Germany has now joined a number of other countries – including the UK, Finland, and Canada – that now require a digital DJ license. The license, which was created in an effort to curb piracy, requires digital DJs to pay a fee for every song they copy to CD or USB that they intend on playing out. For example, if you bought a track on Beatport, or were sent a promo copy of a track from a fellow DJ, you would be required to pay a fee to GEMA, the organization behind the license. Even if you do not play the track, carrying it with you on a USB stick would be enough to require you to pay the fee. Luckily, only tracks copied within Germany will be affected by this.
The fees start at 0,13€ and package deals are available for 50€ per 500 songs copied. The real problem with all of this is the fact the money from the license fees does not go to the artists. Since performers do not submit to GEMA which tracks they are obtaining the license for, there is no way of getting even a portion of that fee to the necessary artists. The whole thing screams of greed and just is another point of contention for those against anti-piracy organizations. It is unsure as to how the law will be enforced, as it does not go into effect until April 1st, so only time will tell. Germany – a country who’s dance roots run decades deep, seems like an unlikely place for such a law. We need to keep our fingers crossed that the law does not play out as well as GEMA officials hope and that it won’t be used as an example for spreading similar licensing laws to other countries. If we find any more information after the law goes into effect, we will keep you posted.
If you speak German and want to help us out with some of the fine print we may have missed, you can view the document here.