GEMA Strikes Again: Demands Licensing Fees For Music It Has No Rights To

from the copyfraud dept

What is it that we often hear from supporters of stricter copyright laws? Oh yeah… it’s something along the lines of “no one should be able to profit off the work of someone else without the proper rights.” So I’m curious if those folks will equally condemn German collection society GEMA for trying to collect licensing fees for some music that was released under a Creative Commons license and by artists who are not currently GEMA members (some left in disgust).

This isn’t new, of course. Two and a half years ago, we wrote about GEMA refusing to recognize Creative Commons licenses from Jamendo, and insisting that people still had to pay them. Similarly, in this case, even after it’s been pointed out to them that the tracks were not under GEMA’s purview, the organization insisted that the artists probably just “forgot to register the tracks,” and asked the producers of the album to provide more proof that the songs weren’t covered. Talk about entitlement.

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Comments on “GEMA Strikes Again: Demands Licensing Fees For Music It Has No Rights To”

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58 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

GEMA collects money for the people they represent, and now demand that people who want nothing to do with them prove they never signed up with GEMA.

Given how the law works for common people, your always assumed to be infringing when there is any chance, I think we need to apply this metric to GEMA. GEMA is claiming rights to works they do not have, it might be time to seize all GEMA operations and check every single piece of music they claim the rights to and for each nickel they have taken for works they do not represent they need to be fined $150,000 minimum. As these nickels were taken solely to profit GEMA, they did not represent those artists so had no real intention to pay them, then we should increase those fines to treble that amount.

Copyright is so important to force on everyone else, maybe if they were hoisted by their own demands and treated like common folks they might start to get a clue. I doubt they will get a clue, but I think the financial hit would make them more careful in their dealings.

Anonymous Coward says:

This also reminds me of another problem with copyright.
The way things are going I need to keep the receipts of every CD, DVD, cable service or whatever I listen or watch or risk being accused of piracy, maybe it is just easy to never watch anything from those people because doing so it is getting risky.

Didn’t they just passed a law in the US in California(I think) allowing the police to search things without a court order if they suspect piracy?

God forbid you get caught with a DVD you don’t have a receipt that you will need to keep for 125 years or more.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Laws that do so already exist. They just aren’t being enforced.

It is already illegal to attempt to enrich oneself by means of fraud. If the fraud includes an “or else” threat if the victim doesn’t pay up, it is also coercion/extortion. Given the amounts demanded for “settlements” by copyright trolls, the matter is definitely on the felony end of the spectrum.

Any organization that exists primarily to carry out criminal activity, or which does so routinely as a matter of organizational policy is subject (at least in the U.S.) to the RICO Act. I wonder if Germany has any equivalent laws in place?

out_of_the_blue says:

So everyone should be able to profit off work of others /without/ right.

Logical reverse of your strawman:
‘”no one should be able to profit off the work of someone else without the proper rights.”‘

You start the week by cutting out the nuanced reasonable middle ground, Pirate Mike, even implying it doesn’t exist.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: So everyone should be able to profit off work of others /without/ right.

This is the landscape we have, that there are rights on songs for the composer, writer, performer. While GEMA claims to exist to protect those interests they are in fact committing fraud by claiming to represent those who are not interested in GEMA membership. When challenged that they do not have these rights, something they should be able to verify easily, they instead put the burden on the artist or the people targeted to prove that GEMA has no right to the rights in question.

GEMA believes in stronger copyrights and they believe in them so strongly they make them up to support their business model.

While I can read and reread Mike’s opening sentence for you, I can not understand it for you.

GEMA is breaking the law they claim to hold so dear, which could be seen as them being interested in the law only when it benefits them. And when they can’t legally benefit, they just pretend that they still can.

This is fraud plain and simple. GEMA screams they need more laws, but they can’t be bothered to follow the law they have now.

There is no strawman here, the people in charge of minding the rights, who claim losses and demand more protection violate the letter and spirit of the law to line their own pockets. One might even call them pirates, except people who pirate content usually do not profit from it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Freetards Demand /Music/ They Have No Rights To

“NEITHER am I going to allow Mike to remain silent when freetards post here without Mike “equally” condemning them for THEFT”

Well, since no theft is actually taking place by these “freetards”, you WILL have to remain silent. Because Mike can’t condemn something that isn’t going on. However, if Mike felt like condemning people for committing COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, which file sharing would fall under (in accordance with the law, which I can reasonably assume you follow and approve of by your comments and thus should acknowledge the distinction made by the Supreme Court in the Dowling v United States (1985) case)I’d have no problem with that.

File sharing = Copyright Infringement (NOT THEFT/STEALING)

No matter how many times you or others says the word “stealing” or “theft”, it still does not make it so. Thus, you are wrong and spreading verifiable and factually incorrect information. Quit adding fuel to the fire that is rapidly becoming the decline of intelligence in society.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Freetards Demand /Music/ They Have No Rights To

This. Very much this. A friend of mine wrote a computer game some years back. He didn’t do it for profit and made none. He used bit torrent to distribute the game.

Yes, people who downloaded it and shared it on copied it. But it wasn’t illegal, because they had the permission of the owner to do so.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Freetards Demand /Music/ They Have No Rights To

Theft? So you mean to claim that after someone pirates a song, every other copy of that song in existence, everywhere in the world, vanishes into thin air?

Infringement isn’t theft, since theft requires the removal of something from the owner’s control. Unauthorized copying does nothing to the owner’s own copy, nor does it necessarily follow that the infringer would have paid for the song if piracy wasn’t an option. Unless the money is actually in the owner’s hand, no theft has occurred there either.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Freetards Demand /Music/ They Have No Rights To

And adding injury to insult would be the discovery that someone else is raking in cash for your works, despite the fact you have no business relationship with that other someone, and you won’t ever see a penny of the money without a costly lawsuit you might not be able to afford to bring.

Yay GEMA!

out_of_the_blue says:

Mike, will you equally condemn freetards for taking music itself?

Since your tactic here is to try to get some agreement on GEMA and thereby divide the opposition, I’ll just reverse that on you too, and demand that you condemn those who here say they’re just sheerly going to steal if not given.

3 posts because you managed to get so MUCH wrong in a short piece.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Mike, will you equally condemn freetards for taking music itself?

@ “eejit”: “Ey, look, we have a right old thief here! He’s stealing from our collective intelligence!”

And you, as self-declared “eejit”, are most worried because don’t have any to spare.

See, I can do empty invective too.

I always wonder about people who choose handles with negative implications. Perhaps it’s a compulsive honesty.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Mike, will you equally condemn freetards for taking music itself?

@ “aguywhoneedstenbucks”: “I thought if he kept posting stories like this you would go away. When will that be happening?”

When I choose. Right now, it’s regulars who are leaving or posting less.

It’s not me or those who disagree with Mike who cause them to drift away, it’s that Mike’s views are neither weighty nor consistent nor workable in practice. In fact, he has little except complaints and ranting. We are still waiting in his “can’t compete with free” piece for exactly how he recovers “sunk (or fixed) costs”.

Meanwhile, the “copyright maximalists” are moving right along. I wish they weren’t, and I advocate, in brief, tax ’em out of existence. It’s the only effective tool against moneyed interests.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Mike, will you equally condemn freetards for taking music itself?

I’m looking at this story, and considering what you have to say, and the only group that I see doing anything that can be described as stealing is GEMA, not the filesharers. Filesharers make copies, leaving the owner with his copy. GEMA demands money unlawfully, leaving the owner with less. Neither group is being lawful, both groups are acquiring something without permission, but only one group leaves the affected party with less, and that is GEMA, and that is much more closely called theft or stealing than making a copy.

martin says:

2 Cents from me:

– I Germany, the GEMA traditionally was THE collecting agency, so the laws are such that you have to prove that music is not from a member. The case here was simply a sampler where some artists did not want to provide a real name, instead using a pseudonym. GEMA just demands real names and adresses to check up that no artist is a member, since you can be in or out, but not have only some of your work with them. So the flaw is the law, not the organization (although they deserve a slapping nonetheless IMO)

– Those who say “hey lets have a bar that plays only free music” should just think twice – it’s in the owner’s responsibility that way to keep track of who plays whom’s songs. If some artist claims to play free music and it’s the work of some other artisst, the bar owner is still the first to have to pay up. If it is not something like jamendos library, the effort a bartender would have to put in this will never be saved by not having to pay GEMA

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well then the law making giving GEMA a monopoly on these sorts of things is quite insane.
Why would anyone vote for a law where an artist is forced to turn over any of the rights to their work to someone they do not want to? Why are the artists not allowed to have choices? Especially considering how easy it is to get music out there to get more fans this seems like something to try and make sure that German artists and Germany are kept in the dark ages of music discovery.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, the “monopoly” is a good thing, for a bunch of reasons. The most important is net costs:

All in systems get rid of many of the problems of trying to figure out who is responsible. When you are talking about collecting what is often “micropayments” for each artist, any cost of overhead would use up that payment and make the system fail. If it costs you $1 to collect $0.25, the system would have to increate rates 5 fold to keep up. But when it costs you only a penny or two to collect the 25 cents, you have a system that is functional for all.

GEMA has ways to opt out, all that is needed is proof that the material isn’t covered. How hard is that to understand? It’s beyond Mike’s grasp, what about you?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The original commenter said the artists don’t have a right to have some of their work not covered by GEMA.

And I think getting $70 a track is hardly a micropayment, the CD of free music had 5 tracks and GEMA sent a bill for $350. The artists had already signed off they were uninvolved with GEMA or any other agency like them, but that is not good enough for GEMA. One wonders how much of the $70 went to the artists… there you could be right about it being $0.25 a track.

deane (profile) says:

well good that GEMA is in for another smack down. GEMA is now the, and I use the term loosely; “PIRATE”. if on one hand you wish to use the following terms to describe all the parties that do digital infringement, namely “freetards”, Pirates, thieves, theft, or others; then when a person puts out something and the collective “industry” decides to do the same then THEY MUST be called the same things! GEMA saying they OWN something that they don’t is committing all the things they are accusing others of! >.

John says:

Why don't "we" do something about this crap?

I am getting so sick of this shite. From “TV licenses” in Europe, to GEMA to geoblocking on the internet to satellite intended to do no more than restrict satellite audiences to match over-the-air broadcasts. These selfish luddite gobshites need to be stopped or at best bypassed in such a way to render *all* of their attempts useless.

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