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Website of music copyright watchdog GEMA hacked

The Local · 22 Aug 2011, 17:17

Published: 22 Aug 2011 17:17 GMT+02:00

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Members of the hacker group Anonymous said on Monday they had disabled the GEMA website in order to send a message to the organization.

GEMA has been locked in a battle with Google for months over royalties for music videos on YouTube, which the US web giant owns. Instead of being able to watch the videos of many popular artists on the site, YouTube users in Germany often see messages saying the videos are blocked.

The hackers ironically played off that by slapping a message on the GEMA website similar to the one now seen on contentious videos on YouTube. Anonymous said the site was “unfortunately no longer available (not only) in Germany” because GEMA was hindering the "right to freedom."

GEMA said it had not yet determined how the hackers had gained access to its website, but the portal Gulli.com reported internet activists had discovered a key security loophole. It is not the first run-in with hackers for GEMA. The group’s website was hit by a denial-of-service attack in June.

GEMA has faced widespread criticism in Germany for its approach towards collecting royalties for musicians. The funds it collects are distributed via a complex formula to 60,000 composers, authors and music publishers who may or may not actually have songs on YouTube.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:57 August 22, 2011 by yourholiness
Its great that german artists have a strong performance rights organization. Unfortunately GEMA favors the larger commercial copyright owners and virtually ignores credit for live performances to independent artists such as Rock & Jazz composers. Perhaps its a good thing that Germany's music mafia gets some blowback, it might teach them to have a little more respect for their performing artists.
18:02 August 22, 2011 by toemag
I cannot say that his makes me sad, as I have been getting more and more annoyed at friends and family in the UK sending me a link, that then doesn't work... One of the links were of several of my old unit who were having a NAAFI break (Pub crawl) and there was some song on in the background, not to mention the Karaoke clips of my mates murdering one song or another while on the same said pub crawl :-)

I even called them and tried to explain that they were the only people in any country in the world who were doing this, which the woman on the phone denied and said its the same all over the world, so I asked her to name the English equivalent of their organisation which she couldn't, so I asked for the name of any other countries organisation that are controlling the web ensuring that copyrights are not being infringed upon, and she couldn't...

So I said China does and she said oh yes China, my and their work was now putting us on par with a country like that.... She then asked me to send an email with my gripe(s)...
18:51 August 22, 2011 by Ettanin
Here's a clean translation (By me, a German, you can trace this with my IP address, admins):

This website is unfortunately not available (not only) in Germany, because it may direct to a company for which Anonymous did not admit the rights of freedom.

We're sorry. Not!
21:48 August 22, 2011 by starsh3ro
Ettanin's translation is correct.

well im not sure if i agree with anonymus's actions, but fore sure its annoying if you want to watch music videos and they are mostly blocked.

they would drive better if they add comercials to all videos.

less annoying for the user and more profitable for the companys.
23:15 August 22, 2011 by toemag
Your translation maybe correct, but explain why all my mates in the UK can watch the important (for me) clip's???
05:03 August 23, 2011 by CaSimone

Goons Extorting Musical Artists

Get Easy Money Association

Giving Everyone Major Aggravation

Nothing like this in other civilized countries, so add liars to the list too.
08:09 August 23, 2011 by arunpaul
GEMA internet's GEZ!!!
09:50 August 23, 2011 by Asgarli
yesssssssssssssssssss! :D
21:13 August 23, 2011 by charlenej
Can I "like" this story or will some German Bürgermeister stop me?

I loathe GEMA so this story made my day.
23:33 August 23, 2011 by MrBowlocks
I have never understood how the GEMA get away with it. I've always lived from playing music, but these people make it harder and harder. Some friends played a gig for 'Drogen Prophylaxie', a State subsidised organisation in Baden several years ago. The event was a success and several hundred Euros were raised for a good cause, until the GEMA stuck their oar in and literally cleaned out the kasse with their frankly outrageous 'pauschal' charges (calculated on the floor area of the club, including the toilets!). The fact that all songs played were originals from the English band, and the event was for a worthy cause, GEMA walzed off with the cash and there was nothing anybody could do about it. Needless to say, the band who wrote and performed the songs never saw a penny! Legalised theft!

Also, the GEMA destroyed the Irish Pub live music scene in Germany, where I and many of my contemporaries learned our trade.
10:36 August 24, 2011 by Asgarli
@MrBowlocks I would say they can get away with it cause we live in German society - thats the only place where organization like GEZ would exist - charging for POSSIBILITY to watch public TV
13:28 August 24, 2011 by yourholiness
Looks like GEMA needs to hire a few consultants about their image problem.
00:12 August 26, 2011 by mobiusro
It's online again... :(
21:40 August 26, 2011 by LauraJerry
GEMA totally deserved this!!
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