German authors rights society GEMA has concluded a licence agreement with video portal YouTube settling a long lasting legal battle regarding royalties.
The music videos blocked for copyright reasons through a caption in Germany are now freely accessible. The contract signed on November 1, 2016 constitutes “a milestone for a fair remuneration of music authors in the digital age”, stresses GEMA.
The amount YouTube pays per video watched by an internet user in Germany has not been disclosed. In January 2016, GEMA lost a legal case against YouTube at the regional appeal court in Munich in which the society claimed 0.375 Euro cent per video. The figure both sides agreed on now is likely to be lower, according to industry sources. The agreement also contains a retroactive payment for videos watched since 2009, the year in which the legal dispute began.
GEMA represents around 70,000 music authors and publishers who are now going to receive royalties for the usage of their musical works protected by copyright. The ongoing court cases will be terminated, the previous verdicts will not come into force.
Besides the conventional ad-supported service, the agreement also covers the new subscription service YouTube Red that YouTube already offers in the USA and plans to roll out in Europe.
“The conclusion of this contract with YouTube is a clear signal to all online platforms that successfully build their business models on the musical works of creatives,” Thomas Theune, director of broadcast and online at GEMA, said in Munich. “Authors must be fairly remunerated for the exploitation of their musical works. GEMA will continue to actively pursue this goal.”
There are still, however, different legal positions held by YouTube and GEMA regarding the question whether YouTube or the uploaders are responsible for the licensing of the used musical works. GEMA calls for a political solution to establish a fair legal framework on this issue.