Music broadcast on TV at the gym can easily turn into cost trap. Reason: Several collection agencies, that represent the rights of the played musical artists, go and collect fees. F & G explains the confusing issues with these “collection agencies” and what you can do, about the high fees.
If you as an operator of a fitness center instal and use one or more television sets then you need to be aware that this can attract considerable costs. The reason being that one of the four collection agencies as well as at least one broadcaster are badgering the club owner, for their (public) playback of music via a TV set, for fees.
Most citizens are familiar with the fact that one is required to pay fee’s in form of a licence, for both TV and radio usage, with the GEZ (Gebühreneinzugszentrale – German TV/Radio licensing office), however, many are unaware that various collection agencies, such as VG Media, are also exercising the rights of private TV channels.
Radio/TV license fees
On the one hand, there is the obligation to pay licence fees for television/radio to the respective broadcasters (WDR, MDR, SWR, HR, etc.), regardless of actual use. The licence fee automatically becomes due by Just having a TV set even if the unit isn’t connected to a roof top antenna, an indoor aeriel, a cable or a satellite system (VG Stuttgart, judgement of 17.02.1999, AZ 3 K 3215/98).
Licences are presently calculated via - as of February 2012 - a nominal monthly fee of €17.98 per TV . This fee also includes the reproduction by a radio device and / or a so-called new radio (PC).
As of 2013, broadcasters will adopt the new "radio licence fee" in which it no longer matters what type and number of devices are used. For companies, the broadcast contribution is then calculated based upon the number of establishments, number of employees and vehicles belonging to the firm.
On the other hand there is the obligation to pay fees for the publicly played music through GEMA, VG Wort, GVL and VG Media.
Since the GEMA collects payment for all agencies, the perception arises in many that only the GEMA (Society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights), represents the rights of composers, lyricists, etc., and thus manages compensation.
In fact, however, VG Wort (Collecting Society for the written word, represents the rights of the “word” authors such as writers, screenwriters, etc.) and GVL (Collecting Society for Performance Rights, ie, the company carries out the rights of performers and phonogram producers ), are the actual recipients of the automatically invoked GEMA fees.
The VG Media (Society for the exploitation of copyright and intellectual property rights of media companies mbH with ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG as majority shareholder) has only since 2008 set a tariff for the public use of private television stations (RTL, SAT1, VIVA, etc.) which was the launched into gyms. The collection of these fees also falls under the GEMA’s remit.
Amount of the fees
The remuneration of the individual collecting agencies is as follows:
GEMA is currently charging (Tariff 2012) for the musical performances during playback of television programs, a nominal fee of € 10.56 monthly, € 29.04 quarterly or
€ 105.60 per year.
The contract which binds a gym for a year is reduced by two monthly payments, and a quarterly commitment by one monthly fee.
For large screens and projectors (screen diagonal of more than 106 cm), and depending on the size of the room, are charged at least at least € 335.70 per unit per year.
When using television sets or monitors only with headphones that are integrated into cardio training systems, compensation then depends on the WR-Kh tariff (headphone tariff). Therefore, each headphone i.e. piece of fitness equipment is charged at least € 42.30 per year as compensation.
GVL’s remuneration is calculated at 26% of any royalty-payment GEMA receives.
The fee for the VG Wort is calculated at 20% of the amount of any royalty-payment GEMA receives.
VG Media TV demands – with bewteen one to five devices used - at least € 146.00 per year, per unit(annual contract with GEMA is reduced by two monthly amounts).
When using more than five devices, there is a reduction of compensation depending on the number of units between 5% and 24%.
VG Media currently doesn’t have a tariff for usage of TV over monitors integrated in cardio training systems, however, they are in the process of setting up a new fee structure, similar to the GEMA tariff.
Annual costs for the normal use of a TV set in a studio (with normal use, and not limited to headsets) are as follows:
€ 215.76 license fee
€ 105.60 GEMA
€ 21.12 VG Wort
€ 27.46 GVL
€ 146.00 VG Media
€ 515.93 Total cost per TV per year
This amount may vary depending on the contract (cancel monthly / cancel quarterly / more than 5 TV / membership with a total contract partnership) and differ by about 20% above or below.
When playing music through headphones, the annual cost is € 42.30 for the GEMA plus 26% for GVL and 20% for VG Wort per set of headphones. The €105.60 GEMA fee for the TV is not charged and instead is perpalced with the equivelent headphone tariff.
Change in TV usage
This must, in light of these significant - by playing music with televisions triggered - fees and reimbursement obligations, pose the question, for many operators of fitness centres, to what extent they actually need each device or whether they should change the kind of use, to limit financial obligations to the collection agencies.
For instance, a studio, that only shows public television (ARD, ZDF, all 3rd Channels) or plays their own music videos / DVDs, does'tt need a contract, for the acquisition of the rights, with VG Media. The author of this paper has managed a number of cases - against the wishes of the visiting GEMA staff – ensuring that a contract, for the acquisition of the rights with VG Media, is only required when and if the content, provided by the channels represented by VG Media, is actually broadcast.
The mere possibility of being able to broadcast private television channels, is insufficient for VG Media to levy fees.. Many studios have, because they do not want to give up all the private television stations, come to an agreement with VG Media covering only a potion of the TV sets in a studio.
Studios, that provide their members with headphones to watch TV, should think about reducing the number of pairs of headphones to the number actually used or to stop use altogether. A trend has become clear in recent months; that many gym users hear their own music from their iPod, for example, and don’t actually need or use the music and television offers by the gym. Also, many gym users only look at the broadcast images and do not require headphones because they already want to hear their own music via MP3 player, or even prefer the offered background music.
A gym, that only broadcasts TV without sound and no headphones are used for listening to the broadcast of the television broadcasting equipment, eliminates the fee for GEMA and the VG Wort. In a few cases the GEMA field staff or clerks will insist on charging the 26% fee for GVL and base their calculations on the, here inapplicable, normal GEMA fee structure.
Even the compensation for the rights under GVL could still be avoided if one only broadcasts sports videos, sports channels, as in this case, no rights of performers and phonogram producers need be exercised.
Those who don’t want to pay the license fees must remove the existing equipment or prove that there is no way to receive and thus broadcast TV signals. In this case, playing videos is still possible, however, any fee demands become invalid.
Absolutely no costs are incurred when the radio receiver parts are removed and no audio is playing, no private television stations are broadcast or equipment is exclusively used for sports videos. Or you simply decide to remove all devices from the studio.
Dr. Pamela Meyer Siebrasse
Found an error? Whatever you want to tell us, do it! Here and now! Criticism and advice welcome.