A democratic structure, fair distribution of earnings to members and greater transparency of their activities: all of this was called for by the conservative CDU member of the German parliament, Dr. Gitta Connemann in a panel discussion on GEMA.

She warned those responsible at GEMA against waiting to make these corrections any longer, as otherwise the politicians in the Bundestag in Berlin would restructure GEMA by law.

This was the climax of a sometimes heated debate on a panel at the Reeperbahn Festival on Saturday (Sept. 25). The music festival and conference ran from Sept. 23-25 in Hamburg.

Connemann, who is also a member of the Bundestag Commission of Enquiry for Art and Media and has long been considered a strong critic of GEMA, called upon the members of the GEMA Supervisory Board present to finally make these necessary democratic changes. She said there were still no memberships with equal rights in GEMA, but a kind of "class society."

GEMA Supervisory Board member and lyricist Burghard Brozat defended GEMA against the attacks by the politician and pointed out that GEMA had already started to make its reforms. He said that because of the complicated nature of collecting societies this took time.

The composer and GEMA Supervisory Board member Christian Wilckens admitted that GEMA had problems. But he said GEMA was already in the process of reforming itself. This applied both to the distribution plan and for the involvement of members in the changes.

Meanwhile, the veteran singer/songwriter Donavan explained that he had embraced the digital age. During a panel discussion "The Social Web Is The New Sixties," he commented: "Millions of blogs, videos, product assessments in forums, the joint use of information - all this had helped the spread of music."