After more than a year of negotiations, talks between YouTube and a German group that represents musicians have broken down. The group, GEMA, has demanded that YouTube block access to around 600 videos as a result, and hinted that other agencies could soon echo its call, too.
GEMA’s goal here is to get YouTube to pay it more money every time a music video is played. The problem, from YouTube’s perspective, is that GEMA’s asked for far too big a cut. GEMA’s fees are many times higher than what other music rights organizations have historically charged YouTube, and YouTube’s even claimed they’d cause it to lose money.
As for the friends GEMA’s brought to this fight, it claims to have won the support of AKM (which is based in Austria), ASCAP (the U.S.), BMI (the U.S.), SABAM (Belgium), SACEM (France), SESAC (the U.S.), SIAE (Italy), and SUISA (Switzerland). And together, these groups are supposed to represent something like 60 percent of the world’s professional musicians.
Only these organizations are at most expected to join the fight in Germany, and not go to war with YouTube worldwide.
It seems very possible that absolutely nothing will occur due to these developments, then, considering that about 13 months’ worth of talks haven’t achieved much. Just look for YouTube to lose some market share in Germany if it loses the right to show a lot of popular clips.