Audio Jungle and GEMA

music
#1

I just contacted Envato Support because of a big problem for every customer in Germany and maybe also other european countries
Problem is, that here in Germany, the local P.R.O. “GEMA” has the right to declare ALL (!!) Music as GEMA affiliated and collect fees for using the music, and it is up to the customer to prove that the music which is used is not GEMA affiliated.
Therefor every european company I used to work with selling royalty free music giving a certificate to the customer which declares tat the author(s) (and everyone involved) of the music is not a member of a P.R.O. and so the music is free of any charges for GEMA.
I just now got the answer from envato support, that it is not possible to get something which let a customer be able to declare that the music from Audio Jungle is free of P.R.O fees (if applicable). So every customer in Germany and as far as I know also Austria (and I think it will be similar in some other european countries) might need to pay a very high amount of money to GEMA etc, for using the music! That can be hundreds or even thousands of Euros!!!

So please, envato, please help your customers!!!

I also was advised to look to the buyer’s guide to P.R.O. Music, but what is written in there, is in parts simply wrong!
At least for german customers…
There’s written, that “it should be OK” to use the music in different situations. That’s mostly wrong! fact is that the customer has to pay for every single use of the music in every situation, so if a client wants to show a video with underlaying audio jungle music on his website he has to pay for that (usually even multiple times!!), if he wants to show it on a tradefair, he has to pay for that, if he wants to show it in his shops/point of sale, he has to pay for that. There’s also mentioned in the buyer’s guide that it “should be OK” using the music for “making a DVD, a video game or app”, that is simply wrong! GEMA wants a lot of money for that!!!
So it can be very very expensive for a customer here in Germany using music from Audio Jungle!

But why is it so difficult for you to help your customers with this problem?!? You already have the information if a certain author is P.R.O. member or not, and you also deliver a license certificate with every purchase. So it would be very easy in my opinion, to give the information in the certificate:
“we declare that the author of this music is not a member of any performing rights organisation worldwide and the music used is free of any further charges by performing rights organisations”

German and european providers can do so, so why can’t you?!?!?

#2

Hello,

You raise some good albeit alarming points about P.R.O. implications to buyers.

Though, I think P.R.O. registration is the only thing that can make it worth for us authors, I’ve been saying for years that there were some situations in which buyers would have to pay P.R.O.s; whereas the consensus on here was that only broadcasters (TV channels) would have to pay royalties, which they were already doing anyway, and that buyers wouldn’t feel the difference. Apparently for you this is not so.

However, I’ve had many buyers from Germany, so it seems Audiojungle is quite popular there. Are they getting into trouble with GEMA? For Youtube videos, Youtube would be accountable for paying royalties, not the user. For videos embedded on website, does GEMA really go after those? I know SACEM (French PRO) was indeed willing to go after individual sites about a decade ago, but they gave up pretty soon after that for lack of feasibility.

Anyway, unfortunately, I don’t see how Envato would be able to deliver a GEMAFrei certificate as they don’t own the music, and an author who’s not affiliated to a PRO now, could very well be in the future. There’s no way they could guarantee such a certificate.

#3

so it seems Audiojungle is quite popular there. Are they getting into trouble with GEMA?

YES! they do! Especially when Videos are shown on tradefairs and in shops etc. GEMA has a lot people working like spies. Of course, many people just buy and use the music, because they simply don’t know about this problem. Many are youtubers or something like that who doesn’t really work professionally and many may also get in trouble (I’m active in some forums and see a lot questions). But I’m working for clients and here, I have o be sure and make everything 100% correct, so I can’t say “just do it, maybe you don’t get caught”…

For Youtube videos, Youtube would be accountable for paying royalties, not the user.

Theoretically correct, but YouTube is not the big problem…

For videos embedded on website, does GEMA really go after those?
I’m afraid: yes! and here’s also a big trap, as you have to pay fees for every different address your website is reachable, so if you’re running the website under different top level domains, as .de, .com, .eu, .info, .at, .ch etc. you have to pay extra for every variation. Last time I called GEMA it was, as far as I remember, around 150 to 200€ per year per address, so if someone has, lets say, 5 TLDs (absolutely normal…) he has to pay 1000€ to put the video in the website. quite a lot, isn’t it!?

Anyway, unfortunately, I don’t see how Envato would be able to deliver a GEMAFrei certificate as they don’t own the music,

Others also can and do so…

Though, I think P.R.O. registration is the only thing that can make it worth for us authors

Hm… you really think so?!? why???
I mean: you don’t get really so much out of it as far as I know. At least not here from GEMA! When I pay 1000€ to GEMA for your music you get maybe 5€ out of that (or most likely even less) , just because the money isn’t calculated directly to you, is goes into a pot with all the other money they get, and this pot is later on pored out regarding a complex algorithm where all the publications are counted and then calculated to the earnings. So most of the money goes to successful musicians whose songs are in the charts. The income for your song is not going directly to you. Maybe Madonna gets more from the money I pay for your song as you do!
So wouldn’t it be much much better just to get more money directly from the buyer of the song instead of making the buyers pay a lot of money that never comes to you?!?

I’m also an author and I also don’t get any additional money from anwhere for my products. So there are two ways I can get money, either the price for a sale is lower and I have more sales or the price is higher and there are less sales. At the end it will be around the same in both ways. When I buy a song here locally and GEMA free, I pay more for the royalty free music, but that’s it, no more horrendous fees to any P.R.O… Just 99€ for the music. Here the music is around 15€ but in most cases of usage there will be hundreds and thousands of additional fees to pay extra.
And additionally it also doesn’t make sense when I also have to pay more for “higher” licenses here on audio jungle, because this is exactly what the P.R.O.s do, to collect money for the later usage… So the buyer has to pay double!
In my eyes P.R.Os are a relict from the middle of the last century that doesn’t fit to todays reality. 50 years ago you coundn’t have contacted an author directly and get a license for a music, today you have the internet and you absolutely can. This is what happens here on audiojungle and on many other sites. The user can buy directly the license for the music and there’s no need for any P.R.O. any more. If you Think you should get more money for your music, then this is only a matter of the price for a license on her, then it should be higher maybe. But then, sorry, you really don’t need any P.R.O. any more

#4

I had a buyer contact me about a problem they were having with GEMA trying to collect a few hundred euros from them as well. What I decided to do was write them a private Performance Royalty Free license giving them full rights to use my track without any backend royalty requirements. I told them to show it to GEMA if they had any issues, and I contacted GEMA personally to let them know not to charge them as well. Apparently not all P.R.Os allow this private licensing aspect but ASCAP and BMI do. Comes in handy if your P.R.O. allows it.