Generally speaking, copyrights are not so easy to transfer or to sell: A composer cannot just decide to transfer the copyright of a musical work as such. This is also not possible by means of a contract. However, it is possible to grant others a right to use the work. To do this, a licence agreement is strictly necessary. This must contain the most important information about the scope of use and the remuneration.
German copyright law lasts until 70 years after the death of the author. This means that as long as the composer is alive, the copyright is his and his alone. After his death, it passes to his heirs for a total of 70 years. Only then is it considered “in the public domain”. Then anyone may perform the piece of music in public without permission or remuneration.
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“Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany.”
For German internet users, many a visit to YouTube ends in frustration. But why?
For years, German YouTube users have often been presented with a terse notice that the desired video is not available.Google, as the owner and operator of YouTube, on the one hand, and GEMA, as the collecting society, on the other, simply could not agree on how much to pay per song played on the Internet.
Records explain that Google wants to pay much less than GEMA would recognize as fair. On Friday the 20th April 2012, the Hamburg Regional Court ruled that the Internet portal YouTube may no longer put videos online for which GEMA, as the collecting society, claims copyright. In seven out of twelve cases, the court followed GEMA’s request.
Specifically, the GEMA demands from YouTube that the platform operator check before publishing a video whether the clip contains music subject to licensing. YouTube categorically rejects this – it is not technically feasible. Every minute, YouTube users upload over 60 hours of videos. Users like to ignore the fact that there is a copyright law that cannot simply be undermined and that many artists do not want to do without remuneration.
The GEMA or YouTube Disputes are no news to us. Do you have any queries about this topic? Make sure to contact us.
Horak. Attorneys-at-law : Your supporters in all copyright, media and music law matters.