Fed Up Germans Are Trying To Crowdfund A GEMA Alternative That Isn't Evil
from the about-time dept
We’ve had many stories over the years about just how evil and awful the German music collection society GEMA can be. I’ve been to Germany a few times over the past few years, and have spoken to musicians who tell me horrifying stories about how you basically have to sign up with GEMA, and then GEMA controls what you can do with your music. For example, I met a band that wanted to license its music under a Creative Commons license, but GEMA doesn’t like to recognize such licenses. Another band showed me its “official” website, which it told GEMA about, and then its “real” website, which it told its fans about, where the band could actually put up their own music for free. GEMA is basically controlled by the legacy interests and only pays attention to a small group of very successful musicians. Everyone else is left out in the cold. There’s a reason why GEMA is the only major collection society that still hasn’t worked out a deal with YouTube.
Last year we wrote about some folks in Germany who were trying to do something about this, starting a competing collection society that understood that “free” wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, and which actually respected its members and the new opportunities presented by the internet, beyond looking at them all as a cash register to shake as much money as possible out of. This organization, called C3S or the Cultural Commons Collecting Society is finally getting off the ground, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re turning to crowdfunding to make it work. Within a very short period of time, they’ve raised over €34,000 of the €50,000 target — though they are really aiming for €200,000.
They point out that they’re not against traditional licensing at all, but think there’s room for a more forward looking organization that recognizes both traditional licensing and more modern options that many musicians want. Furthermore, unlike GEMA, C3S is designed to be open, social and democratic. This should be an interesting project, worth following.