Revision, GEMA And Your Participation
Fellow Demosceners and fans of Revision,
This post has been long overdue. If you are planning to contribute to Revision, please read this thoroughly.
You have probably heard and read a lot on copyrights, GEMA and the like. GEMA has been topic of countless discussions around creativity and the Demoscene. Especially now, as GEMA is coming out with a new set of plans from April 1st on, at least everybody in Germany has dealt with the issue in one way or another, and be it only the fact that as a German citizen, numerous videos featured on YouTube are inaccessible to you. But the hurdle we at the Revision orga team are facing does not only concern Germans, but basically everybody participating in our compos, and ultimately everybody attending Revision.
To state clearly why we care about this so much, it is frankly costing us money. A lot of money. Last year we were fined by GEMA for playing a handful of tracks that registered members of GEMA or sibling associations had handed into our music competitions. We ended up paying a substantial fine that is cutting into our budget for 2013.
Here’s what you need to know about the background of GEMA:
- It represents all its members and, indirectly through partner agreements with various sibling associations at BIEM, all members at any partner association.
- Every member of GEMA assigned all their rights in all of their music, past and present works, to GEMA. No GEMA member has a choice whether he or she wants the rights in a specific work assigned. All rights to all works are assigned. Love it or don’t be a GEMA member.
- It demands from basically everybody who deals with any music in any even semi-commercial way to announce each event to them and, as the case may be, hand in playlists and/or pay fees to them. The fact that we at the Revision orga team do this without the intention (or the permission, for that matter) to make profit is irrelevant to them; the fact that we charge an entry fee to the event suffices.
- Even if we don’t play any work protected by GEMA, we are obliged to hand in playlists. GEMA will take all the submitted data and run it against their (and their partners‘) database to see whether any of the listed people is a member of GEMA or any of the partner associations, or whether each track is registered respectively. If not, we do not owe GEMA or anybody else fees, but if even a single match is found, Revision pays.
- The GEMA fees to be paid (when protected work is played) greatly depend on two factors, the size of the event (square meters) and the entrance fee. If Revision wanted an „all-areas all-the-time GEMA pass“, this would cost Revision approximately € 7,000. Our budget doesn’t cover that, especially but not only because we paid last year’s fine, and we strongly doubt that you would want us to give this money to GEMA instead of the compo winners (and you do rightfully so).
- GEMA protects (mainly) rights in pieces of music regardless of form. That means it’s irrelevant what format you hand it in, and also whether it comes by itself or as a part of another work, like a soundtrack of a demo.
- If you are a GEMA member, you are not allowed (and therefore legally incapable) to release any music under a Creative Commons license. You have given GEMA all rights to exploit your music work, which means you have no rights left that you could give out to others through other license channels, such as Creative Commons. Don’t blame us; we didn’t choose to become a GEMA member. You did.
This is why we need you to follow a few rules that you will also find in the compo rules section.
- If you are a member registered with GEMA or a sibling association, do not enter any of your work in any of our competitions. We mean it. Yes, really. If you do so and we play it, it is going to cost us, and we are going to come back at you and collect the damage you caused.
- Please do not try to cover your identity up with some obvious fake identity, with names like „GEMA SUCKS!!!111oneeleven“. You might not like GEMA, and we’re not even saying that we do, but there is almost no more obvious way to ask for trouble, which, by all means, we try to avoid. We will disqualify all entries from obviously fake identities, however we have no means of checking whether you as the entering person actually created the work.
- If you are unsure about your association with GEMA or any of its partner institutions, please check yourself before entering a competition at Revision. This is your responsibility.
Please understand that we cannot (and are unwilling to) check whether your artist representation association does not partner with GEMA. There may be associations that protect and exploit only certain registered works instead of the all-works-of-an-artist approach that GEMA has. That might be. We do not have the means, resources or will to do research on all the associations there are out there, and we are not willing to take the risk of receiving a multi-thousand-Euro bill just because we trusted you. We do not have the funds to take that risk again.
We are a scene that bases on creation as opposed to consumption. That’s what you tell us, and you’re right.
We at Revision greatly support Creative Commons and other forms of (partial) copyleft handling. Please understand that if you are a GEMA member, you yourself chose GEMA to represent you. It was your choice to become a GEMA member, not ours to reject you. We have no choice but to do so in order to stay in our budget. However, it is, of course, perfectly up to you to give us the money for an all-areas GEMA pass for the entire Revision event. To this day, nobody has offered us anything like that, which is why we assume it’s not going to happen any time soon either.
So please, all members of GEMA and their sibling associations, be with us at Revision, enjoy the work presented there, but do not enter your own work at Revision. We honestly cannot afford the costs and have no time to deal with the trouble you would cause us.
Revision Organization Team