• Germany's news in English
 

Royalties agency GEMA kills off senior tea dance

Published: 21 Feb 2013 14:30 GMT+01:00

The Hotel Sportforum in Kaarst-Büttgen, near Düsseldorf in North Rhine-Westphalia, used to host the afternoon tea dance to which up to 35 pensioners would come to dance to live swing music, played on a piano.

With free entry as long as each dancer spent at least €4.50 on drinks or buns, the afternoon had, according to regional newspaper the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung become popular among seniors in the area.

But last July the party was cancelled after GEMA, the German association responsible for collecting royalties, said that the hotel was not paying enough. A representative spotted a poster advertising the free event and smelt a rat.

It demanded Hotel Sportforum pay €150 a month – three times more than what it was currently paying. For a small hotel, this was too much.

GEMA said an institution had to pay music fees no matter whether they were using it for a good cause - just like electricity bills.

Elderly people “should dance, preferably every day but the owners of the music also have a right to get paid,” Gabi Schilcher from the company told the newspaper.

Hotel owner Susan Losseff expressed her disappointment in GEMA and said that “the tea dance was a meeting point for elderly people and it was really only about meeting up and having a chat.”

Many of the guests lived alone and Losseff said she and the pensioners were determined to figure out a way to get the afternoon swinging again.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:01 February 21, 2013 by Wrench
F"cking Gema strikes again! What a bunch of useless asses.
15:13 February 21, 2013 by raandy
This organization is out of control. The people who "smelt the rat" are a good example of the moron mentality they exhibit.
15:16 February 21, 2013 by rosenthalenglish
Gema-Attacking,pensioners,kindergartens and anyone having fun near you.This organisation is really a menace and has got out of control.
15:58 February 21, 2013 by catjones
Maybe if everyone would just hum the same song, then everyone could dance to the same beat.

gema found the perfect home in the stasi-type mentality of germany. Funny, you don't hear about this problem in other countries.
16:26 February 21, 2013 by Englishted
What if the music they are dancing to is by artist who are dead there is a chance ,who do these idiots give the money they extort too? and what percent do they take for this public service?

I hate GEMA does have a Facebook page join I have.
17:34 February 21, 2013 by BobbyBaxter
It didn't know it was possible for me to HATE an organisation as much as I do GEMA. For me they respresent everything bad about the authorities Germany.
19:09 February 21, 2013 by frankiep
In other countries they have a name for a despicable organization like this: the mafia
19:29 February 21, 2013 by The-ex-pat
All they have to do is ensure the composer has been dead for 70 years and GEMA can go forth and multiply as the copyright will have expired.....Life of the artist plus 70 years.
20:38 February 21, 2013 by MaKo
You know, they remind me just ever so slightly of another despised organization: the Taliban.
21:06 February 21, 2013 by lucksi
Chances of me being affected by the Taliban: One in several million

Me being affected by GEMA: Daily

I know who is higher on my hate scale...
22:00 February 21, 2013 by AuslIndien
Really pissed off with GEMA. I agree the artists should get their fair share, but this was crossing the lines. As people here already mentioned, what about the artists who have already passed away? Does GEMA ensure that money reaches their kin?
22:56 February 21, 2013 by wood artist
I don't claim to be good at composing swing, but if some others want to try...and I'd certainly join in...we could give them some tunes, admittedly not the ones they're used to hearing, and literally just "give them" the tunes. A lot of us are more then willing to tell GEMA to shove it.

For those who might have followed my personal story with them, no, they still won't tell me who's claiming copyright on my stuff on Youtube.

wa
23:32 February 21, 2013 by wethepeople2012
I wonder if the hacker group "anonymous" can help GEMA's website.
00:06 February 22, 2013 by belladons
This is another lobbying agency, connected to politicians, to get rich. What a waste of time and effort, but boy do they attack your pocket book. No wonder the world is screwed up.
01:31 February 22, 2013 by marimay
If only there were as much outrage about those who steal music through illegal downloads.
01:32 February 22, 2013 by wood artist
Considering that most of the great composers during the swing era are likely dead, I wonder where GEMA is sending their royalties. Maybe they just go to "administrative costs."

wa
09:12 February 22, 2013 by Firmino
Do GEMA even give any money to artists?
10:06 February 22, 2013 by charlenej
Why is it as soon as I cross the border I have access to all kinds of music LEGALLY and only here is it a problem? These artists who come from all over the world outside of Germany posted their video themselves (or their label did) on YouTube but Germany is protecting them from themselves??? I don't understand.

I hate GEMA. Lord knows, if anyone ever wanted to organize a protest, I would be there selling T-shirts. We should seriously do something.
11:50 February 22, 2013 by LarryLaffer
GEMA, every day GEMA: http://i866.photobucket.com/albums/ab228/L_Laffer/Region_zpsb2d79ce9.png
22:47 February 22, 2013 by Knservis
I just wanted to respond to people wringing that this only happens in Germany. Wrong! Intellectual property mafias have a complete disregard for proportion and human rights such as privacy over commercial interests, in every country the operate. Eg. Us: DMCA, France: three strikes, Australia: read about the men at work case, internationally: region codes and geographic prohibition of services. We have allowed the content industry to do that.
17:21 February 23, 2013 by Harlan
In the USA you can have three seperate groups demanding music fees.
18:28 February 23, 2013 by MrMiyagi10301
I can't imagine ANY artist wanting this all-pervasive agency ensuring their own creations are *blocked* from being seen (???) - for example on any music artist's official youtube page, which I can see anywhere else, but is blocked here? How is that protecting the artist? And they're blocked for popular music but not for select other genres? Laughable. Although the recording industry has not gone this far in the US, there have been similar stories (suing single mothers for tens of thousands of dollars for what their *kids* downloaded - kids - to be held up as a public "example"). This sort of "powertrip" has been a direct cause of continued decreased record sales. No, record industry, it's not because everyone's still downloading music, it's because everyone *despises* you to the very core of their being. GEMA sounds positively Machiavellian.
13:29 February 27, 2013 by Brummie in the Sauerland
.....................Gemastapo
16:01 February 28, 2013 by princigalli
F*****g psychopaths at GEMA, but I ask myself why Germans tolerate this.
Today's headlines
Belgium, Netherlands probe BND spy claims
Photo: DPA

Belgium, Netherlands probe BND spy claims

Belgium and the Netherlands have launched probes into claims of widespread espionage by Germany, which is accused of helping the US spy on Berlin's closest allies in Europe, officials said Friday. READ  

German women have World Cup in their sights
Germany are among the favourites. Photo: DPA archive

German women have World Cup in their sights

After getting their hands on the world cup in 2003 and 2007, the German women’s national team are trying to make it three out of the last four this summer in Canada. READ  

Munich headteacher: 'Atheists are stupid'
"I don't need to justify it because it's in the Bible". Photo: DPA

Munich headteacher: 'Atheists are stupid'

A head teacher at a state school in Munich is attempting to introduce a strict Christian regime by hanging crosses in the classroom and holding daily prayers. He's within the law, but parents and pupils are beginning to resist. READ  

Baby ducks shut down Autobahn traffic
Stock image of baby ducks running. Photo: DPA.

Baby ducks shut down Autobahn traffic

Police officers and a fire fighter crane were called in to rescue five orphaned baby ducks on Friday, stopping autobahn traffic briefly to escort them to safety. READ  

Taliban release German hostage in Afghanistan
The region of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Photo: DPA

Taliban release German hostage in Afghanistan

An employee of the German International Development Agency (GIZ) has been released from captivity in northern Afghanistan after being taken prisoner by the Taliban six weeks ago. READ  

Cameron and Merkel sing from same hymn sheet
Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Cameron arrive at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Cameron and Merkel sing from same hymn sheet

Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron presented a newly united front at a Berlin press conference on Friday, after their first meeting where the UK premier set out his demands for reform of the European Union. READ  

German industry: Brexit would be ‘disastrous’
Photo: DPA

German industry: Brexit would be ‘disastrous’

The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) have told the BBC that if the UK were to leave the EU it would be disastrous for both countries. READ  

At last, Germany has a new Top Model
Vanessa is over the moon. Photo:DPA

At last, Germany has a new Top Model

Everyone can breath easily again. Despite a delay of two weeks due to a bomb threat, Heidi Klum has finally been able to choose Germany’s next top model - a 19-year-old from her own home town. READ  

Steinmeier: corruption poisons football
Steinmeier had harsh words for FIFA. Photo:DPA

Steinmeier: corruption poisons football

Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that if world football can't clear up "poisonous" corruption, state bodies need to step in, amid a graft scandal engulfing governing body FIFA. READ  

Greece eclipses G7 meeting in Dresden
G7 finance ministers in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Greece eclipses G7 meeting in Dresden

Debt-wracked Greece's battle to hammer out a deal with its creditors dominated a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in Dresden on Thursday, with officials insisting much work still lay ahead. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Fassbinder's blaze of glory
Rhineland
Defusing Cologne's giant WW2 bomb
Travel
1,000 years of Leipzig
National
Cops have nothing to go on after ministry toilet theft
Sport
The hidden history of FC Bayern Munich
Technology
In future, we may all be scraping drones off windshields
National
The 65-year-old who gave birth to quadruplets
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,699
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd