GEMA and Christmas Party
Dear Club Boards,
Because this is a Christmas edition, my article deals with the subject of “Christmas Parties” this time.
In this context, you can often hear the statement that Christmas songs are traditional and therefore free of GEMA charges. This is not so wrong when you look only at the song itself. If the Club sits together and sings, for instance, “Oh Tannenbaum”, then no GEMA royalties will apply.
But it may be different if you play back this song. For instance, some 1200 protected arrangements for “Oh Tannenbaum” are listed in the GEMA repertoire and the playback of those is not free of charge. And, if during the evening only one newer song is played, then the whole party is subject to GEMA. Thus, I wouldn’t count on it that GEMA does not take part at the Christmas Party.
But it depends on the precise arrangement whether the fees for the music at the Christmas party (and all other club parties) are covered by the EAASDC contribution or if additional GEMA fees apply. The fundamental rule is this: everything that is allowed on a club night is also allowed at the Christmas party. For the coverage of GEMA it is actually irrelevant if we only dance to the music or sometimes eat cookies while listening.
But additional fees will apply when not only members but also non-dancing relatives or spectators take part at the club’s Christmas party. In that case it is a “Special Club Night” or a normal “Special” if a fee is charged. Therefore you should decide about the context of the festivities and then register the event accordingly to make sure that you are properly protected.
I wish you very happy and stress free
Translation Claudia Burger
Remark of Editor: usually we don’t translate GEMA issues into English, because the matter is only of interest for German clubs. We did this this time to show you how difficult it could be in Germany to celebrate a Christmas party.