23 August 2005

Stoned! The Difference between Copyright and Rights in Performances

According to the BBC website, the German Christian Democrats led by Angela Merkel has adopted the Rolling Stones’ classic “Angie” as a theme tune at party election rallies. The problem is that the Stones’ agents, LD Communications, complain that they had not been consulted. The BBC article reports that a Christian Democrat spokesman had obtained a licence from GEMA ("Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte") the German copyright collecting society, roughly equivalent to our PRS-MCPS alliance. That’s fine as far as it goes but the Stones are performers and as such enjoy rights in their performances. That right is quite different to, and distinct from, copyright. Rights in performances are licensed by another collecting society, the GVL ("Gesellschaft zur Verwertung von Leistungsschutzrechten mbH"). If there has been an oversight somewhere along the line the German Tories (or are they nowadays closer to New Labour) would not be the first to have made it.

Related Links

Guardian Unlimited
'Angie' hits wrong note with Rolling Stones' David Smith 21 Aug 2005
'Rolling Stones gather no Dross' Jamie Wilson 23 Aug 2005

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