Day 12 of Article 13 Passage: Creators Realizing They Won’t Be Compensated

While supporters have long argued that article 13 is about compensating creators, one creator is realizing that compensation is never going to come.

“Levelling the playing field” is a term often bandied about by supporters of Internet censorship. This compounds the old and tired argument that this is about fixing the mythical “value gap” (a term primarily pushed by multinational corporate group the IFPI). So, now that the Internet censorship laws have been passed, one creator decided to put the theory of more compensation for the creators to the test. He documented (German) his findings online after.

Johannes Börnsen is a video producer. He publishes content he creates on YouTube. Börnsen says that he went to the website VG Bild-Kunst. Apparently, the website said that (rough translation) ‘we do not accept that in the name of our freedom we should be denied the fair recognition of our achievements’.

Börnsen said that he didn’t want the videos he produces for Heise to be mistakenly blocked and taken down on YouTube. So, he chose to try and become a member as quickly as possible. The idea is, naturally, that he wants to receive all that new royalty money that websites will be forced to pay out.

Contact information at hand, Börnsen calls the organization. The first thing that is needed is to identify which category he falls into. Because he produces video, he figured that he would either fall under group II (picture) or group III (video). After being greeted by a live representative, he explains what he does and how he feels that he falls under at least one of the two groups. The representative then says that he does not qualify for either of these groups even though he produces video for an employer.

The representative explains that YouTube does not count as a broadcast. Photographers count under group II, but because Heise posts videos on YouTube, then he doesn’t count for either of those groups. For him, the confusing part is the fact that Heise has to apply for a broadcast license. If the fees have to be paid to broadcast on YouTube, why can’t the creator on the other end receive those royalties?

Börnsen then concludes that the copyright reform came about both in his name and at his expense.

Naturally, Börnsen’s experience is not isolated. Back in February, the European Federations of Journalists condemned the legislation. At the time, they pointed out that journalists will also not likely see compensation from these reforms. At the time, they argued that journalists might have their works republished online. Due to “contractual arrangements”, if their work produces revenue for an organization, publishers will reap the benefits of all that ad revenue. In turn, journalists will wind up with “a proportionate or appropriate share of nothing.”

So, this latest example actually echos concerns we’ve heard previously from others in the past. The publishers, corporations, and collecting societies get a huge boost in revenue and leaves creators out in the cold, fleeced of what they thought would be their hard earned cash.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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