Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(empo-utoobd) Life is even less easy in Germany - YouTube lost, Grooveshark gone

Over three years ago, I wrote a post that described how YouTube had stopped showing music videos in Germany because of a dispute with GEMA, a German agency collecting music royalties. It turns out that the stoppage was temporary, but the legal fight dragged on. Helen Sventitsky-Rother shared a link to a BBC article with the results of the German court case.

In short, YouTube lost.

A court in Hamburg ruled that YouTube is responsible for the content that users post to the video sharing site.

It wants the video site to install filters that spot when users try to post music clips whose rights are held by royalty collection group, Gema.

In essence, this means that YouTube will have to take longer to review uploaded videos to ensure that they do not violate German law.

The BBC article notes that one company has previously taken action as a result of GEMA:

Music streaming site Grooveshark pulled out of Germany claiming licencing rates set by Gema made it impossible to run a profitable business in the country.

Here is what Grooveshark says about the matter:

Due to the excessive cost of operation, Grooveshark discontinued access from Germany on January 18, 2012.

Feel free to write to us if you have any questions. If you are a premium subscriber, please contact our billing team to arrange a refund for any time remaining on your subscription.

If you'd like to help lower the cost of operation for services like Grooveshark, you can contact GEMA:


Postal Mail:
Bayreuther Straße 37
10787 Berlin
Postfach 30 12 40
10722 Berlin

+49 30 21245-00

GEMA has a different view:

Contrary to its statements, the provider Grooveshark did not discontinue its services in Germany due to disproportionately high operating expenses.

The fact is, as a service provider Grooveshark fundamentally refuses to pay compensation in any shape or form at all for the service. As of this writing, Grooveshark has also not contacted GEMA in any way.

After detailing the many lawsuits against Grooveshark and other issues, GEMA concludes as follows:

If you as a user of Grooveshark have suffered any monetary damages, please contact the provider of this service directly with your complaints:!/grooveshark

It took me a while to find this statement. I searched the GEMA website, but was told that search was not working.

Perhaps Google can help GEMA with that. Or not.
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