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German Copyright Group To Collect From Creative Commons Event

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the pay-up dept.

Music 349

bs0d3 writes "In Leipzig, Germany, an 8 hour music/dance party event was organized to play nothing but creative commons music the entire time. A German copyright group called GEMA told the organizers that to be certain that no rights were infringed, it would need a list of all artists including their full names, place of residency and date of birth. After the event GEMA sent an invoice for 200 euros. They claim that behind pseudonyms some of their artists may be hidden and produce things that they would not earn anything from. According to German law, you are required to prove that an artist is not with GEMA. So even though GEMA probably does not have rights to any of the music, they are not required to prove that they do."

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349 comments

Greetings Slashdot (5, Funny)

gazbo (517111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046598)

Sorry if this is off-topic, but I desperately need to find out what Sourceforge's top downloads are. Does anyone know where I can get this information???

Re:Greetings Slashdot (4, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046942)

I heard a rumour that VLC is one of them. If you have come to slashdot and yet somehow don't know what VLC is, it's an application for playing and streaming almost any kind of multimedia file. Pretty exciting, huh?

Re:Greetings Slashdot (5, Funny)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047100)

Not only but that Filezilla is a really well-coded FTP client that also does SFTP. When stuck using Windows to perform tasks such as SFTP, filezilla works.

Okay I just use my Linux Gnome GUI to drag 'n drop (copy/paste) to up/download from the (linux) server, but I can understand why such a useful utility earns such a prominent spot here at Slashdot. Good news for nerds to know about, although redundant for many.

Re:Greetings Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047158)

The funny thing is: if you click on the "Sourceforge Top Downloads" (not on the projects in it, but on the title itself) on the /. homepage you get a 404 error.

Gratz, Geeknet!

At this point (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046600)

It has become necessary that we all ignore copyrights from this point on, in civil disobedience. This has really gone too far. Take a look - an organization that represents a minority of the population's interests, can have more privileges than all other citizens, and other citizens are obliged to that minority. this is against democracy. property rights, cannot come before democracy.

Re:At this point (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046668)

Way ahead of you...

Re:At this point (1)

daktari (1983452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046672)

Take a look - an organization that represents a minority of the population's interests, can have more privileges than all other citizens, and other citizens are obliged to that minority. this is against democracy.

Are you new to this world?

Re:At this point (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046826)

Well, it is against democracy. Sadly most of the places calling themselves "democracies" are actually republics.

Re:At this point (1, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046862)

It seems you don't understand the words "democracy" and "republic". It would probably help your case if you did.

Re:At this point (3, Informative)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046938)

There aren't many true democracies in this world, though most republics can become democracies for a specific issue, this is called a referendum. A true democracy everyone has an equal direct share. What we have in most cases is representatice republics, where we elect someone to talk on behalf of the group, of course this leads to bribery and corruption.

Re:At this point (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046968)

You seem to be under the impression that the only 'true democracy' is a direct democracy, not a representative democracy. I suggest that you pick up a politics textbook, rather than getting your information about political terms from Wikipedia.

Democracy and republic are completely orthogonal terms. For example, the UK has a hereditary head of state and so is not a republic, but has an elected parliament so is a (representative) democracy. A state ruled by a military junta is a republic, but not a democracy. The USA is both a republic and a democracy, as is Germany.

Re:At this point (2, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047032)

. The USA is both a republic and a democracy, as is Germany

Although the 'representative' part seems to be becoming increasingly selective as of late...

Re:At this point (-1, Offtopic)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047086)

I thought "Democracy" was just a word George Bush liked the sound of and said as often as possible (every other sentence out of his mouth had "Democracy" in it somewhere).

Re:At this point (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046940)

It seems you don't understand the words "democracy" and "republic". It would probably help your case if you did.

It seems you don't understand the word "corporatocracy" [wikipedia.org] . It would probably help your case if you did.

Re:At this point (0, Troll)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046982)

And sadly our actual republic has switched to democracy, in order to better dispense with our constitutional rights through tyranny by the majority.
Here you just take your ol' socialism in disguise and see if you can peddle it to some other sucker country. Oh, I see we have been....

Re:At this point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047020)

And sadly our actual republic has switched to democracy, in order to better dispense with our constitutional rights through tyranny by the majority.

Shut up already. You got your bread and circus(right the bear arms and tea party) and you keep crying!

Re:At this point (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046956)

People should look up a bit more about democrazy before using it loosly in a sentence, let alone encourage poor needy emerging republics into subscribing to the disease.

        We all know "a form of government in which sovereign power resides in the people and is exercised by them or by officers they elect to represent them. " but we also never see past this 15 second commercial to see the flipside of the definition that lurks to surprise its unassuming adopters; "tyranny of the majority".

          I'll quote wikipedia (good enough source for my point) "Majority rule is often listed as a characteristic of democracy. However, it is also possible for a minority to be oppressed by a "tyranny of the majority" in the absence of governmental or constitutional protections of individual or group rights. "
On the surface this seems alright here in the states until you realize our constitutional protections have been getting swept under the door, misinterpreted by an ever more corrupt supreme court and ignored outright by the current regime and monkey-in-chief.

Makes ya think ,donut?

Re:At this point (5, Insightful)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046726)

No, I think you're wrong. Property rights are a requisite to a functioning democracy.

This has nothing to do with property rights. It has to do with the legislation that basically assumes guilt and requires payment lest you be able to fully prove yourself innocent, and that the system allowed such a law to get on the books.

These things, they are not "privileges," they are fundamental rights. Seems to be a pretty basic right that one should not be punished for a crime unproven. A democracy which fails to protect this is a failing democracy.

Your path to declaring this undemocratic is troublesome, though. Simply because a minority has the rights to something the majority does not, does not imply a failing of democracy. That would be more akin to communism. That the minority can maintain their (rightful) claim to their rights despite the tyranny of the majority trying to take it away, that is a functioning democracy. Simply saying a minority appears to have "more" "rights" than the majority is therefore not necessarily a failing of democracy.

This has nothing to do with minorities and majorities. It is a law that violates fundamental rights. It would not matter if it was a majority impressing this same law on a minority, it would be just as offensive. It is only a failing of democracy insofar as that democracies are, in general, supposed to protect these rights, something not true of all other governments. It is a failing of any legitimate government, which claims to protect the rights of the governed.

Copyrights aren't property (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046794)

Else why are there no property taxes, zoning laws, abandonment and safety laws on copyrights?

Copyright IS a privilege.

Re:Copyrights aren't property (2)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046984)

I made no claims at all about what copyright is.

But your stance is easily debatable. Should one not have the right to one's creations? What gives you the right to claim them as your own or as the public's? Are the consequences of your claim - both in the decision of those who create works to continue to create them, and of the precedent your claim makes - are the consequences desirable or constitute a net benefit?

Re:At this point (5, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046830)

"Property rights are a requisite to a functioning democracy"

Well, thats a nice sweeping statement, shame it doesn't mean anything. If you think it does, define the words "property", "functioning" and "democracy" - as precisely as possible.

Does the emergence of property rights in China make it more democratic? Does the fact that many EU countries have a larger public sector than, say, Russia mean that they are less democratic? Is it democratic for the population to vote for an inheritance tax?

This is the problem with ideological rhetoric. It all sounds very good, and is carefully phrased to be almost impossible to disagree with, but is devoid of any useful underlying meaning.

Re:At this point (4, Insightful)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046962)

Eh, you're just being dishonest. I didn't say property rights imply democracy, I said that a democracy needs property rights. So no, saying that because $nation1 has more property rights than $nation2 does not say anything about the relative levels of democracy in each.

And it's not ideological rhetoric at all. At any rate, I'd say it's not rhetoric. Sure it's ideological, in that it represents an idea or school of thought. And it's easy to argue against. Socialism is often democratic and yet it has much looser expectations for property rights, as there is more emphasis on wealth redistribution and welfare.

Apparently on this subject I've hit a nerve with you, and you disagree. But you're post is ridiculous. Apparently everything is nebulous and undefined for you, and nothing is debatable or worth the time to examine?

The only thing you said that even approaches being interesting is to ask how exactly one defines property and democracy and functioning. Yet you offer nothing to it yourself. And it doesn't begin to deconstruct what I said, without making some far-fetched assumptions... The only restriction I've placed on how one defines a democracy is that it deals with majority/minority opinion, and my post requires no specific definition of property, because I said one must have a "rightful" claim, the validity of which would be determined by the society in question. Sure, the definition of these things is debatable to some extent. But as my post does not relying on any specific definition... what'e your point?

The functioning part is better. For these purposes, I think functioning must describe more than the present, but future viability, including resistance to external forces of economics and politics.

Re:At this point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047078)

Not that I agree with the poster (I don;t completely disagree, though), but I think they are trying to determine what definition you were using for those things so a useful debate could even begin as you seem to be using slightly different definition that most people would.

Re:At this point (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047114)

Just out of curiousity, since I tried not to make any specific claim about either, to treat the general case - in your mind, what definitions did I use or imply?

Re:At this point (3, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047140)

Dishonest? WTF?

It isn't dishonest to take apparent a statement that is generally accepted as wisdom, when it clearly IS rhetorical. It uses the power "democracy" to push through the idea of "property rights" without a clear universal definition of what that means. Fuck, even the USSR under Stalin had property rights (you can have personal stuff in your house).

The idea that democracy needs property rights is therefore unprovable and unfalsifiable; EVERY state has something that can be called 'property rights' under somebodies definition, some states are democratic, and so to say 'democracy needs property rights' is to say 'democracy needs a state' which is a tautology because democracy is, in the context you seem to use it, a way of running a state.

This isn't ridiculous, just because it questions something you clearly hold sacred. It is my prerogative to do that as a free thinker, and I won't apologise if this upsets you.

Re:At this point (-1, Troll)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046838)

Therefore I require my rights to property on people, so I can buy you and re-educate you as I see fit.

Oh wait, slavery was abolished. How undemocratic.

Re:At this point (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046998)

Yikes. I'm not even sure why I'm bothering to reply to you, seeing as how you're obviously just trolling, because nothing I said implies or logically has the consequence of what you claim.

But hey, 10 second epithets seem to pass as intellectual debate anymore. Yay politics.

Re:At this point (4, Interesting)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046858)

"No, I think you're wrong. Property rights are a requisite to a functioning democracy."

Copyrights aren't property rights. Copyrights are nothing but anti-property rights, telling people what they can't print/sing/say/play/etc. with their own hands and mouths and tools in their own house or place of business. Copyright law is a massive infringement of property rights.

Re:At this point (2)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047056)

Well, I never said copyrights are property rights. I must not have been clear, you're the second person to claim I said this.

This was the claim of the OP - that democracy must come before property rights, therefore acknowledging that copyrights are property rights, because copyrights are what are in question in the story. I merely said that no, in general, I think that property rights are required for a democracy. I didn't define what a property right was, or mean to imply it should include copyright.

As to the meat of your post... I find it self-defeating. By claiming that copyrights are anti-property rights - therefore an infringement of property rights - your argument logically has to consider the material that copyrights cover as property.

You think that people not being able to replicate that property is an infringement of property rights. But if it is property, the only ones who would seem to be able to claim any right to it are the ones that created it; and therefore the replication of it (against the creators' will) would be a violation of the creators' property rights. The only way you can get around this is to claim that creating something does not give you any particular right to it, or to consider works that are copyrightable as not being property.

The latter case seems to be the more oft-chosen track. But as I said to another poster - should one not have the right to one's creations? What gives you the right to claim them as your own or as the public's? Are the consequences of your claim - both in the decision of those who create works to continue to create them, and of the precedent your claim makes - are the consequences desirable or constitute a net benefit?

Re:At this point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047160)

Property rights are not "a requisite to a functioning democracy."

Property rights are one possible *product* of a functioning democracy. Property rights exist by social contract. The alternative is property held by force alone, to which the owner has no "right" in the normal sense.

Property rights - in some form - may be a requisite for a functioning *economy*, however, at least on a macro scale. Certainly, communes, kibbutzim, etc. do just fine with communal property.

Re:At this point (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046738)

ok, you communist. enjoy your hammer and sickle. i prefer the red white and blue over just plain red. go back to china

Yes (5, Insightful)

Alan R Light (1277886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046766)

I have long opposed extreme copyright terms and bad copyright law, and supported the public domain and creative commons licensing - but I have also supported paying artists for such work as they have copyrighted. I have always tried to buy a legitimate copy of music I like, where it has been available, and encouraged others to buy legitimate recordings.

But this is simply too much. If the copyright organizations are going to insist on collecting money for works they do not own nor represent, then they can go to hell. Really, this is just extortion. They deserve no more sympathy.

Re:Yes (5, Funny)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046894)

I have long opposed extreme copyright terms and bad copyright law, and supported the public domain and creative commons licensing - but I have also supported paying artists for such work as they have copyrighted. I have always tried to buy a legitimate copy of music I like, where it has been available, and encouraged others to buy legitimate recordings.

But this is simply too much. If the copyright organizations are going to insist on collecting money for works they do not own nor represent, then they can go to hell. Really, this is just extortion. They deserve no more sympathy.

Because putting rootkits on audio CDs was deserving of sympathy? Or maybe suing Grandma to the ground? Or fucking with artists so badly they can barely afford to eat while their recording label earns millions out of them? Or being granted full power on how users must consume their media AND full power on how device builders should build their devices? Or buying a fucking law requiring a website to be offline on a simple takedown notice with no proof, due diligence or any kind justice concept incolved?

Really, I'm glad you woke up, but jeez! It was about time.

GERMANY HAS NO COPYRIGHT! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046798)

Guys, the TFS is bullshit. Germany has no concept of "copyright". But even many Germans don't know that.
We have "Urheberrecht", which is like "authors' right". The privilege of the original author to get something for his work. As opposed to the privilege to "copy" (usually the badly paid works of others).
The former once made sense in pre-Internet times. The latter is based on the lie that one could actually control who makes a copy of what information, and was designed to abuse artists from the very beginning.

The GEMA was originally there, to collect the money for those artists, and hand it straight to them. That service did cost a small monthly membership fee.

But nowadays, the GEMA is a bunch of 80+ dudes that keep practically all the money for themselves and buy seconds yachts and huge mansions.
While the membership fee is more expensive than what they get out for 99.9% of the artists. (I'm not even exaggerating.) Most members get something like 50 cent or less.
But GEMA acts like if you don't do anything, you're automatically a member. Without asking you.
And if you want out, they often simply act like it didn't happen and keep collecting "for you" anyway.

Oh, and their fees for "performing" a song are crazy high. High enough that no Internet radio station here could afford it, even with lots of advertising. (We tried, and had to shut down.)

Re:GERMANY HAS NO COPYRIGHT! (3, Informative)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046978)

Don't worry, the US doesn't have "copyright" either. The phrase in the Constitution, "exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries", means exactly the same as you describe. The issue is basically that there are few instances in which "copying" is done for other than profitable ends.

Re:GERMANY HAS NO COPYRIGHT! (1)

emilper (826945) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047002)

so, Mr. Clete did not die, but moved to Germany ? ... just in case: T.Pratchett, Discworld series, "Soul Music", secretary of the Musicians' Guild

Re:At this point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046818)

property rights, cannot come before democracy.

So. No objections if I get a majority and we vote your home away from you? And two wolves and one lamb voting on what to eat for dinner is perfectly okay?

Re:At this point (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046970)

get that majority first. before you are able to get that majority, there will be a lot of things happening until that point.

and yes, if you get a majority and vote my home away from you, then it is proper. for all people combined is what define a society. when you determine different rules like property rights, copyrights, and all other stuff to go with it, you take rule away from all of those people, and give it to minority who is able to control those rules. everyone becomes a minority's bitch.

rather free, than a bitch.

Re:At this point (0)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046856)

O.K. I've had enough. Years and years of listening to this copyright garbage.

          On Dec.1, on the count of three (tres, drei, III) we have a worldwide revolution and limit copyright to 4 years worldwide.
I don't personally care what else you accomplish in your individual country so long as the copyright crap is settled FIRST!
Here in the states we will be sorting things out on many other subjects and picking out new mascots to replace the defunct Repubmocrat parties.
Good Luck, it'll all be worth it in the end...

Re:At this point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046914)

"Here in the states"

Said like a true european.

M

Re:At this point (4, Insightful)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047150)

It has become necessary that we all ignore copyrights from this point on, in civil disobedience.

From what I've seen, this is already happening - just not in civil disobedience. While some people who infringe/ignore copyright on a daily basis do so for some sort of political meaning, most of the millions of people across the world who infringe copyright - not just those who download music and films without a licence, but those who rip CDs, use photocopiers, sing or hum tunes in public or, in England at the moment, visit most websites [bailii.org] - do so because they don't care enough to check whether what they're doing is lawful, and probably wouldn't stop even if they knew. If asked, many may say that they support copyright, and that they think it is important, but that only lasts while it doesn't get in the way of whatever they want to do.

This doesn't just apply to people, either; news organisations and many other companies are perfectly happy to go with a "use first, try to license later" model, which sometimes involves them having to pay up, but rarely ends up in court. The current state of copyright reminds me of the Emperor's New Clothes, except with laws passed to say the clothes exist, the Courts upholding those laws, and groups lobbying and pushing for even fancier, thinner and more expensive new fabrics for the clothes.

gema, a slave camp? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046606)

title says it.
they should rebel, the gema artists that is.

also germans should rebel, because gema is collecting money it has no way to deliver to the lawful owner(the artist).

Re:gema, a slave camp? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046656)

That rebellion should have started the moment 90% of the videos on Youtube that have music got blocked due to GEMA not granting the rights to use it.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (4, Interesting)

MPolo (129811) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046680)

The youtube thing is really frustrating, I keep hoping that Google will manage to come up with a deal, but apparently GEMA wants more money than the RIAA demanded to make it "legal" to stream those videos in Germany. I must admit, though, that GEMA does have its (rather small) upside: since they "represent" practically all the musicians in the world, you only have one place you need to go to pay royalties. I don't think that very much of the GEMA money gets to the artists, of course, probably less than with the RIAA.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (5, Informative)

moenoel (1897920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046700)

As far as I know, the GEMA wants money per view for the videos on Youtube. Even if they only want a fraction of a cent, they'd bleed Google dry in matter of months with that model. Google offered to give them part of the advertising revenue from the "offending" content, but the GEMA says it's against the current German law, or some bullshit.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (3, Insightful)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046756)

How is this at all akin to slavery? That is a terrible analogy, and it seems like you just wanted to liken it to something that society sees as reprehensible to make it look bad.

It is bad, but at least call it out for being what it is. People who make outrageous claims simply discredit their own movement.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046774)

People who make outrageous claims simply discredit their own movement.

At most, they simply discredit themselves. And even then, that would only apply to the "outrageous claim" itself.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (2)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047090)

That would be nice in theory, but in practice, I think you're wrong.

When the LaRouchians invaded the tea party movements, do you think that people just ignored the LaRouchians and didn't associate the anti-semitism and ridiculous claims to the tea party? Do you think that the militant anarchists and kids asking for someone to pay for their college loans because they don't want to pay themselves showed up at the OWS movements, do you think most people ignored them or do you think they associated them with a core contingency and the goals of the movement?

Re:gema, a slave camp? (3, Insightful)

Calydor (739835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046836)

The part about potential pseudonyms is what makes this slavery.

Think about it. Once an artist is signed up with GEMA, he is apparently no longer allowed to make a dance track in his spare time and release it as Creative Commons. Once he's signed up with GEMA, anything he makes becomes GEMA's property to collect royalties for, even if the artist himself does not want any royalties for it.

Please explain how that is NOT slavery, even if a modern version of it.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046934)

I'd say that the difference is that the artists don't have to sign with GEMA. It would be harder on the artists, probably, but GEMA is not kidnapping them and making them work for nothing.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047036)

If it is anything like the Dutch version GEMA then royalty for any song for any artist is by default collected by them. If an artist actually want to receive their cut the also need to sign with them.

If you don't want them to collect for songs you have written then you explicitly need to opt-out for each song you write. You are allowed to collect royalties for songs you have opted out. You are not allowed to let another company collect the royalties for you as they are a protected monopoly.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047120)

that does not change what they do, you might be a sucker or desperate to sign up for it, but their actions are the same. Also in historical times people did agree to their own slavery, when the other option is starving then it could look a good deal.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047172)

making them work for nothing.

That's actually exactly what they are doing. Since the GEMA simply assumes they are responsible for all music, an artist who is not a member still has to bother with a lot of paperwork to keep them off his back.

Re:gema, a slave camp? (5, Funny)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046784)

Well, for some "moderate" rebellion the band "Eure Mütter" ("Your Mothers") already has a song titled "Der Typ, der bei der GEMA die Titel eintippt, ist ein ganz blöder Penner" ("The guy who enters title data at the GEMA is a very stupid bum")

And the song is basically about how they made the song just that somebody at GEMA has to enter that every time it is played. (They even made it longer than 4 minutes, so that it has to be entered in BOLD) ;-P

YouTube Video [youtube.com]

Re:gema, a slave camp? (2)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046908)

The really funny thing is that I personally know GEMAs database admin. He's a former band-mate of mine. (No joke.)

Privatisation of taxing (5, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046612)

This is really sick, and sadly the same here in Hungary. A specific rightsholder group is granted legal monopoly on all the music business, and there is no way for art to exist outside them. They also have the right to tax all storage media because "they would be used for piracy anyway".

Re:Privatisation of taxing (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046628)

Same thing in Spain. Except that the group got recently busted for a major corruption and money laundering scheme, so we might get lucky and get to see its demise. Not that I'm holding my breath that whatever replaces it will be any better.

Re:Privatisation of taxing (1)

topologicalanomaly47 (1226068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046764)

Same in my country (at least for copy machines, scanners, printers, writable cd's and dvd's I think) Just one question, since they collect "piracy tax" on storage media doesn't that mean that it's ok to pirate everything, since you've already been taxed in advance for exactly that?

Re:Privatisation of taxing (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046928)

Just one question, since they collect "piracy tax" on storage media doesn't that mean that it's ok to pirate everything, since you've already been taxed in advance for exactly that?

No, it's just to collect more taxes (and no artists will ever see a coin out of it, make no mistake). You're still a thief if you copy even while paying the piracy tax.

Hell, I bet in a while you'll be called a pirate just for having bought a blank CD. After all, if you pay the "piracy tax" you must be a pirate, right?

Re:Privatisation of taxing (2)

lordholm (649770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046974)

No, those fees are to compensate for private copying (copying a song from your sibling, friend or whatever), which is legal. The odd thing with it is that they have been raising the fees, and assume that people actually copy privately to any great extent, sure it happens, but not that often... while the logics in these laws is sound, the premises used to motivate the fees are complete utter bullshit.

Re:Privatisation of taxing (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047106)

I'm not sure copying from a friend is more legal than from an alien. The legal reasoning I've heard is that it's to compensate for backup copies. You know, cuz if you break your CD and then restore it from backup instead of buying it again you are robbing the publishers of their profits. But in public they always just blame it on piracy instead of this.

Re:Privatisation of taxing (2)

lordholm (649770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047162)

Backups are also included in the private copying argument, but the rules where initially introduced to compensate for when people copied cassettes back and forth; this is still part of the reasoning behind the rules.

Copying from an alien may be legal, it depends on whether or not he is distributing to just you, or to a million people. If you meet some guy in a bar, and he decides to give you a copy of some music file he has on his mp3 player, it is probably legal, at least in most of the EU. However, if you meet the same guy at the internet and he directs you to some download site he is running, then he is making a public performance (sort of) of the song, and downloading it is probably illegal (some EU-states only ban the uploading part). The key issue is if the person giving you the music files is making it available to a greater audience.

Re:Privatisation of taxing (4, Interesting)

little1973 (467075) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046896)

FYI, downloading is legal in Hungary for private usage (NOT software), but uploading is not. So, torrent is a gray area, but no individual has been prosecuted for private usage, yet.

Re:Privatisation of taxing (2)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046990)

Actually, it's only illegal if you commercialize it. You're free to make backups of copyrighted software and music for your own use, you may even be asked to provide proof of purchase or the original, but you can only be prosecuted if you profit from creating backups.

The same shit everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046622)

And here I thought our teutonic neigbour to the north was more civilised. It seems not.
GEMA is like SIAE. Different name, same shit.
Bunch of legalised criminals.

Same thing in Slovenia (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046640)

I asked our beloved SAZAS about this matter. The question specifically was: what was your opinion on playing open-source / cc music in a waiting room? The reply was that since all authors must report to SAZAS and report their incomes and creative commons authors do not, such music was illegal in Slovenia.

Re:Same thing in Slovenia (4, Interesting)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046880)

> I asked our beloved SAZAS about this matter. The question
> specifically was: what was your opinion on playing open-source /
> cc music in a waiting room? The reply was that since all authors
> must report to SAZAS and report their incomes and creative
> commons authors do not, such music was illegal in Slovenia.

I'd love to see that go to trial! And then to Strasbourg...

Re:Same thing in Slovenia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047130)

fun facts about our beloved ZAMP in crotia:
1. you become a memeber by virtue of being born. you can remove yourself from ZAMP's "protection" by filling out some paperwork beforehand, but if you didn't do it, the organizers have to pay a fee.
2. their answer to the question "how do i protect my works?" was "mail it to yourself and ask the post office to stamp the date".
3. the fees that they collect are eventually given to the artists by the percentage they are represented in the media (radio time etc). ZAMP is not required to (and they don't) disclose how this percentage is calculated (not being a government agency).
4. you are free to organize your own artist protection agency, but you need to have around 7 highly trained stuff (ie a lawyer with 4 years experience in copyright field)
5. foreign concerts are subject to the rule of reciprocity (namely, the organizers of madonna's concert in croatia are required to pay a pretty big fee which goes to ZAMP, but on the other hand, similar organization in US is free to claim any fee they want from croatian artists when they have a concert in the US)

hahahahhahah!!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046644)

*ucking Idiots!!!!

No rights infringed (5, Insightful)

Muros (1167213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046650)

A German copyright group called GEMA told the organizers that to be certain that no rights were infringed, it would need a list of all artists including their full names, place of residency and date of birth.

So, to be sure no rights are violated, they need to be given private details about 3rd party individuals that they have no right to know?

Re:No rights infringed (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38047066)

GEMA told the organizers that to be certain that no rights were infringed, it would need a list of all artists including their full names, place of residency and date of birth.

So, to be sure no rights are violated, they need to be given private details about 3rd party individuals that they have no right to know?

How much of this has to be documented routinely for a public performance in Germany?

Contracts, labor laws, tax laws, zoning, fire codes and so on?

GEMA is the only performance rights agency in Germany.

GEMA represents some 60,000 composers, authors and music publishers and the rights of more than a million copyright owners internationally whose works are used in Germany.

GEMA collected 850 million euros in copyright fees in 2008

Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische VervielfÃltigungsrechte [wikipedia.org]

There are so many interests and so much money at stake in public performance that an honor system does not work.

If your creative commons license is to successfully prohibit commercial use or derivative works, then there has to be a way to track down the infringer.

I want in! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046666)

I've just recently finished writing a book (prologue and first three chapters here, available under CC-BY-NC-SA) and I feel that, given that Apple iPhones can run the Kindle app, and my book will be available on Kindle, that since Apple can't prove that people aren't pirating my book I feel entitled to a cut of every iPhone sale. Let's start at 1% retroactive and see what we come up with. ... Oh, you're saying I have to basically own the government, like the RIAA/MPAA/GEMA do? Otherwise I have no real recourse, and it's touch shit for me, because I can't buy my own politicians?

Damn. Guess my novel might have to get by by giving back to people who read it, by allowing them to legally and safely write their own fanfiction, or to reimagine the characters and story as they see fit.

I really wish I was a rich, government-manipulating scumbag. That'd make this whole process so much easier.

P.S. I'm using Chrome. How come I can't seem to log in these days? It accepts my username and password, but just goes back to "Login"...

like a friend from scotland said (2, Insightful)

neongrau (1032968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046684)

after i explained what GEMA is / does: "wtf? so they're the music-nazis of the world?"

Re:like a friend from scotland said (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046812)

In the UK there is the PRS [prsformusic.com] .

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRS_for_Music [wikipedia.org]

In 2007, PRS for Music took a Scottish car servicing company to court because the employees were allegedly "listening to the radio at work, allowing the music to be 'heard by colleagues and customers.'"

Re:like a friend from scotland said (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046828)

(Though it seems the PRS doesn't care if you play only Creative Commons / Public Domain / etc music. Maybe. I won't provide a citation or link, if you care you should probably ask them.)

SACEM (4, Interesting)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046702)

Years ago, the Luxembourgish equivalent of the GEMA (the SACEM) tried to pull off a similar stunt against a band who performed at an event exclusively with music that one of their guys had composed himself.

The SACEM still sent a bill.
The treasurer of the band (not paying attention...) paid it.
After becoming aware of the error, the treasurer tried to reclaim the money, to no avail.
So, then the composer sent a letter to the SACEM, explaining to them that they had solicited money in his name, and that he wanted to have it.
A couple of weeks later, a bank transfer showed up at the band's account (not the composer's personal account) where the fee was reimbursed in full, but no explanation, nor excuse...

Probably, in the German case, it might not be so simple, as they played stuff from multiple composers, and if one composer complains, the GEMA could always claim that they solicited money on behalf of the other composers...

Re:SACEM (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046972)

So, then the composer sent a letter to the SACEM, explaining to them that they had solicited money in his name, and that he wanted to have it. A couple of weeks later, a bank transfer showed up at the band's account (not the composer's personal account) where the fee was reimbursed in full, but no explanation, nor excuse...

They were probably quite happy with that resolution, because in the end they collected it and the composer had to go to them to claim it. No precedent for anything else was set. So sure, they could probably get their 200 euro back but it does nothing to change the system.

Re:SACEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047148)

What? A SECOND Luxemburgish guy (other than me) here on Slashdot??
There is only 480,000 of us!
Guys, buy lottery tickets, since the next time you have so much luck, you will see a white raven with a four-leaf clover in its beak while being hit by a plane that's hit by lightning!

I'm from Sandweiler. Where are you from?

Rent seeking... (4, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046704)

...is always more profitable than working, because you hardly have any overheads. You just need to supply the occasional fawn for your lawyers to swallow whole, before going into torpor until their next court date.

At some point, our leaders and their pet intellectuals are going to have to deal with the fact that one of the most basic assumptions behind our societies - that profitability is equivalent to economic success - is fundamentally flawed.

Germans bought way too much into the Arteest thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046776)

Even paintings now, some % after every sale goes back to the artist after the first sale. Auctions and the like have to uphold it. And if the artist isn't found, it gets put in some type of fund. Amazing amount of agencies spring up claiming to represent this or that artist, many overlap.

Amazing what government stupidity brings.

Re:Germans bought way too much into the Arteest th (2)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046854)

It's not a bad idea after all. Look at this scenario:
An artist does a painting, sells it while he's not famous for a thousand euros, then some time later he becomes famous and his painting is sold to a new owner for a million euros.
Shouldn't the artist get some of that money? or should only the "art industry" feed on it?

Re:Germans bought way too much into the Arteest th (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047122)

It's not a bad idea after all. Look at this scenario:

An artist does a painting, sells it while he's not famous for a thousand euros, then some time later he becomes famous and his painting is sold to a new owner for a million euros.

Shouldn't the artist get some of that money? or should only the "art industry" feed on it?

No, since the artist fucking SOLD the painting in the first place. He got compensated for it.
No one should have a lock on the future.

This just in: Authorities do stupid shit. News@11. (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046820)

This is just a simple case of some idiot in some federal bureau with nothing better to do. The Gema konzept isn't all to bad, but with all the DRM laws added in the last decade it falls flat on its face in so many places. For instance, you are allowed to make private copies of your music and there is a basic royalty on copy media such as CDRWs that goes straight to the GEMA - but it is illegal to circumvent copy protection. As usual: Lots and lots of messy and broken laws in this field by people without a clue.

This whole GEMA/GEZ thing is in for a complete redo by people who understand the subject. Until then stuff like this will continue to pop up every now and then.

Sounds like swindle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046824)

GEMA claims that they are collecting money belonging to their artists. But at the same time they admit that they cannot know who these artists are. Therefore they will have no way of giving the money to these alleged artists. Funny how german lawmakers are seemingly unable to see the total absurdity in this

This is placeholder clause in most of laws (3, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046840)

This is my biggest bone with copyright laws - it gives rights to collect copyright fees to private entity - and what's most important - they don't have to prove that it is their representative they collect money for. Our local agency claims that they have rights to do it so, and after author will make agreement with them, they will pay money back (minus admin fees of course). This is bordering with absurd, but honestly, people lack of insight in such difficult subject helps heavily, as lobbyist groups have freeway to copyright laws.

Criminal Organization (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046992)

But at least our (Dutch) law has provisions against criminal organizations. These organizations are clearly criminal. Is there really nobody who files charges against these mafiosi?

Proving the negative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046890)

FTA: you are required to prove that an artist is not with GEMA.

How do you prove the negative? All this GEMA group has to do is not accept whatever "proof" was offered until they get paid or sued.

Can't they just ignore the invoice? (4, Interesting)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38046902)

What if they don't pay? GEMA would have to take them to court, right? Is a judge really going to make them pay, without GEMA pointing out even a single song played at the event that infringed one of their artists' copyright? Is there any precedent for that in Germany?

Re:Can't they just ignore the invoice? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047176)

It's called the "GEMA Vermutung", the GEMA assumption. As (allegedly) the vast majority of musicians are represented by the GEMA, the assumption is that any repertoire played at a public event contains music by artists which are represented by the GEMA. Since this is civil law, there is no "in dubio pro reo". Each party presents information supporting its own position and the judge decides which side has the better case. In the past, the GEMA only needed to point at its membership roster to win. That's why there is now (due to this current case) an effort going on to list more non-GEMA artists than there are on the GEMA roster, to overturn the GEMA assumption and require the GEMA to provide actual information that GEMA licensed music has been played before they can collect.

Laws always need to catch up with reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38046952)

It once made sense to have a law that requires the organizers to prove that the music played wasn't subject to GEMA fees, because it used to always the case. However, reality has changed and the laws have to catch up. This catching up is done like this: someone sues or gets sued and it goes up up up until the supreme court rules that the law has to be changed.

The GEMA could have slowed this process down by being reasonable, but evidently they are not. I expect lawsuits, backed up by civil rights groups, to happening soon.

I wonder how you say in German... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047012)

"Go Fuck Yourself"

Re:I wonder how you say in German... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38047042)

"Go Fuck Yourself"

Near as I can remember: Leck mich

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