German Politicians @MIDEM Weigh in on Music Biz; GEMA Signs With Deezer
German Politicians @MIDEM Weigh in on Music Biz; GEMA Signs With Deezer

"The German delegations are a mainstay of MIDEM and thus form part of its core," said MIDEM CEO Paul Zilk at the opening ceremony of the German joint stand on Sunday afternoon at MIDEM in Cannes. Numerous politicians flew from Germany in to Cannes to meet representatives of more than 200 German companies at their booths. At the center was a joint stand with over 100 small businesses.

Speaking to the over 300 guests at the opening ceremony held in Palais des Festivals in Cannes, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Hans-Joachim Otto, from Berlin, said: "The music industry is still operating in a difficult economic environment. It faces significant changes in the value chain, through the rapid development of the Internet and digital technologies, and the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on the music market. We have many talented musicians with a high degree of professionalism. This makes it all the more important to ensure that they are given an international platform. Music not only has an important cultural and social function, it is also of great economic importance for us."

Addressing a reception at MIDEM, German State Minister of Culture and Media Bernd Neumann said: "The German federal government promotes the presence of artists from Germany, not only domestically but also as an export. Jazz musicians in particular are able to present themselves abroad and thus showcase music from Germany around the globe."

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Dr. Harald Heker, CEO of the German collecting society GEMA in Munich, warned of not losing sight of the problem of online piracy in Germany. "Consumers can now buy more than 10 million tracks online in Germany. Even so, over 300 million tracks were still downloaded illegally in 2011. For this reason, the music industry continues to attach key importance to effective enforcement of copyrights."

The President of the German Music Publishers' Association in Bonn, Dagmar Sikorski, said that the economic success clearly on display at MIDEM was possible only with fully functional copyright law. "The German music publishers have been trying for years to ensure that the composers and lyricists receive fair compensation despite the many obstacles placed in their way by the technology industry. This is one of the key demands of the German delegation which it is voicing at MIDEM as an international forum."

At the opening of the German joint stand at MIDEM, with over 300 guests (from left): CDU member of parliament Bundestag Ansgar Heveling, State Secretary Hans-Joachim Otto (FDP), Dr. Harald Heker (GEMA), Dagmar Sikorski (DMV) and Paul Zilk (Reed Midem).

Among the objectives was a panel discussion organized by GEMA on Monday entitled "Lost property - the Future of Collective Rights Management in the EU." The Deputy Head of Cabinet for Commissioner Barnier, Kerstin Jorna from Brussels, said that she expected to see concrete decisions in 2013 concerning cross-border collective digital music rights management. Heker called for a European data management system as a basis for keeping track of music and thus for protecting authors' rights.

Kenneth Muldin, STIM Chairman, Board Director of CISAC from Stockholm, said during the discussion that it was crucial to take every effort to involve all countries as this would benefit smaller countries like Sweden in particular. He said that the future of collective rights management was an existential question, which had to be addressed by the EU as quickly as possible.

According to an announcement made today at MIDEM, GEMA and the international streaming service Deezer have signed a licensing agreement. The contract with GEMA is based on the recently signed master agreement between GEMA and BITKOM, the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, as well as on GEMA's new on-line rates of GEMA, which came into effect on January 1, 2012. "These rates also show the way forward for other foreign services such as Deezer, which wish to launch their service in a strong and mature market such as Germany," said Heker in an statement.

Axel Dauchez, CEO of Deezer, said in a statement: "Our agreement with GEMA is crucial for the development of Deezer in Germany. We see it as a good means of stimulating the German market and are delighted that an agreement has been reached."