Head Of Spanish Music Collection Society Facing Corruption Charges

from the well-look-at-that dept

Spain is one of a few countries that actually has had pretty sane copyright laws lately. Unlike other places, it has generally felt that private, non-commercial copying of content is legal, and has also rejected the idea of placing liability on third parties. And, despite claims to the contrary from the legacy entertainment industry, there’s still great content coming out of Spain (I keep getting great, new music from Spanish bands which, yes, I do pay for). However, it’s been interesting to watch the big Spanish music collection agency SGAE, flail around in this environment. In its effort to go after some file sharing sites, it actually pretended two of its employees worked for the courts, and “raided” the homes of people who worked on file sharing programs. As you can imagine, that’s a big no-no, and SGAE was fined. It also tried to take legal action against a competing upstart group, that was pushing for more open/copyleft/Creative Commons licensing of music.

And now comes the news that the head of SGAE, Teddy Bautista, is being sought on corruption charges (Google translation from the original Spanish), as a part of a massive investigation into corruption (original Spanish) in the very setup of SGAE.

Maybe, instead of trying to use questionable legal means to attack everyone else, SGAE should have been focusing on getting its own house in order.

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Comments on “Head Of Spanish Music Collection Society Facing Corruption Charges”

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57 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“Spain is one of a few countries that actually has had pretty sane copyright laws lately.”

Incidentally, they have seen the financial success of their local music and movies tank at a rate far in excess of any other developed nation, while piracy has soared unchecked.

Mike Masnick in favor of policies that promote piracy at the detriment of IP business?

I’m shocked.

cc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah, citations are for losers. And since I’m one of those losers, I’ll still ask you for citations when you pull “facts” out of your asses.

And if you link me to a report published by the SGAE or their close circle of friends, I may link you back to this article that shows exactly how corrupt and full of shit they are and ask for a more impartial source.

Citations are the foundation of academia, believe it or not. No citations in your work will cost you your reputation, bad citations will probably cost you your job. I only wish lawyers had to play by those rules.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

[citation needed]? As if you care about any reference contrary to your pro-piracy belief system?

Spain in particular came under fire for a “culture of state-tolerated apathy towards illegal file-sharing”.

“Spain has the worst piracy problem of any major market in Europe. In 2009, no new Spanish artists featured in the top 50 album charts, compared to 10 in 2003,” said Kennedy. “It’s getting to the stage where it is nearly irreversible.”

The IFPI said investment was drying up in new artists in Spain, and that sales of Spanish artists’ albums fell by two-thirds over the last five years.

“Spain runs the risk of turning into a cultural desert,” [Wells] said. “I think it’s a real shame that people in authority don’t see the damage being done.”

The decline of music/movie production in Spain concurrent with disproportionately elevated piracy is pretty well established.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jan/21/music-industry-piracy-hits-sales

cc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“This ‘investment’, I assume only count major labels…?”

Precisely. If the IFPI isn’t blatantly lying, and since they are a lobbying organisation they probably are, that’s the only data they would have to share.

Notice, however, that Spain is possibly the top contributor of CC-licensed music to sites like Jamendo (we’re talking thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Spanish bands).

It’s not that there’s no music coming out of Spain, it’s just that a lot of Spanish bands have decided to drop the copyright industry and adapt. Of course they wouldn’t go on the IFPI’s Top50, but if they can still reach an audience outside the IFPI’s reach, why shouldn’t they?

cc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“Are they making any money?”

I don’t know, but if they aren’t then why do they still do it in such numbers and why are they not backing the IFPI’s lobby for more copyright laws?

“More than they do in a nation with less piracy?”

Such a comparison is impossible to make without making a lot of vacuous guesses in the process. I’ll just leave it to the lobbyists.

Also, note that your question is completely irrelevant. The purpose of copyright is to incenivise publication for the public’s benefit. Copyright is NOT a race about which country can make special laws to give away more money and privileges!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Copyright guarantees the exclusive right to be paid for distribution of the work in question to the creator.

Only the copyright holder has the right to choose whether they should be paid or not by those who choose to appropriate their works.

If no one wants it, no one gets paid. If everyone wants it, it’s up to the creator how much to charge.

Not complex.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

Copyright guarantees the exclusive right to be paid for distribution of the work in question to the creator.

Copyright guarantees the exclusive legal right to be paid for distribution of the work in question to the creator.

There, fixed for you. And it applies whether you deserve it or not. “Deserve” has nothing to do with it.

cc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

That’s not the purpose of copyright, it’s a statement of how it tries to achieve its purpose. Copyright’s purpose is to incentivise artistic publication for the benefit of the public. If at any point copyright expansion starts encroaching the rights of private individuals, then copyright needs to give. End of story.

What terrifies you and the IFPI is that Spain’s approach to non-commercial copying may actually be working. If Spanish artists can create and continue to embrace new business models, while they still make money without slaving away under greedy middlemen, the idea will eventually catch on!

Just imagine a world where copyright lawyers and lobbyists are no longer needed and lose their jobs! Isn’t it neat? ;P

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Depends on the country.

U.S.:
Quote:

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts” was the first stated purpose of U.S. copyright. The U.S. Constitution ratified in 1788 proposed to do that “by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The first U.S. copyright law, passed in 1790, protected books, maps, and charts if they were created by residents or citizens of the United States. The term of their exclusive right was a mere 14 years, with the right of renewal for 14 more.

Source: http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA158872.html

Quote:

Understanding the root cause and the dangers of this shift requires exposing the most fundamental and most common misconception concerning the underlying purpose of the monopoly granted by our copyright law. The primary purpose of copyright is not, as many people believe, to protect authors against those who would steal the fruits of their labor. However, this misconception, repeated so often that it has become accepted among the public as true, poses serious dangers to the core purpose that copyright law is designed to serve.

Source:http://www.open-spaces.com/article-v2n1-loren.php
http://www.educause.edu/Resources/ThePurposeofCopyright/161881

For the rest of the world the justification for copyright is:

Quote:

The purpose of copyright and related rights is twofold: to encourage a dynamic creative culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.

Source: http://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/

Some people just like to divorce the second part of the purpose of international copyright apparently, most importantly it is not about control in the hands of the author but a means to get something back to live a dignified existence it doesn’t say to protect profits, it doesn’t say to protect revenues, it doesn’t say absolute control of the works.

Geolocations restrictions restrict widespread use of the works and serve only to inflate the prices those not making it affordable for many.

Nicedoggy says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Quote

First of all, the purpose of the copyright system is to secure the protection of the rights of authors and the rights neighboring thereto. Second, its purpose is to pay due regard to the fair exploitation of cultural products such as works, performances, phonograms, broadcasts and wire-broadcasts in giving the protection to authors, etc. And consequently, the ultimate goal of the copyright system as in the Copyright Act of Japan is, maintaining the fair balance between the interests of authors, etc. and those of the general public, to contribute to the development of culture. cf. Article 1 of CAJ

Source: http://park2.wakwak.com/~willway-legal/kls-c-e.outline.01.html

Other Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_copyright
InfoWorld Oct 7, 2002: Ahead Of The Curve

Adam says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Spain has the worst piracy problem of any major market in Europe. In 2009, no new Spanish artists featured in the top 50 album charts, compared to 10 in 2003,” said Kennedy. “It’s getting to the stage where it is nearly irreversible.”

Do remember there’s plenty of bands out there that sell crap music and never make it into the charts either. Seems like a poor correlation at best.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

” In 2009, no new Spanish artists featured in the top 50 album charts, compared to 10 in 2003,”

What in blind f*ck does that prove about “piracy”? There’s still a top 50, right? There’s still records being sold, right? Why does the fact that there’s far less homegrown bands in the chart mean it’s down to piracy? As Mike said, there’s a lot of good music coming out of Spain, it’s apparently just not being sold as well as American/British/Latin American imports. Why do you think that’s down to piracy rather than the hundreds of other possible factors?

Either way, do you have any citations that contain actual figures, rather than the assertions of a journalist? Also, what about other types of sales – the article only refers to album sales – what about singles, concert sales, etc? We all know that album sales are dropping, but that sure as hell isn’t just down to “piracy” – unbundling’s the major reason for that.

For the record, the article you cite is headed by a mention of Spotify, one of the few subscription services actually available in Spain, and to which I subscribe in Spain. It’s probably the least well served major market in Western Europe, with limited overpriced digital sales, an atrocious postal service that’s unreliable for physical online purchases and very few retailers that sell physical CDs (mostly supermarkets and department stores – I don’t know where my nearest specialist store is, and my nearest physical outlet is about 20 miles away – i.e. not worth the effort).

In the Spotify app, you can list the top 50 albums by country. The top 6 albums at the time of writing are by Shakira, Don Omar, Bruno Mars, Pitbull, Maldita Nerea and Rihanna. That is, half the top 6 albums are in English and there’s only one homegrown Spanish artist (Maldita Nerea). Given that this is based on legal listening by subscribed users, explain again how piracy is the cause of the industry’s woes?

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:

Plus, if it’s legal in Spain, you don’t get to call it ‘piracy’.

The problem with this perfectly logical assertion is that the typical copyright maximalist approach is to escalate rather than back down, so instead of calling it ‘piracy’ they’ll just start using another catchphrase like ‘music terrorism.’

Anonymous Coward says:

Backwards

In its effort to go after some file sharing sites, it actually pretended two of its employees worked for the courts, and “raided” the homes of people who worked on file sharing programs.

Usually, record industry groups think the government works for them, not the other way around.

That Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Backwards

Maybe they took a page from the BREIN playbook.
Its not like BREIN has done their own “investigations” then demanded the police act, only for the courts to discover that BREIN was playing very loose with the real facts. Or BREIN being handed evidence from ongoing cases, or admitting they have taken a laptop from someone merely accused of a crime. Or showing up and making demands to have servers handed to them with no court backing….

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Fined??? WTF???

In its effort to go after some file sharing sites, it actually pretended two of its employees worked for the courts, and “raided” the homes of people who worked on file sharing programs. As you can imagine, that’s a big no-no, and SGAE was fined.

What?

Fined?

That’s it?

From the sounds of it, some SGAE folk are guilty of, at minimum, break and enter here, and if they “seized” any “evidence” in that so-called “raid”, burglary. Because that’s what it is if you’re not actually law enforcement acting on a valid warrant and you bust in some guy’s door and remove computers from his home.

So …

Fines?!

Someone should have been facing jail time over that.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No, but it puts a huge dent in the so-called transparency at woik in the “collecting of monies owed for performances, in public, of copyrighted music”.

Note that Mike at no point in this article said what you’re claiming. Impersonating Law Enforcement is a BAAAAAD idea, akin to trying to smoke whilst covered in napalm.

These shitheels should have been behind bars for 5 years – but apparently predenting to be coppers gets less of a rap than smoking the ganja. Nice justice.

Nicedoggy says:

About ignoring copyrights and other IP laws here is one good quote.
Quote:

?The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.?

Source: Ayn Rand

Of course she was talking about something else but still, if someone wants to really do something, then is not who is going to let him but who is going to stop him, and when it comes to copyright I’m afraid the answer is no one, because no one has that kind of power anywhere in the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

?The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.? Source: Ayn Rand

Notice the “me” part of that quote. For other people, her attitude was more along the lines of ?The question isn’t who is going to stop you; it’s who is going to let you.?

Ayn Rand is a good example of the hypocrisy of the IP world. She liked to talk the talk about individual freedoms, but when it came to benefiting herself she was a BIG believer in government granted IP monopolies.

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