Currently, GEMA is the only collecting society for music composers in Germany, while GVL is the only society to represent the performing musicians. Members of these two societies cannot license their music themselves, because the societies demand trasfer of all exclusive rights to the complete repertoire of each member.
But what about musicians who want to license their music under Creative Commons licenses? First of all, they cannot become members of the societies. And some of them might not even be interested in a commercial exploitation of their works. Others are interested in commercial revenue, but both face a problem: When they try to go public with their music they are constrained by the "GEMA Presumption", the presumption that all music is represented by GEMA (and GVL).
What that means? In order to play CC licensed music, any DJ or broadcaster needs to get explicit certification from GEMA, stating that the CC music is not part of the GEMA repertoire and can be played freely under the CC conditions - this is needed for every single song seperately! Thus, in many cases CC music is either not played at all or is paid for to the GEMA as if it were part of their repertoire. Either way it is frustrating for the artist.
So, is there any chance to provide licensees with good options to play and license CC music?
Up to now, some of the most important licensees - broadcasters (radio & TV alike) - avoid to use CC content due to being not familiar with CC and, most of all, due to the urge to handle an unlimited number separate licences and licensors.
Here, a Creative Commons Collecting Society actually might come in handy to improve the situation of artists not being members of a collecting society, to extend content pools at fair prices for licensees, plus questioning the "GEMA Presumption".
But how to proceed if a second collecting society is approved? How should that CC Collecting Society work internally? How should it be structured to avoid mistakes made when GEMA and GVL were established? Could this new society help to promote free culture or would it be yet another bureaucratic monster?
We will discuss all this and more with guests and visitors.