Tales Of Collection Societies Gone Wrong: GEMA
from the it-ain't-about-helping-the-artists... dept
We’ve noted in the past some of the massive problems with various collections societies around the world. These groups are often given something of a monopoly over collecting music royalties, and even though they present themselves as being non-profits designed to help artists, the truth is usually something far different. Beyond abusing their position, their real goal is often not to help all artists, but a small subset at the top. This is what copyright law has pretty much always done. By setting up artificial barriers and monopoly rents, it allows a very few at the top to benefit at a grossly disproportionate level, and it’s the rest of the creators who are harmed by this (i.e., if those monopoly rents mean that I need to pay much more than the true market rate to support some top pop star, I’m much less likely to spend money on an up and coming indie musician). The whole recording industry has been built around a few megastars, and it should be no surprise that the industry has used copyright law and collections societies in support of that.
Wolfgang Senges is digging into how this works in Germany, where some are finally questioning GEMA’s actions. In delving into how GEMA works, Senges notes that its entire structure is specifically designed to really only give a small percentage of top artists a say in how GEMA operates. Everyone else just gets dragged along for the ride. Is it any wonder, then, that its policies are mostly designed to help those big artists, rather than others?