% or so will continue to rake in cash -- as with every collection agency anywhere). That a PRO with this much power has the audacity to complain to the courts about its self-inflicted wounds shows it still holds very tightly to its outsized sense of entitlement. That a German court would oblige is unfortunate, but not really all that surprising.

No matter what the final wording reads, German artists and fans won't forget who's the real problem here.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:35am

    I wonder how long it will take for there to be a Chrome extension that replaces the new message with the old one...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:46am

    Someone needs to tell the German courts that unless it grants YouTube immunity from lawsuits over videos that YouTube isn't going to open itself to liability because the courts are crying over the "blocked" content message.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    What's the problem GEMA?

    Are you not standing behind your "work" to the point where you want to distance yourself from the results YOU are creating?

    This is why agencies such as yourself are not taken seriously by the general public (except for OOTB or that other retard bob).

    You demand content be taken down, and then want to avoid all responsibility for it. Typical MPAA/RIAA douchebaggery at its finest!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:54am

    not to forget the GEMA was created in 1933 by the Nazi party

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Analyst (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:54am

    Gema just created a lose lose for themselves

    Gema to the courts: Youtube is the one choosing to take down the videos, not us.

    Youtube to Gema: Since you have argued in court that it is "our choice", we have chosen to stop taking the videos down.

    Gema to Youtube: But ... but ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:58am

    "Trying to remedy the situation, 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."

    Well GEMA did get Youtube to block the content by DMCA/court action in the first place so how again is it Youtubes fault for blocking the content when they have no choice but to block according to the DMCA/court action that GEMA issued.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    "YouTube alone is responsible for blocking the videos, claiming otherwise is simply false, GEMA argued."
    -
    I was wondering about that too. These guys live in a total fantasy land.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:02am

    "Sorry, this video is unavailable in Germany because GEMA wants us to pay too much money for it, so we did not come to a licensing agreement and thus we are forced to block it."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:04am

    GEMA gets protection in the courts like Apple gets vetoes from Obama.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re:

    They want to have it both ways, force Google/YT to either block the videos or pay GEMA's insane rates, while at the same time not have their involvement mentioned, in an attempt to have everyone blame Google/YT rather than the party actually responsible, GEMA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re:

    In a way its true that its Youtube's responsibility to block the content but GEMA omits out the fact that Youtube has no choice but to block because they have been told to block the content by DMCA/court action that GEMA issued previously in the first place.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    From wikipedia: "The CEO of STAGMA was Leo Ritter, who occupied the same position in the original GEMA and was in the habit of giving Hitler's Mein Kampf as a prize to worthy employees."

    This was during its creation around 1933, not today's GEMA. Today's GEMA gives out 'Video Blocked' messages as prizes to worthy employees.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    so hurting or upsetting GEMA mustn't happen but hurting or upsetting Google via YouTube is perfectly ok? what sort of 'justice' do you call this? the bloody Germans are as bad as the Swedes! when it offends a company/person it's a no no, but when Google is on the end of it, it doesn't matter. double standards, i call it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    If they can keep mentioning GEMA in the notices, they probably will. Changing the formulation from a passive stance to mentioning Youtube and GEMA as parties doesn't change the effect on the reputation of GEMA. The only change is that GEMA get more ammunition to start shitstorms in the media against Youtube.

    The war waged against Youtube from media companies will reach new hights. Unfortunately it will be at the expense of content creators on Youtube. I know that secondary and tertiary licensing is already a huge problem for creative people and MCNs. Increasing the advertising share is not going to matter much if the cost of making legally licensed videos is cranked up by even more. Maybe it will make it harder to enter the market, but advantageous for the majority it is definitely not!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Youtube is 'responsible' in this case in the same way that a person would be 'responsible' for being shot after refusing to hand over their wallet to a mugger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    crade (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re:

    Lets play fill in the blank:

    GEMA: You tube is responsible for blocking the videos
    YouTube: Fine, in that case consider them unblocked. Must have been just a misunderstanding
    GEMA: _________

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    jackn, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:27am

    Re:

    Content creators don't need to worry. They created their content and can put it where they want.

    Entering the market NOW is easy. It just the old works that are walled off by the plutocrats. They have based their wealth on the creation of others, and they won't let go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:37am

    Youtube: Ok fine. We will change the message.

    New message:

    We are sorry but this is video is blocked in Germany. For further explanation as to why, contact GEMA about it.

    PS: Be nice if you do as they appear to have a bad case of butthurt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    not to forget that Google was formed by the smallpox-blankets-for-free party

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    "Content creators don't need to worry. They created their content and can put it where they want."

    Yeah, except for all those content creators who have their own content taken down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    SJ, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 11:13am

    New message to users

    "Dear user

    Unfortunately we can't show you the video. Also we can't tell you why since the GEMA, through the Munich court, forbids us to do so."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    "Sorry, this video is unavailable in Germany because GEMA wants us to pay 500x the going rate, so we did not come to a licensing agreement and thus we are forced to block it."

    FTFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    "Due to the evil GEMA, we have been forced to put a wall between you and your epic loot."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    antymat, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 11:57am

    Just apply the Streisand effect

    Say "We are sorry but this is video is blocked in Germany, because THEY requested us to block it". GEMA not even mentioned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Todd Knarr (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think in those cases that more creators need to demand a copy of the DMCA notice and pursue legal action against whoever issued it based on a false claim to be authorized to act for the copyright holder. 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(vi) requires a statement under penalty of perjury that the person filing the notice is authorized to act for the copyright holder, so hold them and the courts to the law. Yeah it's expensive, but that's the only way it's going to get stopped.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can't just handwave away the "it's expensive" part. The expense (in money, even ignoring in time) is a MAJOR reason why this is not an option for a lot of these people.

    Lawsuits like that are pretty much a privilege reserved for the wealthy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Just apply the Streisand effect

    "We are sorry but this video is blocked in Germany because a major music collection society that is butthurt about us naming them previously in these notifications won't release the rights." That's the change they should make.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    mischab1, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 1:31pm

    Isn't it obvious? Google has chosen to not pay GEMA what GEMA wants. Therefore it is Google who has chosen to block the videos. :p

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 1:56pm

    Its because they don't want people to know its the corporation pulling these videos down. They want to pretend like its youtube "choosing" to pull down videos.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Call Girls Everywhere, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 2:39pm

    GEMA is Our Organisation

    GEMA is a PRO, PRO is a prostitute, hence GEMA is one of us. Be nice, we still need to work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Zem, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 2:48pm

    To view this video requires someone to pay GEMA. Contact to arrange payment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Togashi (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Just apply the Streisand effect

    "The people responsible for sacking the people who wrote the previous message have now been sacked."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Davo, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 7:11pm

    Boycott them

    People should just boycott anything under GEMA.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Hibby the Hoovy (profile), Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Boycott them

    Should be fairly easy since German music is fairly difficult to find here in the States.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Sacredjunk, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    GEMA: We'll see you in court

    ..which is a German court with a case of a German company v an American one

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Sacredjunk, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 10:29pm

    Re:

    "Sorry, this video is unavailable in Germany because a company with initials starting in G and ending in EMA wants us to pay 500x the going rate, so we did not come to a licensing agreement and thus we are forced to block it."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 28th, 2014 @ 6:59am

    Re:

    Next in the news: GEMA servers explode due to high traffic, PRO executives blame Google for not providing them with better servers (!!!).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    TKnarr (profile), Mar 1st, 2014 @ 12:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    True, there's a cost. OTOH there's a cost to not doing it: the cost of fighting to get your content put back up, and the cost of not having your content available while you're fighting the takedown. If the offending parties never suffer any penalty for doing it, they'll just keep doing it and bleed you dry in the process. Slow or fast, pick your poison but you will have to pick a poison.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    babajaga (profile), Apr 6th, 2014 @ 9:26pm

    Proxy to access blocked youtube videos

    It is possible to circumvent the GEMA blockage for Germans, ref.
    www.viewtubes.de

    They have a limited free account, sponsored by ads, or a premium, unlimited service for 1E/month.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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