GEMA seeks YouTube deal after German copyright case

FRANKFURT, April 22 Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:16am EDT

FRANKFURT, April 22 (Reuters) - German royalties collections body GEMA hopes a landmark court ruling last week will force Google's YouTube into talks over copyrighted content that could result in GEMA getting a share of the website's advertising revenues.

A court in Hamburg on Friday forced YouTube to take down seven copyrighted clips in the case brought by GEMA that could mean other online music and video services will face hefty royalties bills.

"We hope that YouTube will now negotiate on a serious basis with us," GEMA head Harald Heker was quoted as saying in an interview with German magazine Spiegel.

"We don't want to take them to court, we want a contract," Heker told Spiegel.

The suit in Hamburg, for allegedly infringing the copyright on seven music clips, was brought against YouTube in 2010 by GEMA and several other groups handling music rights.

YouTube argued it merely provided the technical framework to publish content and was not responsible for monitoring videos and music clips for possible copyright violations, but the court disagreed.

GEMA and YouTube had previously tried to come to an agreement on the use of copyrighted content without success. Talks ran from April 2009 until GEMA filed the suit in September 2010.

Google had said on Friday it was prepared to resume negotiations.

GEMA, which says it represents more than 64,000 songwriters and musicians, demands that music-on-demand platforms which stream music to users for free and are financed by advertisements pay just over 10 percent of their music revenues, plus an additional per-stream fee.

"Our last offer was already a big step forward. Other providers find our tariff acceptable," Heker told Spiegel.

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