As part of the pending copyright reform associated with the legal harmonisation of federal law to the EU guidelines, mostly referred to as the DSM directive, a number of changes will be applied to German legislation. I am generally positive towards most of the forthcoming amendments in copyright law, but there is one paragraph in the drafted bill that perplexes me: Collecting societies, such as the GEMA, will prospectively be allowed to make use of extended collective agreements, which means that they are entitled to exercise rights on behalf of non-member authors who have not granted their copyright management to the collecting society. This poses a problem if authors prefer to use CreativeCommons or other free licences (an integral component in the operational model of the C3S cooperative) or choose not to rely on copyright protection at all. In these cases, authors will have to actively opt out from the ›automatic‹ granting of their rights to a collecting society. Composers and arrangers do not seem to have reacted yet to this enhancement of the so-called GEMA presumption—or, in other words, to the reinforcement of the GEMA’s monopoly status as the only collecting society for musical works in Germany. I feel that this issue should at least be controversially discussed.
It’s been a pleasure to talk to aspiring musicology students and young scholars about the conditions, possibilities, and potential problems in doing a PhD. I’d like to thank the DVSM association of undergraduate musicologists for having me as a guest speaker in their online panel, and for initiating a fruitful exchange of thoughts. Do not hesitate to get in touch if there are further questions!
My current book project is taking shape! The anthology Nikolai Medtner: Music, Aesthetics, and Contexts, edited by Christoph Flamm and myself, is approaching its final appearance. Last revisions are in progress, the engraving of the musical examples is completed, and I am looking forward to the publication later this year at Olms Verlag, Hildesheim. The volume will include contributions by Benjamin Bertin, Benjamin Brinner, Lesley Day, Patrick Domico, Alexander Karpeyev, Kelvin Lee, Kateryna Pidporinova, Nicolò Rizzi, Tatyana Shevchenko, Nathan Uhl, and both of the editors.
You know that something went definitely wrong when you advertise a 4-hour adjunct teaching assignment for minor subjects and get more than 20 applications from three countries, half of them from distinguished artists and scholars with PhDs or other merits. The fact that there are legions of qualified people striving for underpaid jobs at an advanced age is indicative of the system of higher education having developed to a desolate state. For university administrations as employers, it must be highly frustrating to witness their own graduates being subjected to an oversaturated academic job market—and all the more so in times of a pandemic. This system desperately needs to change.
I am astonished at the recent trend in science and journalism to form public coalitions in favour of open debate, namely the Netzwerk Wissenschaftsfreiheit and Intellectual Deep Web Europe (aka Appell für freie Debattenräume). Regardless of the different background of these initiatives, a common stimulus seems to be that certain tendencies in the humanities, such as political correctness and perspectives from gender studies and critical race theory, are perceived as threats to the independency of teaching and research, or even to the freedom of opinion. How is it that some of the most influential figures in academia believe that their essential right to express themselves is being curtailed by illiberal ›cancel culture‹ or ›censorship‹? Do professors and renowned authors really face the risk of being silenced, stigmatised, or morally restricted? I wonder why people who are invited to talkshows or receive awards for scientific communication cannot acknowledge that they belong to one of the most privileged groups in public discourse. They better had a look at countries like Hungary or Turkey where academic and press freedom are truly endangered by oppressive governments, and then judge again if it is appropriate to keep on purporting those tearful scenarios of imaginary menace.