Spanish Collection Society Threatens Legal Action Against Group That Favors Copyleft & Creative Commons Music

from the the-attack-on-alternative-models-continues dept

We’ve already covered ASCAP’s really misguided attack on Creative Commons and others who support allowing more choice and options for artists. When I was recently in Germany, I was told repeatedly that the situation there is much worse, with the collection society, GEMA, not allowing musicians who are members to even give away their own music for free (multiple musicians showed me their secret websites that offered free music, which they couldn’t promote to publicly, or GEMA would go after them — again, for offering their own music for free). It’s really amazing how much these collection societies are against giving artists real options.

The latest example comes to us via Paul Keating, who alerts us to the situation in Spain, where the collection society SGAE is making a series of legal threats against the organization EXGAE, which promotes things like “copyleft” licenses and Creative Commons licensing. SGAE claims that EXGAE is infringing on the trademark on their name — even though it certainly seems like most people can tell the difference — and is especially pissed off that EXGAE mentions SGAE on its website. The key issue, it seems, is that SGAE says EXGAE is using SGAE as a “smear reference” and “undermining the reputation of the SGAE.”

This seems like pretty blatant bullying. Trademark doesn’t mean that no one can use your name without permission. And, if pointing out that there are alternatives to the way you do business is a “smear” and “undermining your reputation,” you probably have bigger issues to deal with.

Once again, we’re left wondering: why are so many collection societies afraid to give the musicians they claim to represent choice and options when it comes to licensing their works? As Paul also pointed out, it’s pretty amazing when you think about the comparison. The industry regularly puts out misleading and false claims calling people “pirates,” but EXGAE discusses more options for artists, and they’re told to shut up or face legal consequences.

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Companies: exgae, sgae

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Comments on “Spanish Collection Society Threatens Legal Action Against Group That Favors Copyleft & Creative Commons Music”

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Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

Collection Societies Can Only Work In A Monopoly Situation

In a monopoly situation, they can count on an automatic presumption of guilt on the part of those they’re collecting money from. But if artists have a choice of representation, then suddenly the onus has to shift to the collection society to prove that it was the works of its members being used, and not somebody else. They can’t afford to do this in each and every case, so their whole business model falls apart.

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