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YouTube Wins Battle With German PRO

BERLIN (Hypebot) – For quite some time, the German performing rights organization GEMA has clashed with YouTube, but the popular video sharing service recently triumphed over GEMA in a lawsuit claiming that YouTube was responsible for the content which its users upload.

Guest Post by Mike Masnick on Techdirt

For many, many years, the big German music performance rights organization GEMA has been at war with YouTube over what rates YouTube must pay for any streamed music. It started with GEMA more or less arguing that a stream on YouTube was effectively the same as a purchased download on iTunes, and that it should get $0.17 per stream (yes, per stream). For anyone who understands even basic economics you'd recognize that's not even remotely in the realm of reality. The battle has gone on ever since, and unlike basically every other country in the world GEMA has refused to budge. Because of this YouTube has blocked most major label music from its service in Germany, while GEMA has filed a variety of lawsuits against YouTube in the country arguing that YouTube is somehow responsible for what YouTube users upload.

In the latest round, YouTube scored a victory as a court rightly found that YouTube is a neutral platform and not liable for a user's uploads. According to David Meyer at Fortune:

On Thursday, the higher regional court of Munich rejected GEMA’s claim for damages to the tune of around €1.6 million ($1.75 million). If you’re wondering, that figure represents royalties for 1,000 music videos chosen as examples, at a rate of 0.375 euro cents per view. The court upheld a judgement by the lower regional court in Munich, which said YouTube is just a host for uploaded video.

Meyer also notes that GEMA will likely appeal, so it's not over yet. He also notes, of course, that the rate demanded, while still insane, is at least lower than what GEMA was originally asking for.