Germans cant see meteorite YouTube videos due to copyright dispute

700_f2ac51f4c59265a0c022339c16119936Last week, when the world was watching crazy Russian meteorite videos on YouTube, Germans weren’t.

As a result of an ongoing dispute between Google (YouTube’s parent company) and GEMA, the primary German performance rights organization, a number of Russian YouTube videos have been blocked from within Germany. The reason? These videos contain background music playing from a Russian car radio.

This is just the latest example of a ridiculous situation that has developed in Germany. According to a recent study by OpenDataCity, more than 60 percent of the top 1,000 YouTube videos are unavailable in Germany because Google assumes the music rights might be owned by GEMA.

Germany doesn’t have an equivalent of the American fair use provision, which this would almost certainly fall under in the United States. Google did not immediately respond to Ars’ requests for comment. However, Google did provide a statement (Google Translate) on February 16, 2013 to the German Journalists’ Union (DJV), which first raised the issue last week. (Full disclosure: I was a DJV member when I was living and working in Germany as a journalist from March 2010 to March 2012.)

YouTube has no insight into what rights GEMA represents,” the Google subsidiary wrote. “Due to the legal and financial risks that result from these processes in the context of GEMA’s [published royalty fee structure], music videos are blocked in Germany.”

Rights group wants a “per stream rate” of $0.005

In its own statement, the DJV pointed to one specific meteorite video, lamenting this sad state of affairs.

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