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Nightclubs pull plug in license fee protest

Nightclubs pull plug in license fee protest
Photo: DPA

Up to 600 clubs and bars in Germany will turn off the music for five minutes on Saturday in protest at plans to increase music licensing fees.

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Just before midnight DJs across the country will step back from the decks for five whole minutes and turn reveller's attention to the plans that GEMA – the organisation which handles music royalties – wants to charge venues more money.

People in the entertainment business are worried that the increase will force clubs to shut down, Die Welt reported on Friday. More than 195,000 people have signed a petition for GEMA to reconsider their plans.

The idea is to put ten percent of the entrance fees from all pay-in clubs towards the musicians whose tracks are being played inside.

Berliners have already come out in force against the idea and 5,000 gathered in protest on Monday.

In Hamburg, Social Democrat (SPD) politicians are pushing for GEMA to reach a compromise with the disgruntled party people.

“They need to reconsider the plan and speak with club owners,” said a spokesman for the Hamburg state branch of the SPD.

“We want to put the pressure on GEMA,” said managing director of the national association for discotheques and dance venues, Stephan Büttner.

An arbitration board in the patent and trademarks office is to discuss the new tariffs with the aim of reaching a decision within a year.

The Local/jcw

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