GEMA Music Collection Society No Longer Will Let Kindergartens Get Away With Teaching Music For Free

from the ownership-society dept

We’ve discussed a few times how the German music collection society GEMA often appears to be one of the worst of the worst when it comes to copyright maximalism. Its latest move is particularly egregious. While it used to allow pre-schools/kindergartens to hand out sheets with music to the children for singing for free, its policy recently changed, so that the schools now need to pay up (found via Slashdot). In the last few weeks, GEMA started sending out notices to these facilities, warning them to either pay up or no longer hand out sheets with music on it to students. This seems reminiscent of ASCAP demanding that Girl Scouts pay up for singing songs around the campfire. These collection societies have really gotten desperate lately, and now they’re trying to shake down kindergarten students for cash. How nice of them.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: gema

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “GEMA Music Collection Society No Longer Will Let Kindergartens Get Away With Teaching Music For Free”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
55 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Pirates?!

“If you’re going to troll–at least try to stay on topic.”

He WAS, stupid. The simple fact of the matter is that German kindergartens are absolutely RIFE with pirates. I don’t mean infringers, I mean actual pirates. A friend of mine has a child over in Germany and he was absolutely livid about how their music class kept getting interupted by guys named Redbeard, Smitty, and some weirdo named Guybrush Threepwood. They would barge into the class, rip the music sheets out of “zee leetle cheeldren’s” hands and then launched into song.

It was all a huge problem, until they figured out how to end it: American freedom. Like a cross to a vampire, German elementary teacher Klaus Goodburger found that waving Ol’ Glory in front of the class made the pirates hiss like a gas leak and hide their faces. One simple rendition of “America The Beautiful”, complete w/hip hop backbeats and fully-licensed samples of course, sends the singing pirate troupe scurrying from the class.

They caught the Guybrush Threepwood guy and tried to punish him with the death penalty by drowning. Turns out that guy can hold his breath for ten whole minutes!

In any case, I just wanted you to know you’re wrong, and that guy was perfectly on topic….

interval (profile) says:

Re:

Show me a truly bonifide “pirate” web site. I’m betting what you’ll show me is a search engine that serves up p2p protocol links (torrent files). Very few (if any) “pirate sites”actually have music org-licensed files on them, the actual material is kept on the hard drives of the peers that are using the protocol. AND if you insist that these search engines are the definite culprits then the biggest culprit of all is Google. Funny how no one goes after Google.

Anonymous Coward says:

Please, all you free-music loving hippies just want to keep the kids indoctrinated to have free music. Each one should have to pay a Euro every time they sing a song in choir so we can teach the new generation to pay for music.

Ok, I’ll be reasonable. 1 Euro for production performances, only half a Euro for practice. Per each child, of course.

interval (profile) says:

Re:

“The real problem is as income fails on one side…”

The real problem is these “music licensing agencies” or whatever you want to call them are preying on their own customers by enforcing the rights they possess to an absurd degree. Or do you want to tell us that telling public schools they have to pay to sing sings in class is a viable business model? Really? Isn’t it a little bit more like making customers who are leaving horse-drawn carriages in droves for more efficient and simpler mopeds go back to their horses and their carriages because the agencies don’t want to re-tool their factories to make mopeds?

Drizzt says:

Musikpiraten e.V. offers free music sheets for Christmas songs

Because of what is reported above the German registered society Musikpiraten e.V. started offering (and before that calling for volunteers) a free music book for Christmas songs (direct download link of the PDF). By now the music book was extended a few times and several minor “bugs” were fixed. But still: help in extending and spreading is welcome.

The license is always a CC variant, public domain or CC Zero for the typesetting of each song.

Cheers,
Drizzt

Ralph (profile) says:

This is not correct on two counts:

a) it is not GEMA who requires those fees to be paid, it is the Verwertungsgesellschaft Musikedition which is the collection society for sheet music publishers (and a bit more). They “just” use GEMA for money collection, with GEMA being the bigger collection society and probably having the better infrastructure for that.

b) German Urheberrecht explixitly *forbids* copying of musical notes, *if* the music itself still is under “copyright” (the quotes are there, because our Urheberrecht is different from your copyright). So there was no recent change in policy, they never allowed that. They just now began to “collect”.

But don’t fret, most german news publishers didn’t get that correctly either, even some politicians are rather unclear about that. 🙂

http://www.stefan-niggemeier.de/blog/der-kindergarten-als-rechtsfreier-raum/ for those who can read german. It’s mostly a rant about journalists not getting what really is behind the story.

That what they’re doing is questionable is on another sheet. But when our Urheberrecht was “renovated” a few years ago, that was explicitly left in. And that this just shows how bad a copyright/Urheberrecht is, which just makes the publishers the strong party while completely forgetting the users – well, I don’t want to preach to the choir.

Anonymous Coward says:

There you go! With the sad financial state of schools these days and the richies not paying their way through taxes we are going to lose Music Education now. But let GEMA cut off it’s own head: No music Education equates to No new customers in about 20 years. So nobody to collect money for.
I can’t believe they passed up such a great PR option. Help the schools and reap good vibes. What do think kept Apple alive for so long? Their Apple II and Mac sucked and without schools and the parents buying what their kids used in school, they would have been out of business a long time ago. Nobody in the business world took them seriously except to make a cool newsletter. As far as I can tell Apple still produces the same consumable crap. Buy it, Use it, Throw it away. Welcome to Apples vision: Landfills full of Apple crap.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re:

a) it is not GEMA who requires those fees to be paid, it is the Verwertungsgesellschaft Musikedition which is the collection society for sheet music publishers (and a bit more). They “just” use GEMA for money collection, with GEMA being the bigger collection society and probably having the better infrastructure for that.

b) German Urheberrecht explixitly *forbids* copying of musical notes, *if* the music itself still is under “copyright” (the quotes are there, because our Urheberrecht is different from your copyright). So there was no recent change in policy, they never allowed that. They just now began to “collect”.

Thanks for the added info!

Daemon_ZOGG (profile) says:

Enough, with the "RE:RE:RE:RE:" comebacks....

I have a simpler solution. To hell with the copyright Nazi cartels. Yes, of course, keep using public domain music material. And for the other stuff..well.. bit-torrent. It’s the gift that just keeps on giving. Damn ASSCAP and others like the German Music Copyright Nazis. My message to them is “Profit Denied”. Force them out of business by denying them the money they DON’T deserve. They should be taken out to the street and publicly shamed by the entire world community. };P

Anonymous Coward says:

Enough, with the "RE:RE:RE:RE:" comebacks....

re:re:re:re:

Calling anyone a Nazi is a pretty strong concept, do you think they are taking the non-payers out, loading them in trains, and sending them off to concentration camps and eventually into the gas chambers?

Obviously not, so please turn the rhetoric down a touch.

Your “Profit Denied” stance is also amusing, because it isn’t like they just collect the money and keep it. The money goes to the rights holders, etc. They aren’t collecting the money and going on a beer and weinersnitzchel binge. I have a feeling that you have fallen for the anti establishment ramblings of various websites (including this one) without truly understanding the implications.

What grade are you in?

Anonymous Coward says:

Enough, with the "RE:RE:RE:RE:" comebacks....

LoL

They distribute it to copyright holders?
That was the joke of the year.

Collections societies cheat everyone except their little circle of trust and that is a fact.

Ask if they are using computers and technology to track who plays what and where and if they are trying to make it sure they pay every penny owned to others. The answer to that will shock you.

Tom says:

“While it used to allow pre-schools/kindergartens to hand out sheets with music to the children for singing for free, its policy recently changed, so that the schools now need to pay up (found via Slashdot).”

That is simply wrong! It was never allowed in Germany to copy sheet-music thats still under copyright. It was allowed to buy sheet-music and hand those bought sheets out for singing.
So if a German Kindergarten copied sheet-music (for example the popular songs of “Rolf Zuckowski”) that wasn’t legal in Germany. So if a Kindergarten wanted to act legal, they had to buy all the needed sheet-music.
Now with that “Lizenzabgabe” (fee) it is possible for a Kindergarten to copy copyrighted sheet-music in a legal way by paying 56.- ? a year (for 500 copies of copyrighted material). In my opinion that’s a much cheaper way than buying the sheet-music for every child.

But this fee is only for pre-school-institutions. Schools have a framework agreement with the GEMA for that purpose for more than 20 years now.
A framework agreement was also offered for the pre-school-institutions, but they didn’t want it.

A great problem in that discussion is, that many German media published tendentious news on that topic, telling their readers, that fee would be collected for singing.

Here’s a German blog that focusses on that tendentious news:
http://www.mtmediaportal.de/tendenziose-berichterstattung-uber-die-gema/

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...