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YouTube Ordered To Remove Videos, Filter Future Uploads By German Court 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the germany-sets-precedent dept.
suraj.sun sends this excerpt from Deutsche Welle: "YouTube was told by a regional court in Hamburg on Friday not to display seven out of 12 contested clips without permission from the German copyright fee collecting society Gema. Gema claimed that its members were losing money every time their music was being displayed on YouTube. A proper licensing fee between the two sides expired in 2009. The Hamburg State Court ruled YouTube would in future have to install an efficient mechanism to filter out such content uploaded by users or face a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($330,000) for each case, or up to six months imprisonment. Knowing that a foolproof filter system looks next to impossible, Gema is now hoping that Google will finally agree to a new bilateral licensing treaty whereby the collecting society would not get an annual lump sum for the contested videos, but a fixed fee each time copyright-protected videos are watched."
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YouTube Ordered To Remove Videos, Filter Future Uploads By German Court

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:04PM (#39747497)

    I hope that Google plays hardball, and simply blacks out Youtube for Germany. The resulting user outcry would then be turned against Gema.

    • by busyqth (2566075) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:07PM (#39747543)
      They don't need to go that far. They can just make it so that no matter what video you click on you get rickrolled.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Never Gonna Give You Up is a licensed work and as such, Google would still have to pay Gema for every Rickroll.
        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Why would they have to pay Gema? I'm quite sure that Rick Astley isn't German, and whatever company holds the copyrights to that song is located in the USA.

    • by yt8znu35 (1202731)
      This won't happen.
    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:14PM (#39747655)

      I hope that Google plays hardball, and simply blacks out Youtube for Germany. The resulting user outcry would then be turned against Gema.

      You don't have to go that far. Since they're only concerned about MUSIC, all Google has to do is give German viewers a different audio track. Maybe saying something like (in German and English):

      "The audio for this video has been filtered by request of Gema, who may be contacted at <address (street, phone number, email)>."

      Have it repeat the entire video length (in both languages). I'd say replacing the audio portion of the video with that message is an efficient filter. YouTube still serves up the video and blames Gema for the mess.

      Do it for all videos seen by German viewers.

    • Does German copyright law depend on the holder's popularity?
      • by s4m7 (519684)
        no. not YET anyway.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        only in the way that the monopolistically collected money by gema goes to whoever they deem is popular.... like most such organizations.

      • Gema is not a copyright holder. It's a German royalty collection company. Unfortunately, German government was stupid enough to give these thugs power over all music streaming over the Internet in Germany.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:26PM (#39747789)

      Right there with you, and I'm in Germany. I have to use tor for about two videos in five anyway, so they might as well block it completely and generate some political pressure against these asshats. Pirate party's already polling at around 10% these days; a bit more blatant censorship will just make the network rights issue even bigger.

    • They need to do this (Score:5, Informative)

      by future assassin (639396) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:32PM (#39747861) Homepage

      while its still fresh. Imagine the look on GEMA's face when all videos from Germany are blocked or better yet deleted. The applause Google would get from the rest of the world would overshadow what they would lose from cutting Germany off.

      If they don't want to do that then at least

      • put all video from German IP's into a que while they look them over sloooowly for infringement
      • Disable all sound on videos uploaded from Germany with a voice over saying Thanks for GEMA all audio has been disabled ev en on your own personal family videos.
      • by Asic Eng (193332)

        So they lose all their users from Germany to dailymotion.com, clipfish.de and so on. And GEMA will simply move on to sue the next biggest competitor until it finds one who will accept the deal.

        German users will get used to using a different site and forget about the whole thing eventually. Besides the Pirateparty is already set to take >10% of the vote in Germany, it seems unlikely that disabling youtube would help them grow even faster than that.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      Please Google do this. End your monopoly in Germany and allow the rise of competitors!

      • by jdgeorge (18767)

        Please Google do this. End your monopoly in Germany and allow the rise of competitors!

        So true! If only Bing, Yahoo, Ask, or some other search engine [ebizmba.com] were available there.

        • by jdgeorge (18767)

          Oops; we're talking about uploading videos, not search engine. My bad.

          Not that there aren't LOTS of alternatives [vimeo.com], but many of them seem to be, shall we say, "specialized".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What makes you think that GEMA wouldn't get the German court to force the same compliance on the competitors?

    • No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Weezul (52464) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:50PM (#39748053)

      Google should comply wit the court order by blocking these videos. Ideally, they should block them by redirecting users to videos by bands not controlled by Gema with a message as to why they were redirected. If the users like the redirected videos enough, well that solves the problem completely.

      • by MPolo (129811)
        They actually are blocking an awfully huge number of videos. Even home videos with low-quality background music are blocked. But sometimes something gets through -- especially if the user makes a real effort. GEMA wants Google to either (1) come up with a perfect filter or (2) pay far more to show the videos in Germany than they do in the U.S. It should be made clear that GEMA represents basically all music labels in Germany. The money that the RIAA has already received for these videos is insufficient acc
    • by erroneus (253617)

      I was thinking the exact same thing. Let the public do the "lobbying" for Google and get the content publishers to shut the hell up. They're out of control all over the planet and need to be taken out back if you know what I mean.

    • I hope that Google plays hardball, and simply blacks out Youtube for Germany. The resulting user outcry would then be turned against Gema.

      They'd better do that, lest Gema resort to click-fraud/click-jacking to boost their revenues at Google's expense.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      I hope that Google plays hardball, and simply blacks out Youtube for Germany. The resulting user outcry would then be turned against Gema.

      Are you sure this is a battle you want to start? Germany can fight back by uploading, well, just some of their regular old music videos [youtube.com].

      • I'd watch your link, but ":/ Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights. Sorry about that".
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      I'm all for this. It would seem easier and less costly to disallow the entire country rather than implement a system to check. Besides I think if it could have been done it would have by now.
  • Or... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:05PM (#39747501) Journal

    Or Google could just block access to YouTube from German IPs and let them see what they've really won.

    • Re:Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SomePgmr (2021234) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:07PM (#39747545) Homepage

      I'm picturing a brutally honest landing page, explaining why.

      The unfortunate part is that they can't afford to do that here in the US.

    • Re:Or... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bfandreas (603438) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:22PM (#39747729)
      They already block access to individual uploads. Interestingly they block anything GEMA lays claim to. Even Universal and BMG stuff. Even more interestingly those urge GEMA to cut the crap because they are fine with the deal Google is offering.

      GEMA doesn't reprepresent the interests of those abroad they send money to. They don't represent the interests of local labels. They don't represent the interest of local artists.
      Their past business model was to sue boozers that didn't pay up, kindergardens and private citizens to fuel their bloated body of wasteful red tape.

      Due to GEMA unwillingness to get a deal on all things online recent contracts with artists FORBID GEMA TO SPEAK ON THEIR BEHALF TO GOOGLE AND GET STUFF BLOCKED.

      Idiocy, red tape, bloated, ignorance. Chauffeur driven Maybachs. For teh starving artists :(
    • Every music video blocked in Germany is a click saved, and more money for GEMA (according to GEMA's logic), so let it happen!

  • by Teppy (105859) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:07PM (#39747535) Homepage
    If they can't automatically filter the videos, how can they automatically detect them to calculate the "fixed fee each time the copyright-protected videos are watched?"
    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:15PM (#39747663)

      Gema will do that for them. It's a very simple calculation after all: something like 90% of the videos will have some Gema affiliate copyrighted music (if not more, if you ask them), then take the number of hits to YouTube from German IP addresses, well 90% of that number times a license fee of say E 0,50 a song (still give or take a 50% discount on the iTunes price) gives the number Google must pay.

      OK, I think the "pull out of Germany" option might be the cheaper one after all. Never mind.

    • The reason that filtering the videos is difficult is because they get rejected if the filter flags them. That encourages an arms race between the filtering software on one side and the users on the other, an arms race that the users are always going to win. If users aren't annoyed by the filtering there's nothing to encourage them to change the fingerprint of the video and writing a piece of filtering software, even with very high accuracy, becomes relatively simple.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      GEMA doesn't care if it's not 100% correct for the fee calculation, they can live with the small loss because they think it still earns them a lot more money.

      They only want 100% accuracy for the upload filter because they know that can't be done, and they want to force Google to agree to the per-view calculation.

  • This is either a sign of complete, magical belief in technology or judicial incompetence.

    Unfortunately I lean towards the latter.

    Or its just Germans being German.

  • And then ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoudMusic (199347) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:11PM (#39747607)

    "... the collecting society would not get an annual lump sum for the contested videos, but a fixed fee each time copyright-protected videos are watched ..."

    And then start paying people to watch the videos.

    Profit!

  • by dougman (908)

    "Gema is now hoping that Google will finally agree to a new bilateral licensing treaty whereby the collecting society would not get an annual lump sum for the contested videos, but a fixed fee each time copyright-protected videos are watched."

    1. Get YouTube to give you two cents each time one is watched
    2. Go to a third world country/botnet and pay a penny per click to get viewers
    3. Profit!

    Seriously, pull out of Germany and let the people tell their politicians how they really feel. I imagine they will be we

  • by Omega Hacker (6676) <omega@[ ]gacs.net ['ome' in gap]> on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:16PM (#39747675)
    Sorry, but when Gema is using the courts to force Google into a "licensing" agreement that they've defined on their own, knowing that what the courts have mandated is outright impossible, that's called "UNILATERAL".
    • by idontgno (624372) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:47PM (#39748003) Journal

      It's perfectly bilateral. There's a meeting of minds and consideration on both sides.

      Just like when Vinnie and Mr. Sung agree that (A) Mr. Sung will pay Vinnie 1/3 of the gross till of Mr. Sung's convenience store, or $2000 (whichever is more) each week; and (B) Vinnie agrees that Mr. Sung's convenience store won't accidentally burn down.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is the problem with allowing single entities (no matter HOW they are intentioned) to be the gatekeepers to the internet. It makes the entire system vulnerable to censorship. The more diverse it is, the more resilient it is.

    So remind me again: why is it that we seem to want to allow a few giant companies like Facebook and Google to control all our content?

    • by Tanktalus (794810) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:26PM (#39747785) Journal

      Because when you have dozens of smaller players, none of them have the warchest available to defend your rights and will, instead, capitulate to the smallest demand. When you have mammoth agencies who are interested in protecting the internet (more Google, less Facebook), you will also have the mammoth warchest to fund it.

      If you had a dozen smaller players competing for video bandwidth in Germany, you'd get some paying the licensing fee, others pulling out, with a net effect that Gema gets money while there is no outcry from German citizens. WIth Google/Youtube, you first got an actual court case, and pulling out of Germany becomes a real, viable response that will likely result in a lot of complaining by German citizens, which is much more likely to get the government of Germany to look at legislative options to tone down Gema and entice Youtube to return.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        available to defend your rights and will, instead

        So your assertion is that youtube cares about defending my rights?

        *blink*

        Uhhh.. sure they do.

        They'll do what causes them least financial harm, and that is all. Big companies have a long history of caving into censorship demands. The ONLY viable defence is to not put all our eggs in one basket.

  • I just can't understand Germany lately. This is a great country with really enlightened people running it for the most part but their positions on IP - software patents (legal in Germany) and draconic copyright measures are just counter to everything else the Germans do in terms of forward thinkingness.

    I am guessing it's because they've drunk the IP Kool-Aide and think that all these measures are somehow making for a stronger economy ... or something....

  • Last I checked, treaties are between governments. Between corporations, those are supposed to be contracts.

    The difference is that treaties and governments are supposed to supersede any contracts (e.g. you can't expect a contract of indentured servitude to have any force in the US).

    • by sir-gold (949031)

      yes, but who is actually writing the treaties that governments are signing? My guess is that the corporations are the ones writing the treaties, just like they already write US laws

  • by cmptrs4now (1149799) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:28PM (#39747801)
    This is an interesting dilema for Google. In my opinion google should appeal the descision asking GEMA to provide a filtering algorithm that meets GEMAs demand. If GEMA cannot or will not supply the algorithm the Google should be able to ask the courts to reverse the decision based on the evidence that GEMA has asked google to do something that GEMA themselves cannot do.
  • if they can't identify the videos, how are they supposed to count the video views?

    *baffled*

    ...whereby the collecting society would not get an annual lump sum for the contested videos, but a fixed fee each time copyright-protected videos are watched.

    • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

      They simply take a cut of each video that GEMA claims breaks their copyrights, this is more or less what happens now (but with a yearly lump sum to cover any possible infringement until 2008). GEMA is the one that selects what videos fall under that currently (& if other companies are any example they will claim stuff even if they don't own the copyrights).

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday April 20, 2012 @01:36PM (#39747881) Homepage Journal

    Without youtube most of these people's works would have faded from public view or remained obscure.

  • Re-direct all german traffic to servers in the US. Turn off the German ones for a while and save some power.
    Only allow those requests to view the 240 version of all videos. Not only will it be lower resolution, but slower than usual, too.
    Put a nice big banner above the videos explaining why, with contact information of GEMA.

    • by Red_Chaos1 (95148)

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. I'm sick of the money grubbing and trying to put the problem of copyright on people who shouldn't have to worry about it. Gema doesn't want copyrighted crap on Youtube? Then use the process in place, just like everyone else.

    • by Lithdren (605362)
      Agree to this liscence agreement they want, and request the copywrited material so that they can review videos.

      Then pay these people for every view for every video that matches the audio 100%. If its even 0.001% off, dont count the hit. Alternatly let the GEMA try to figure out what videos infringe and get clearance with Google to agree before paying up.

      In other words make it a huge pain in the neck for GEMA. Make it cost more for them to figure out what videos are actually infringing than any value
  • I do not have a problem with Google blocking all uploads by German Court (whoever he/she is).
  • YouTube would in future have to install an efficient mechanism to filter out such content uploaded by users or face a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($330,000) for each case, or up to six months imprisonment.

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but how would they imprison YouTube? Would all the videos have bars in front of them? Are they going to round up all of Google Gerrmany's employees and send them to prison? Would just the head of Google's Germany office get sent to jail? How exactly do you send a company

  • Why the fuck is a court uploading videos?

  • How about:

    YouTube Ordered By German Court To Remove Videos, Filter Future Uploads

    or

    German Court Orders YouTube to Remove Videos and Filter Future Uploads

    • by Kozz (7764)

      But dangling modifiers are so much fun! Though in this case, the double-meaning isn't nearly as amusing. I wanted to ask what kind of riveting material was being uploaded by the German Courts, and why it garnered enough attention that someone ordered YouTube to filter it.

  • > but a fixed fee each time copyright-protected videos are watched

    Gee, there would be any way to game that system, now would there?

  • As the article mentions, Gema is fully aware that it is almost impossible for Google to implement a filtering system that prevents videos with Gema content from being uploaded. They are using this court decision to force Google to renew a license with them that expired in 2009 and changes the terms of that license so that Google would have to pay Gema every time a video with Gema content is viewed rather than their previous agreement of paying a single up-front licensing fee.

    I think Google's best option
  • You mean there are German bands other than The Scorpions, Kraftwerk, Ramstein, Nina, and Tangerine Dream? (I deliberately exclude David Hasselhoff, no one likes him except the Germans anyway)

    On a more serious note. Google/YouTube is unlikely to negotiate with people attempting extortion. Germany, get ready to kiss YouTube goodbye.

  • how can per click payment be possible? If they knew it required payment, they would have known to filter it.

  • "...Gema claimed that its members were losing money every time their music was being displayed on YouTube"

    I'm lost here... For example, assuming that youtube was the only way to watch videos and all GEMA video was blocked, how GEMA would gain anything if nobody would know that her videos even exist? What these GEMA executives have in their heads?
  • No big deal. I'll bet that German court hasn't uploaded very many videos.

    Anyone know that the German Court's YouTube ID is? I did a search and I didn't see anything obvious. Maybe the "uploads by [the] German Court" have all been removed already?

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