Crowdfunding finished
C3S: The fair alternative to European collecting societies.
The initiative behind the Cultural Commons Collecting Society (C3S) has committed itself to founding a fair and flexible alternative to GEMA. Working hand in hand with creative professionals and music lovers, the C3S will support musicians in improving their livelihood – without threats and intimidation. We want a digital alternative with a fair distribution for all. We will register a European cooperative, offering full voting rights to every member – not just to those better off.
117,578 €
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 C3S: The fair alternative to European collecting societies.
 C3S: The fair alternative to European collecting societies.
 C3S: The fair alternative to European collecting societies.
 C3S: The fair alternative to European collecting societies.
 C3S: The fair alternative to European collecting societies.

About this project

Funding period 7/14/13 1:51 PM - 9/30/13 11:59 PM
Start level 50,000 €
Category Music
City Düsseldorf

Project description show hide

What is this project all about?

A transformation of the deadlocked situation in the musical and cultural world can only be achieved with a second, alternative option alongside the GEMA – a fair alternative.

This is what we want to achieve together with you. We will therefore organize the C3S as a European cooperative. A real community. A community, acting in a social, open and democratic way. With a cutting-edge, digital basis.

We have waited for a long time for a change within the GEMA and for an improvement in support of independent musicians. A change in favor of a digital music industry, and society as a whole. But neither the GEMA itself, nor politics, or the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA, the GEMA's supervisory authority) can alter the situation.

We therefore need a new, fair and flexible collecting society. A better one. A competitor.

That's the road to the promised land.

We need 50.000 EUR in order to keep the project alive. With 200.000 EUR we will be able to permanently employ the first developers.

In order to be approved as a collecting society, two main issues must be substantiated:

*** The C3S must acquire members: We depend on your support. With one or several cooperative shares you become a shareholder of the C3S – as a musician, who utilizes its services, or as a sponsor, who can give support and advice. We need ca. 3.000 members, and especially a repertoire that is economically relevant, in order to fulfill the requirements of the German Patent and Trademark Office.

*** The C3S must be able to handle accounting and administration. We therefore need the financial means to employ developers. You can contribute a large part through the crowdfunding. At the same time we will be able to apply for additional public funding – but this will only be successful if we are able to already provide evidence for the basic means, which is what can be achieved by the crowdfunding. Ee may be eligible for additional funding from the European Union. Then, the C3S will have made the transition from a vision to reality.

It is possible to found a collecting society. The negotiations with the German Patent and Trademark Office proceeded well. All political parties understand the necessity. But nothing will happen unless someone dares to take the first step.

In other words: The C3S needs 3.000 members. Then we will have made a great step forward. Be one of the 3.000 and make history!

How to become a part of C3S

1. You pay for your share online (see the tab on the right, next to "Rewards" and "Donations".).
At you can participate in our crowd investment campaign. You are free to define the number of shares to buy and to choose your preferred method of payment. Your payment is securely transferred to a trusted account of Fidor Bank AG, partner of our trustee Startnext Network GmbH.
2. Please fill in the declaration to join and send it to Startnext Network GmbH.
To puchase your shares please fill in the form and send it to our trustee Startnext Network GmbH. As soon as the cooperative will have been founded and registered, you will be sent a notification confirming you officially joined. for your own safety, you once again have to sign this notification.

Not earlier than by receiving this notification you will legally become a member of C3S. At this point, and not at any time before Startnext is allowed to transfer the amount you paid for your shares to the cooperative. This procedure allows for avoiding any liability for you.

Deadline for submitting the declaration to join: 31st October 2013

Statutes (draft):

German version:

English version (due shortly, please keep following the crowdfunding blog at ):

The statutes' final version will be send to you when registering for the founding.

For all rewards please note:

All cost of travel & accomodation have to be paid by you. From 1st Oct 2013 on, C3S will try to arrange for all dates. We are aiming at having all promised services finished & fulfilled by 1st February 2014.

What is the project goal and who is the project for?

The C3S will benefit all:

... the musicians, who will earn a better livelihood.
... the creative users, who can legally contribute to our culture – with remixes and mashups.
... the music lovers, who can share more music legally
... the society, which is able to understand more easily again what is allowed and what is not.
... the music startups, in order to strike out in new directions with new licensing models – with new earning opportunities for musicians.

Why would you support this project?

The GEMA, as well as every other collecting society, needs a competitor. A fair alternative that develops new concepts - without wearing ideological blinkers, using input and assistance from all sides.

Many things will not be able to be changed directly by the C3S, for example the GEMA tariffs for Christmas markets and other public events. But competition sets developments in motion.

For musicians, especially independent artists who work alone or in a small team, the acceptance of new licensing models will hopefully create new income opportunities.

Music, which until now can only be discovered in niches of the internet, can in the long term be played and billed as easily as every other kind of music – for the benefit of the musicians and the pleasure of the listeners.

Everyone who offers support in form of services as a part of this crowdfunding does it for free. All of them want to support C3S and they pass on any remuneration: Tim Renner, Luci van Org, Zoe Leela, Sascha Kösch, Marcus Scheltinga - any of them.

Our advice to GEMA members:

You are very welcome to join us – we are open to all.

Support us as sponsoring members and wait until the licensing procedure at German Patent and Trademark Office has been concluded. Then we are able to take care of your rights - and you may decide whether you want to leave GEMA or not.

But we need your support and your knowledge. And you will get acquainted with us and find out what you are getting involved with.

Then you can decide whether you will entrust us with the licensing management of individual, or all, usage types.

Comparison: Objectives of the C3S versus status of the GEMA.

C3S aims at giving musicians freedom on how to handle their works:

C3S: Full voting rights for all music creators.
<> GEMA: Full voting rights only for top earners.

C3S: The creator is supposed to be free to choose the songs to be administrated by C3S, as well as he should be free to choose the licence type.
<> GEMA: Every member has to administrate all of his music at GEMA, no exception allowed. All musical works of a member have to be licensed as all rights reserved.

C3S: C3S will cut deadlines allowing to quit as short possible, one year is supposed the maximum. Extracting single songs from C3S' administration should be possible without long deadlines as well - depending on technical and practical constraints.
<> GEMA: The deadline to quit GEMA is set at three years, except for online rights.

C3S aims at an improved livelihood of musicians and an extension of revenue models:

C3S: Distribution of 100% licensing revenue to low-income artists.
<> GEMA: It is not clearly evident how the distribution of the licensing revenue amongst the members is executed.

C3S: Integration of social media, micropayment and donations to artists.
<> GEMA: We do not know of any other collecting society that integrates income options via social media and micropayment or crowdfunding for its members.

C3S: Use of modern technological solutions, enabling a profit distribution that is exact to the greatest possible extent.
<> GEMA: Solutions that enable music recognition and exact accounting are not used. Most play lists of a large number of broadcasters are not counted out.

C3S aims at integrating with and talking to music lovers, fans and users:

C3S: Integration of users who create their own works on the basis of already existing songs (remixes, mashups).
<> GEMA: Users are subjected to written warnings: the concept and the tariffs of the GEMA do not acknowledge those who use already existing songs for the creation of new music as being participants in the cultural process. But only those who are creative themselves will be able to appreciate the value of music.

C3S: Communication and continuous exchange with users, fans and listeners, in order to maintain a “down-to-earth” attitude.
<> GEMA: Music users are not acknowledged as equal partners in the development of new ideas or tariffs.

C3S aims at simplying licensing for small businesses and the music industry:

C3S: Comprehensible tariffs and billing mechanisms.
<> GEMA: Tariffs are often unrealistic (DJ tariffs) and, due to their large number, can hardly be applied without special counseling.

C3S: Automated, accurate billing and comfortable processing for licensees.
<> GEMA: Use of paper lists or non-representative partial recordings for the calculation of the distribution to the artists. The evaluation of the recordings is done by GEMA employees.

These and other targets of C3S match the suggestions of EU:

DRAFT REPORT on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market:

C3S: A pan-European project as a long-term international alternative to already existing national collecting societies.
<> GEMA: Together with the collecting societies in other countries, music catalogs are managed with inefficient, repeated procedures – although the internet knows no borders. The European Union is seeking for European solutions, but the existing collecting societies try to prevent changes from happening.

How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded? 

The money goes to the financing of the technological infrastructure, which means that jobs are created, especially for developers.

Why is the infrastructure so expensive? We place great value on safe, protected and largely automated processing. The annual personnel costs of the GEMA amount to 65 million Euro in 2012 alone. Converted to the number of members, this means about 1.000 Euro for each GEMA member. Per year. With only one of these annual budgets, the complete infrastructure needed by the C3S could be implemented several times. And this is a one-off high expenditure, followed by much lower maintenance costs per year.

The automated capture via audio fingerprinting, player plug-ins and play lists makes procedures easier, according to the standards of our time and the wishes of those who use music (private persons, clubs, broadcasting stations, DJs, event organizers etc.). There will be less control personnel monitoring the compliance with obligations. Instead there will be an environment that makes licensing easier and more comfortable. The “black sheep” will nevertheless face control mechanisms, which also work mathematically and technologically.

It must also be taken into consideration that the following expenses have to be deducted from the money gained through the crowdfunding:

*** Expenses for the rewards (up to 10%).
*** Expenses for the use of the Startnext platform for the trustee service, transactional fees incl. credit cards, PayPal, contract verification, contracting and premium advisory services.

Plus taxes.

Who are the people behind the project?

Having met at music conference all2gethernow (a2n) at Berlin the year before, m.eik, Wolfgang and Michael Weller followed an invitation of Creative Commons Germany to a conversation with a GEMA representative in early 2010. Our attempt to convince GEMA to integrate Creative Commons licenses failed.

However, the meeting was to become the foundation stone of the C3S: After talking to the legal adviser of the German Patent and Trademark Office, m.eik, Wolfgang and Michael decided on the very same day that they wanted to found the C3S – as the best and only way towards a positive change.

The e.V.

For a long time, the registered association e.V. has dreamed of a fair alternative to the GEMA. The OpenMusicContest (, from which the registered association emerged, showed the difficulties in communicating and interacting with the GEMA. The activities of the association therefore shifted from the organization of the event to becoming the supporting association for the Cultural Commons Collecting Society.

The Cultural Commons Collecting Society is an independent initiative. The C3S is neither a part of, nor connected with, Creative Commons. Just like other associations and corporations, the C3S asked the Creative Commons organization for advice in order to co-ordinate the C3S's concept of the integration of Creative Commons licenses with the Creative Commons guidelines .

Introduction of the team (in alphabetical order):

* Danny Bruder :: Artist Ambassador :: (Music Producer, Artist & Activist :: Berlin)
* Zoe Leela :: Artist Ambassador :: (Artist & Net Activist :: Berlin)
* Joachim Losehand :: Spokesperson Austria :: (VIBE!AT :: Vienna)
* Tanja Mark :: Marketing :: (werbefreiheit | Marketing Consulting :: Eltville)
* m.eik michalke :: Cultural Politics :: ( e.V. | Charperson & Artist :: Dusseldorf)
* Christoph Scheid :: Software & IT Administration :: ( e.V. | Deputy Chairperson :: Marburg)
* Holger Schwetter :: Research & Funding :: (University of Kassel | Music Scientist & Artist :: Westerkappeln/Osnabrück)
* Wolfgang Senges :: Business Development :: (Strategic Consulting in Music & Media | Freelancer :: Trier)
* Meinhard Starostik :: Economical Law :: (Judge at the Constitutional Court of Berlin & Lawyer/Chartered Accountant :: Berlin)
* Michael Weller :: Copyright Law :: (Managing Director European Academy of Computing in Law & Lawyer :: Merzig/Saarbrucken)

A very heartfelt thank you to Karan for translating this monster of a text! ;-)

… and to a team of more than 50 active supporters.

Advisers include:

Prof. Dr. Carsten Winter (Hochschule für Musik Theater und Medien Hannover)

Project updates

9/24/13 - <p>Liebe Fans &...

Liebe Fans & Unterstützer_innen, Asche auf unser Haupt. Es hat einfach zu lange gedauert - aber trotzdem gibt's noch eine Vorschau für unsere T-Shirts. Warum's so lange gedauert hat? Das dritte T-Shirt mit dem Slogan. Jetzt haben wir's aber. Hier könnt Ihr die Designs sehen: Liebe Grüße Wolfgang

8/24/13 - <p>Liebe...

Liebe Unterstützer, Hola! Gruß aus Buenos Aires vom Creative Commons Global Summit. Wer sich Einführung in die C3S anschauen möchte, findet die Präsentation (leider ohne Animationen) hier: Macht weiter so - das Feedback hier war großartig. Das sieht nach neuen Teams in neuen Ländern aus. Danke! Wolfgang (auf Auslandsmission)

8/14/13 - <p>Wir haben im Laufe der Zeit äußerst...

Wir haben im Laufe der Zeit äußerst viel Presseresonanz auf unser Projekt erhalten. Hier einige der letzten Beispiele: De:bug (14.08.) Interview bei Radio Unerhört Marburg mit Wolfgang Senges (13.08.) Interview im Deutschlandfunk mit m.eik michalke (12.08.) venue music (12.08. incl. einiger Updates) Interview Radio Ö1 mit Joachim Losehand (05.08.): (Achtung! Wird in Kürze gelöscht.)

8/12/13 - <p>Liebe...

Liebe Supporter, wir starten jetzt in die Phase der Projekt-Updates und halten Euch künftig auch ein wenig auf dem Laufenden, wo es Lesenswertes zum Projekt gibt. Den Anfang macht allerdings eine eigene Pressemitteilung, die sich auf unserem Blog wiederfindet: Euer Team der C3S

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