- Despite 60,000 signatures, the petitions committee of the Bundestag will take no action against the PRO.
The Deutsches Bundestag decided yesterday that it will not take action against GEMA despite an online petition that received more than 60,000 signatures.
According to BLN.FM, German Secretary of State Max Stadler sidestepped the issue by suggesting that supporters of the petition form a compromise with GEMA directly. The petition, which began circulating in August, specifically protested the so-called "GEMA presumption," i.e. GEMA's method of deciding tariffs for clubs and festivals based on the assumption that they own rights to 100% of the music being played there. The reasoning behind this is that it would be too difficult to sort out which tracks were or weren't written by GEMA members. This method is part of what allows GEMA to decide their tariffs based purely on the amount of space in a venue and the duration of its events, without necessarily knowing what music was played.
The GEMA presumption has been contested before. One study by Berlin's Club Commission sampled everything that was played at Berlin clubs like Watergate and Weekend over one weekend, and found that as many as 35% of the records played were unknown to GEMA. Germany's Left Party has argued that in order for GEMA's methods to be sound, that figure could not be higher than 5%. Nonetheless, the Bundestag agreed with GEMA that this presumption, however imperfect, is essential to the PRO's mission of securing the rights of recording artists, as any alternative would be too cumbersome.