GEMA Under Fire For Royalties Dispute With YouTube
GEMA Under Fire For Royalties Dispute With YouTube
Somthing to Smile About: Gemma board member Georg Oeller (left) and CEO Dr. Harald Heker. (Photo: Bettina Muller/GMA Munchen)

For the 2010 fiscal year, the German collection society GEMA today announced it will distribute more than €736 million to its 64,000 members, a 3.3% gain or €22 million euro increase over 2009.

In total, the rights organization collected €863 million, a gain of 2.6% percent. At the same time GEMA decreased its operating budget in 2010 from 15.2 to 14.7 percent.

A continuing problem for GEMA is the slow growth in royalties collected from Internet downloads, streaming and ringtones, which increased a relatively small amount from €10.6 million to €13.3 million.

GEMA's CEO Dr. Harald Heker said in a statement that "the progress for online collections is still slow and does not represent music usage on the Internet."

For years the GEMA has been unable to obtain reasonable remuneration from online companies and has had to go to court or arbitration to receive payments.

"It is hard to get decent results in the [online] market," said Dr. Heker. "For two years GEMA has been fighting with YouTube about licenses and we are still waiting for the date of a hearing."

The report also found that mechanical royalties from physical sales decreased from €149 million in 2009 to €140 million in 2010 while performance and broadcasting rights income decreased €25.7 million to €261.6 million.

The income from television licensing, however, grew to 7.1 million euros an increase of 12.2 percent.

GEMA board member Georg Oeller said at a press conference in Munich that "over one million musical events per year are accounted for by GEMA. The usage of music has never been so intensive."

GEMA represents the copyrights of more than 64.000 German composers, lyricists and music publishers and represents over 1 million copyright owners all over the world.