A German copyright outfit might have bitten off more than it can chew by demanding cash from a creative commons dance party.
According to Activepolitic, GEMA is a German outfit which helps event organisers acquire performance rights for music, however it appeared to have been out of its depth when it encountered a dance party which involved creative commons music.
Eight hour dance parties were held in in Leipzig, Germany and simultaneously in Weimar and played exclusively creative commons music.
The organiser told the DJs that they were only allowed to play tunes based on creative commons tracks and dropped a line to GEMA. This was a courtesy detail, but meant that GEMA could not shut down the event, or sue afterwards when it would be difficult to prove that all the content was copyright free.
GEMA told the organisers that to be certain that no rights were infringed, it would need a list of all artists including their full names, place of residency and date of birth. GEMA sent an invoice for 200 euro.
It claimed some of their artists may be hidden and produce things that they would not earn anything from.
The event organiser pointed out that it was impossible to track down that information. Especially with short-lived net-labels and artists that want to stay anonymous.
However, GEMA does not have to do anything. Under German law you are required to prove that an artist is not with GEMA and not that the music was open source.
Even though GEMA probably does not have rights to any of the music, they are not required to prove that they do.
GEMA might have been better off walking away from its 200 euro for this one. In Germany the case is being seen as one of the dangers of allowing Big Content too much power in your legal system. The German Pirate Party wishes to challenge it.