How to Unblock GEMA YouTube Videos
Updated: February 25, 2016
- Start by choosing a VPN and setting up an account
- Next install the VPN software to the device(s) you want to unblock GEMA YouTube videos on
- Open the VPN software and connect to any server that has full access to YouTube, like a US-based or UK-based server for example
- Once connected to such a server, go to YouTube and you will have unblocked all GEMA videos
how to unblock GEMA YouTube videos in more detail:
During my gap year, I decided to travel round Europe rather than follow some of my friends to Asia or Australia. It was history and culture that I was primarily searching for, and to my mind, the best place to seek that out is right across the Pond rather than any further afield.
I went to many beautiful places, but the place that I lingered in the longest was Germany. I knew little about it before arriving but with fascinating and contrasting cities and a huge range of scenery, it really does offer everything. I ended spending about six months there, and loved every minute.
The only real problem I encountered was attempting to keep up with US music. For all the great culture I am still a sucker for the latest pop hits, but what I really enjoy is the choreography and cinematography on display in the videos. As with most people, I use YouTube to watch such videos, so you can imagine my surprise to find that in Germany, many of the video’s I wanted to watch were blocked.
Fortunately, I worked out pretty quickly that to get to see everything I wanted, all I needed was a VPN.
Why are GEMA YouTube videos blocked?
Let me first briefly explain the reason why the videos I wanted to see were blocked. It is all down to a legal dispute between Google (who own YouTube) and the Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte (GEMA) which is not a name that rolls off the tongue.
GEMA is a performance rights organization in Germany that has taken Google to court and won victories that argue that YouTube could have to pay damages in Germany if they host any copyrighted videos on the site without the copyright holder’s permission.
The legal arguments are long, complicated, and ongoing, so I won’t trouble you with them here, but Google claims that GEMA wanted 12 Euro cents per streamed video, which they claim is unaffordable. Whilst the cases are ongoing, YouTube has therefore blocked a lot of content that Google fear could fall victim to such compensation claims. The result is that YouTube users in Germany cannot see a fair chunk of content, which annoyingly for me, is mostly pop videos.
Obviously these restrictions only apply in Germany, so to block users, YouTube uses a technology known as geo-blocking.
How is YouTube Blocking Access to GEMA videos?
Geo-blocking is a technique which involves the streaming site analyzing the IP Address of each user that visits them. Your IP Address includes various details about your internet connection, including where in the world you are.
So when YouTube needs to block access for users in Germany, it simply refuses anyone with a German IP Address access to the content in question. How to get around this? Well the best way is by using a VPN.
A VPN works by rerouting your internet activity via a third-party server located in another country. The IP Address which is then sent to the websites and streaming services you visit is the one from that server, rather than your connection. This means that if you connect to a US server and then visit YouTube, the service thinks you are located in the US and so allows you access to all the content available in the USA, rather than implementing the local restrictions in place in Germany.
It's a simple as that, and if you carry on reading I will show you how to use ExpressVPN to circumvent the blocking of GEMA videos in Germany.
How to Use a VPN to Watch blocked GEMA YouTube videos
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
So the first thing you need to do is sign up to ExpressVPN and you can do this by visiting their website via one of the links on this page.
Once there you will have the choice of a number of different packages depending on the length of time you want to sign up for and your budget. Choose the best package for you and you will then be diverted to their payments page where you can follow the simple instructions to pay for your package.
If you are still a little wary, don’t fret, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.
Once you have paid, you will have to click the link in an email in order to enable your account.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
The next step is to download and install the ExpressVPN software. This is also pretty straightforward. All you need to do is choose the right operating system from the menu you can see below. Then you can follow the simple onscreen instructions to download and install it onto your device.
The software should then open automatically. If not, then open it up once the installation has completed.
Step 3: Connect to non-German Server on VPN
The last thing you need to do is choose which of the ExpressVPN servers you would like to connect to. As long as you pick one outside Germany, it doesn’t really matter which you go for here, but generally speaking it is the US-based servers which make the maximum amount of YouTube content available.
Just click on your chosen server and then wait a few moments for the connection to be established. For example, here's my Android device connecting to a UK-based server location on the ExpressVPN app:
Step 4: Setup YouTube Account
And with that all the YouTube videos which are blocked as a result of the GEMA court proceedings should now be available again.
YouTube is free to watch, but you can of course access it via an account if you want to post comments and so on. If you already have a Google account, this should work for you. Otherwise follow the simple registration process on the YouTube site. There is no cost involved and it doesn’t matter where you are based as everyone is free to join.
And with that the GEMA restructions should be successfully bypassed and, like me, you should now be able to enjoy as many YouTube videos as you like.
Do let me know if you have any comments on this guide, or any questions about how the process works.
And if you are not sure ExpressVPN is the right VPN for you, there are of course plenty of others out there. Below you will see my recommendations for the Top 5 VPNs to watch blocked GEMA videos on YouTube. Enjoy!