What are publishing rights in music

GEMA: Acquire rights to use music

Who or what is GEMA?

The abbreviation “GEMA” is the abbreviation for “Society for musical performance and mechanical reproduction rights”. GEMA is the largest and best-known collecting society. Others are, for example, GVL and VG WORT, who have transferred their collection rights to GEMA. GEMA is responsible for exercising the rights of composers, lyricists and music publishers.

GEMA helps music users such as event organizers, restaurants, retail outlets or other businesses to acquire all rights to use music. She then forwards the license payment to the composers, lyricists and music publishers. Anyone who uses music in public must therefore acquire the license for it from GEMA.

General Directorate Berlin
P.O. Box 301240
10722 Berlin
Tel .: 030 21245-00
Fax: 030 21245-950
Email: [email protected]
Internet: http://www.gema.de

GEMA measures during the corona pandemic

On its homepage, GEMA provides information about the measures it has taken in the context of the corona pandemic with regard to the existence-threatening situation of music users.

Particularly noteworthy here is the option of crediting license agreements to the day during officially ordered closures. The corresponding application must be made in the GEMA online portal at www.gema.de/portal in the "My Corona closing times" area. There will be no automatic credit without a corresponding application.

 Which uses are subject to GEMA?

Anyone who makes music available to the public in Germany is usually automatically a GEMA customer. This is obvious in the case of radio and television broadcasters, cinemas or manufacturers of recorded audio and video recordings. GEMA customers are also organizers of public music performances.

In principle, the GEMA obligation does not depend on the commercial or commercial reproduction of musical works (exception see footnote below).

The only criterion for the obligation to pay is:

a) The use or reproduction of the musical works must for the public (objective element) be determined.

In 2012, the European Court of Justice issued two rulings on the interpretation of the term “communication to the public” of works protected by copyright. In the case of background music being played in a dental practice, according to the court, there was no communication to the public. However, this should be answered in the affirmative if hotel operators provide television and radio equipment in their guest rooms. According to the court, the music user must specifically address an audience in the sense of an indefinite number of listeners for whom the reproduction is made and which is also ready to record and is not just reached “by chance”. Another important criterion is whether the "communication to the public" is for commercial purposes. According to the judgment of the ECJ, patients of a dentist go to a dental practice for the sole purpose of being treated there. This is different in the hotel industry. There the hotelier wants to improve his commercial offer with the television and radio equipment. Therefore, according to the ECJ, the hotelier has to pay appropriate remuneration for the broadcast of a sound carrier played in a radio program. The dentist was not required to pay.

b) A "communication to the public" does not exist if the Group of peoplefor whom the music, ... certainly(subjective element) is

  • is delimited and
  • between all people present
  • there is a mutual personal relationship or
  • all have one for the organizer.

The mere designation of an event as not public,enough for this Not out. The event must actually have a private character. The organizer must also do this prove. In very simplified terms, this means: practically every situation is public when two or more people listen to music together. The exception to this is of course that these people are all friends or related to each other. A club party or a company party, for example, is therefore public. The private party or birthday party, on the other hand, is not.

Basically: The greater the number of participants in an event, the more speaks for the public at this event. With a large group of people, all those involved cannot be personally connected to each other. Just this one "Personal connection" (see above) is the outstanding criterion for assessing the public at an event.

Is z. B. Radio music in one Side room of a shop according to AG Erfurt, it cannot be assumed that the music is also intended for customers in the sales room. This also applies if customers accidentally perceive the music. It therefore exists in such a case no claim by GEMA on the license fee for “public” reproduction of radio music in business premises. The AG Augsburg has made a similar decision for radio music in a studio.

If the music is set to a certain volume or the radio music source is set up in such a way that the sales room is also to be exposed to sound, this is a public reproduction.

c) After this Authorization Agreement the GEMA removes these rights for its members true for the following uses:

  • Radio broadcasts,
  • Recordings on audio, video, multimedia and other data carriers, including storage media,
  • TV shows,
  • Film screenings.

The following must therefore be registered with GEMA:

  • Events with musical performances (live or on sound carriers),
  • Performances, demonstrations and renditions of
  • Musical works (radio, telephone hold music, ringer melodies, ...),
  • Computer software,
  • audiovisual data carriers (video, film, DVD, cassette, CD, ...),
  • Databases,
  • Mailboxes or
  • other uses,
  • Forwarding of radio and television broadcasts via distribution systems with their own reception point (even if there is no public playback afterwards, e.g. in a hotel room. Operators of hotels and other accommodation establishments that offer hotel radio or television must conclude a license agreement with GEMA ),
  • Background music (sound in business rooms, lounges, restaurants),
  • Renting out audio / video carriers to other people (e.g. video library)
  • Music and television on the Internet, e.g. B. on the company's homepage

Under Eventtion one understands a time-limited single event that takes place for a specific occasion. Performances are personal performances of music. Demonstrations are film, slide or similar performances in connection with music. Renditions include the playback of existing sound or image carriers, as well as the playback of radio and television broadcasts. Background music is the constant music playback z. B. by radios, televisions, video recorders, CD players.

Music users can visit GEMA's website at www.gema.de under the keyword "Music user" the Tariff overview see as well as the Register music usage online.

A common mistake is that a certain number of bars or a certain number of seconds without the consent of the owner of the copyright to the musical work is permissible and therefore free of charge. The real criteria for whether or not the author's consent is required are the recognizability of the removed melody and the use of recognizable accompanying voices.

If a sound carrier or a recording of a radio broadcast is played, the consent of either GEMA or the authorized performing artist, the sound carrier manufacturer or the broadcaster itself must be obtained, if only the smallest parts of the sound (regardless of the recognizability of the melody).

The Copyright is valid up to 70 years after the author's death. If you are not sure whether GEMA is entitled to a claim in a particular case, you can find out more from GEMA.

Can I get exempt from GEMA fees?

No, every user has to pay fees. The remuneration is based on fixed fees published in the Federal Gazette. Discounts it can in individual cases but give. As of July 1, 2016, there are no more local contacts. All inquiries from music users should be directed to the GEMA customer center:

Postal address: GEMA, 11506 Berlin
Telephone: 030 - 588 58 999
Fax: 030 - 212 92 795
Mail: [email protected]

How do you register usage?

Use that is subject to GEMA requires a previousRegistration. Corresponding forms are available on the www.gema.de website for all types and locations of use.

The assessment bases for the level of remuneration include:

  • the size of the event room in square meters or, in individual cases, the number of seats available or the capacity of an event space,
  • the highest entry fee per person,
  • the time frame,
  • the type of music played (e.g. concert, background music, music in restaurants, etc.).

What happens if you don't report usage?

If the rights of use are not acquired, GEMA is entitled to Compensation from the organizer to demand. As a rule, this amounts to twice the tariff according to the normal remuneration rates. The organizer is generally considered to be the person who is responsible for the performance, demonstration or reproduction in organizational and financial terms and who has initiated the performance through his or her activities.

In addition, is liable also the onewho has the option of performing or stopping the music performance. As a rule, this is the person who makes the premises available. The same applies to those who appear externally as the organizer.

Anyone who makes event rooms available must, in their own interest, convince themselves with musical performances that GEMA's consent has been given before each event. In case of doubt, he should himself acquire the necessary copyright usage rights to the music from GEMA.

In addition, it should be noted that the unauthorized use of copyrighted works according to § 106 UrhG is also a criminal offense.