For over half of YouTube’s existence, German rights body Gema has been plaguing the site; constant blocks on music videos and similar content have been a very frustrating experience for German YouTube fans.
If you live in or have been to Germany in the past 7 years, you may have grown accustomed to seeing this:
But at last, the long dark days may be behind us – as YouTube has reportedly resolved the dispute. Gema exists to protect and represent musicians and composers; meaning that any “unlawful” use of their artist’s music would be automatically flagged and blocked in Germany.
However, Gema and YouTube have finally reached an agreement; and now any of their music that is flagged up in Google’s ContentID system will instead automatically add advertising to the video, instead of blocking it. Additionally, they’ve removed the block on the thousands of videos that were previously unplayable in Germany!
Christophe Muller, YouTube’s head of international music partnerships, described it as “a win for music artists around the world… and for YouTube users in Germany”. Meanwhile, BBC reports that Gema’s chief executive, Harald Heker, admits the company “remained true to [their] position that authors should also get a fair remuneration in the digital age, despite the resistance we met”.
While the nitty-gritty of the deal has not been disclosed, Heker admitted it was a “milestone”; even if they weren’t 100% happy with the decision. YouTube’s struggles with the music industry have been well documented; but this resolution is a huge step in the right direction.