Germans given full access to Youtube

In the dispute over blocked videos Youtube and German rights collection society Gema have agreed on a licence deal. After years of wrangling over copyrights and payments for online music videos, Youtube users in Germany will now have access to content that had previously been blocked. Is this really good news?

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

We may soon be paying for Youtube

The news is good only at first glance, writes the Frankfurter Rundschau:

“Music fans can finally watch and listen to thousands of their favourite music videos instead of having to look at a dumb blocking banner. The deal will also give many artists access to the important German market. And Gema is distributing the money the Google subsidiary has to pay retroactively among the musicians. … But if you look a little closer and into the future, the picture isn't all that rosy. Soon we may have to pay for the platform's services. After all, the US company is also planning to introduce Youtube Red in Germany, for which customers in the US already pay a monthly fee. Users are willing to do this because they get access to additional services like series. It looks like Google wants to expand Youtube and position it as a rival for Netflix and Spotify. Gema was an obstacle to those plans.”

Deutschlandfunk Kultur (DE) /

European solutions remain unavailable

For Deutschlandradio Kultur the deal seems like an anachronistic joke:

“The 'European Digital Union' is on its way and one of the big questions will be what the future role of platform operators will be. Should they filter, check and scan all content for violations of copyright even before they upload it? Or are they supposed to simply get out their wallets and support more and less needy artists per semi-automatic, quasi-algorithmic obligation? … While in Brussels policymakers are negotiating a digital single market, in the end the creatives and platform operators in each individual country will sign their own agreements for their respective territory. And both platform operators and the copyright watchdog organizations last year ensured that things will stay that way, at the European level. European solutions remain unavailable in Europe, not least thanks to Gema and Google.”