German collection society GEMA is seen by some as a valiant protector of its rights and by others as an antediluvian anomaly that is doing its best to sweep anything digital under the carpet and, by ignoring it, hope it goes away. It has yet to agree a deal with YouTube, for example, and its latest initiative is to tax DJs in the country (both domestic and touring) based on the number of digital tracks they have in their professional collections. DJs, predictably, have not taken too kindly to this and are now organising protests against these plans outside GEMA’s Dortmund and Munich offices. Some DJs argue that the rates (€125 per 1,000 songs) mean many would have to pay GEMA upwards of €1,500 a year. “It is simply scandalous that none of the money generated by the DJs reaches the musicians whose music is being played in the clubs,” Michael Mayer, co-owner of Kompakt, told Billboard. “This fuels my suspicion that these new rates, which I consider to be utterly absurd, serve the sole purpose of lining only the most successful GEMA authors’ pockets.” GEMA responded by saying, “The law, i.e. the tariff, provides that everybody responsible for the reproduction has to license the rights. In the past the DJs sailed along in the wind of the club-owners.”

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