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Buma/Stemra charges bloggers 130+ euro for YouTube vids


Collecting society Buma/Stemra is after Dutch bloggers now. Starting in 2010 you must cough up 130 euro for every six music videos you embed in your web page, according to Madbello (Dutch).

Buma/Stemra is a copyright collecting society for composers. It makes use of a feature of Dutch copyright law that says that negotiating licenses and royalties is too cumbersome for some forms of creative works, and that therefore collecting societies can be set up that charge bulk rates and pass on the money to the creators.

IT law specialists Arnoud Engelfriet and Kamiel Koelman are quick to dismiss B/S’ claims at (Dutch). Both point out that embedding content on your web page is not necessarily a new publication of that content, and therefore B/S cannot charge money for it.

Dutch copyright law makes a distinction between the act of copying and the act of publishing. A famous lawsuit that highlights the difference between the two, and that went all the way to the Dutch High Council is Poortvliet vs. Hovener (Dutch, PDF). Hovener was a publisher who had an agreement to sell 13 reproductions of Poortvliet’s paintings as part of a calendar. Although Hovener did print the calendar, they then cut out the reproductions and sold them separately, pasted on cardboard and presumably at a much higher price. No copying took place, yet it was considered a new form of publication, and therefore infringement.

Engelfriet’s and Koelman’s reasoning are in my opinion unconvincing, but even more so I think B/S rates are through the roof. A rate of 13 cents per embedded video seems much more reasonable considering that videos embedded in blogs (with the rare exception perhaps for blogs where people come to listen to the music) only work to expose an audience to the embedded works.

UPDATE: Sign the petition: bumablog

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  1. Orangemaster says:

    If you think this is bonkers like we do, feel free to sign this petition:

  2. @Branko I like your summary of the situation. However, why not mention WHY you think the reasoning of Engelfriet c.s. unconvincing. As it stands, the statement leaves the reader in the dark.

  3. Branko Collin says:

    Sorry Paulus, I was in a hurry. I think it is unconvincing because by embedding another work, you place it in a different context. Which to me constitutes a different form, and therefore an ‘openbaarmaking,’ publication.

  4. Orangemaster says:

    Branko was in a rush, we work hard here :) But I still agree with Engelfriet’s line “linking is not a form of publication (‘openbaarmaking’ in Dutch).

  5. Linking is different from other forms of “placing in a different context” because with linking you don’t actually do the inclusion. You arrange for a third party (e.g. Youtube) to provide the work.

    In the cable TV rulings by the Dutch Supreme Court the TV providers were republishing the works via cable. This I can understand: they retransmitted the works as they were picked up from the air. In the Poortvliet case Hovener redistributed the photos. If he had merely sold the calendar with empty placeholders for Poortvliet pictures, would he infringe?

    Do I infringe copyrights if I publish a book with boxes where you can place stickers of football players? In my view you only infringe if you sell the stickers as well.

  6. […] that if the people over at Dutch copyright collection agency Buma Stemra have their way, we won’t be able to show you fun vids anymore because it would cost us […]

  7. koenski says:

    ARe you out of your freakin´ mind?.Paying for a You Tube video on my own blog?.I deeply hate all those private marketeers who want to cash in from the internet, and where to go ?.The poor receiving end of the web, the blogger and potetial music buyers.
    It is disgusting to agree with these idiots, once a foot in the door, every year the price will increase.It´s just like the new Ov traincard, no more one way tickets, etc.
    Morones ..

  8. Branko Collin says:

    Arnoud, I agree that a web server is different from a photo copier at the library, because with the web server you can at least assume that you have an implicit license to make copies, as the person putting documents in the server’s document root can be assumed to either be the copyright holder or have a license from the copyright holder.

    Web servers however aren’t smart enough to decide without fail who the recipient of any given copy will be. You can apply heuristics to make sure a large enough number of people get included and excluded from receiving a copy, but you can never reach everyone. To give a simple example: you can try and block other servers from leeching your images, but only if the thieving party is honest enough to tell your web server who they are (Referrer).

    We’ve tried that with 24 Oranges, and the problem is you either need to build a blacklist (which with a popular site can get bloated), or assume everybody is a bad actor and accept that some good actors will be blocked.

    In other words, most webservers will serve copies to anybody who’s asking.

    But publication is not the same as copying, and I am not sure why you assume the same rules have to apply. To get back to your example of a picture book where the user has to provide the photos: a website with embedded videos is more like a picture book where the picture book provides the photos.

  9. […] In holländischen Blogs wird es wohl ab nächstem Jahr keine YouTube-Videos zu sehen geben. Ab nächstem Jahr verlangt Buma/Stemra von den Bloggern richtig Kohle. So rechnet aus, das das Einbetten von […]

  10. Mandy Lane says:

    Youtube is my favorite website and i am so addicted in watching music videos in it.

  11. […] natural to want to take a cut. In a similar vein, the Dutch music rights association Buma/Stemra announced next year it will charge bloggers and video collection sites like Yubby a fee of 130 Euros for […]

  12. […] Nederlandse Toonkunstenaarsbond, has urgently requested that BUMA/Stemra apologize over the heavy-handed manner in which it introduced its tax for embedded videos. Chairman Erwin Angad-Gaur fears the society’s tactics have damaged the reputations of […]

  13. […] Buma/Stemra charges bloggers 130+ euro for YouTube vids These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

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