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Summary:

An attempt of music rights holders to press YouTube for more money may have backfired: A European musician just lost a web video award because his video was blocked due to an ongoing conflict between Google and a rights holders group over music royalty rates.

herrtischbein

Germany’s Webvideotage, a Webby-like awards show for web videos, officially revoked the prize for a music video on Thursday because rights holders have blocked the video on YouTube. The measure further escalates the conflict about compensation rates for music videos in Germany, pitting major labels and rights holder groups against consumers and artists.

The Webvideotage award for the best music video available online originally went to Austrian Artist Herr Tischbein for a video that depicts the artist together with his dog Pascal, which seems to have many human qualities. Check out the video embedded below to see what I’m talking about.

The Webvideotage jury especially honored the fact that the video was available freely online when giving Herr Tischbein the award in February. However, German music fans have been unable to access the video since the beginning of April. From the Webvideotage blog:

“The video… is only blocked for German YouTube users. Users from other countries, including Austria, can still access it.”

This isn’t the first time music videos available elsewhere have been blocked in Germany. The local performance and publishing rights organization GEMA has been in a stand-off over royalty rates with Google for about a year now. The rights organization wants to get paid every time someone watches a video on YouTube, but the video site presses for a revenue-sharing deal instead. GEMA has since taken YouTube to court and blocked access to hundreds of music videos from major label acts.

Consumers have long voiced displeasure about these measures. Recently, two music fans decided to strike back at the music biz by blocking employees of GEMA and major labels from accessing hundreds of German blogs. Some artists have also criticized GEMA and their labels for not making their music accessible on YouTube, and steps like the one taken by Webvideotage could put even more pressure on rights holders to resolve their differences with the video site.

  1. Whoa, I so *sincerely* hope that this whole mafia-like music royalty system in Germany will implode. And it’d better be sooner than later.

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  2. GEMA has never actively blocked any videos. Usually there is a message being displayed, in which the user is informed about who actually blocked the video, and most of the time you will see the name of a record company there – just like in this case as well (UMG).

    Best regards, Bettina Müller, GEMA

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    1. right…mind the “actively”..god..i can’t believe they even have the guts to say this..or as the saying goes “they are pissing on our heads and don’t even have the courtesy to call it rain”…

      kids ain’t allowed to sing children’s songs in kindergardens, they ain’t allowed to give you a happy birthday song in a restaurant anymore. You ain’t even allowed to use music YOU BOUGHT as background for a fan video on youtube. And then they give you shit like THAT, claiming to be the poor innocent victims while others (evil people downloading music illegal or bad bad other big companies blocking things making poor Gema unpopular..) would be the cause of all harm? (and downfall of the music industry of course)

      come on…

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  3. Gema is not blocking videos.
    The question is, why google/youtube is not paying for the artist any royalty. Google is using foreign content for free.

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    1. I *very* gladly relinquish video royalties if that means acquiring new fans who go to my concerts and buy my albums. And that’s exactly what videos were meant to be in the beginning… promotion! Why should Google pay UMG, EMI or whatever bloodsuckers for giving them free promotion? Very strange idea.

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  4. Short mail from the musicians agency: “The video is now available again”. We checked, it’s up.

    Markus Huendgen
    Webvideotage

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    1. And now on to the other zillions of videos being blocked for German youtube users…

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