At Midem, German Music Publishers Call Out 'Unjust' YouTube

Berlin, Germany photographed on Oct. 29, 2013.
Kay Nietfeld/Epa/REX/Shutterstock 

Berlin, Germany photographed on Oct. 29, 2013. 

The president of the Association of German Music Publishers (DMV) delivered stinging criticism of online platforms, namely YouTube, this week in Cannes. At Midem, the German music publishers called on YouTube and other companies that generate revenues in the billions from music hosted on their online platforms to pay appropriate compensation to the rights holders.

"They are still refusing to do this," Prof. Dr. Rolf Budde told Billboard. "One obstacle is the Safe Harbor scheme with its liability exclusions that were introduced a number of years ago to help young start-ups to implement their new business ideas. However, this must now stop. It is unjust for companies such as YouTube to be able to make use of this system."

At Midem, held in Cannes, the music publishers appealed to the EU to stipulate in the planned directive that YouTube and similar platforms should be subject to a statutory duty of compensation. "These online platforms are still not paying creative people their fair due," Budde said.

The publisher associations met during Midem for the purpose of establishing a joint initiative against these online platforms, according to individuals familiar with the meeting.

Dr. Florian Drücke, the managing director of the German Federal Music Industry Association (BVMI), explained to Billboard the particular focus that the German industry was pursuing at Midem: "What we are seeing is that streaming is resulting in very strong changes in utilization preferences. This is posing major challenges for the industry in its attempts to position local artists particularly in the light of the genres and languages which characterize the European music scene."


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