BUMA/Stemra puts blogger’s tax off for a year, closes deal with YouTube

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BUMA/Stemra has decided not to pursue its blogger’s tax of 160 euro per 6 embedded songs for 2010. At the same time, the collecting society for composers and performing artists has closed a deal with Youtube, allowing the Google daughter to serve videos containing music to a Dutch audience.

After a storm of protest, BUMA/Stemra cancelled its tariffs for non-commercial users earlier, leaving blogs like 24 Oranges in the cold, because we run Google ads. Now Webwereld reports that commercial users will also be exempt for one year, while BUMA/Stemra tries to iron out any legal glitches. I guess that is a step forward from past practices, where the society would start lawsuits against pretty much anyone and use the resulting jurisprudence as either law, or as a springboard for further lawsuits.

Music Week reports that the new licensing agreement covers “professional or user-generated video hosted on and streamed via YouTube in the Netherlands.”

Odd, then, that I still come across notices now and again that music has been removed from a clip after complaints by somebody pretending to be a rights holder (typically one of the Big Four). Let’s see how this will pan out in 2010. My guess though: Google will be paying lots of money for nothing in return.

Meanwhile the union for musicians, 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 musicians. He told VPRO’s 3 Voor 12: “Musicians are not against copyright fees, to the contrary. But we do want more flexibility.” For instance the flexibility to decide they want money for certain songs only.

(Still of a video by Orangemaster.)

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