German GEMA Copyright Protest Posted on YouTube

We noted a very interesting case in Germany where an artist sent 70,200 forms to GEMA in a truck – the whole thing is currently available on YouTube.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

When we first reported on the story, we had only the information on what had happened. Now it seems as though videos of what had transpired is all available on YouTube. It is available here:

Main link

The video certainly depicts a truck-load of forms being shipped to GEMA – the German copyright collective. Unfortunately, there is currently no video with English subtitles, but fittingly so, the music playing in the video is “Der Plan – Copyright Slavery” A music video is also is currently available on YouTube.

The reason why there is a protest in this form is because every time a song is sampled in a new work, an individual form has to be filled out and sent to GEMA. It’s something that the artist in the video, Johannes Kreidler, is protesting. While the actual protest video doesn’t have any English subtitles, there is a video on YouTube which describes what is going on (and has some funny moments where the GEMA representative asked is she should send a million forms to cover all the basis among other things):

Main link

The song in question is called “Product Placement”, it deliberately “quotes” or “references” 70,200 other copyrighted works. Perhaps the best way to describe the song is “experimental” Chances are, it’s more likely to prove a point rather than meant to be enjoyed like a common song. The song is also available on YouTube here:

Main link

So is GEMA upset at Kreidler? Well, according to p2p-blog who was also covering the story, the artist didn’t actually get GEMA to process the forms because it wasn’t suppose to be a protest to punish GEMA employees. Instead, he too the forms and brought them to a museum.

The point of this protest was to question the validity of German copyright in the era of the internet. “Creative media usage needs to be possible for everyone,” said Kreidler, “in other words: never illegal.”

He adds, “Copying is a cultural technique.”

“I’m not fundamentally opposed to GEMA, but I prefer other methods of revenue collection like increasing the surcharge for storage media or a flat rate for culture – which would, however, require that the term ‘culture’ be taken seriously so as to prevent the commercial music industry from hoarding the lions share.”

More of his comments are available on the English translated video.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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