Brazil's Music Collection Societies Convicted Of Price Fixing

from the protecting-artists? dept

Almost exactly a year ago we wrote about how Brazil’s performance rights organization, ECAD (which is the trade association for the Brazilian equivalents of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC), was trying to shake down anyone who embedded a YouTube video, even though ECAD already had an agreement with YouTube. Basically, they were trying to collect twice for the same thing. Around that time, it also was revealed that ECAD’s directors were under investigation for providing no information on how it collects or distributes revenue… and then granting its directors huge bonuses.

Now, it appears those were the least of ECAD’s problems, because (as reader Ninja passes along), ECAD and the six music licensing agencies that make up its members have been convicted of being an illegal cartel engaged in price fixing, and told to pay $38 million in fines. The fine is clear that they cannot use money collected for artists to pay this fine.

The details sound like a classic case of price fixing. The leadership of the different organizations would get together in a room and agree to set rates. Investigators even found the pricing tables shared among the organizations. It also didn’t help matters that ECAD had not allowed another organization to join ECAD in 30 years. That spoke to it being a bit of a cartel. ECAD claims it’s going to appeal the decision, but having direct pricing tables shared among different organizations is a tough thing to overcome.

ECAD has also been given six months to basically reorganize its entire performance rights/collections set up so that it’s not illegal, leaving some to wonder how the entire industry may change. This is one of the reasons why we’re less than enthusiastic about efforts that seek to expand the power of organizations like this. Over and over again we see such collections efforts abused, such that artists aren’t actually being helped, but harmed.

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Companies: ecad

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Comments on “Brazil's Music Collection Societies Convicted Of Price Fixing”

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16 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

Hmm, and yet you're indifferent to Google and Microsoft

having far larger rackets (over the same time frame) with monopoly, illegal leveraging, lock-ins, and even cartel practices that excluded others from the market. You’re just not consistent, Mike. — BIG IS EVEN WORSE. Corporations are inherently bad. — As that’s the FIRST fact of modern economics, you must have skipped class that day.

And as fanboy-trolls can’t get past “out_of_the_blue supports copyright therefore he’s totally for greedy corporations and shakedown rackets with never a cent going to the artists”, then I point out that Mike supports copyright TOO, and yet you don’t pin the same assocations to him. Try to grasp some portion of nuances, kids.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hmm, and yet you're indifferent to Google and Microsoft

what the heck are google and microsquishy colluding together on?

What makes you think there wouldn’t be a similar (probably much larger font) article if and when there is any news that google or microsoft is convicted of price fixing or other illegal activity? Your delusions are showing.

Ninja (profile) says:

I happen to have access to a pretty well known musician in Brazil so I managed to have some pretty amazing conversations about this and had the opportunity to understand what THE ARTISTS think about it (via his connections and so on). The fact is that aside of a few examples (mainly the famous ones) most artists HATE ECAD and think the current copyright system is insane. To my surprise they think exactly like me: there should be some sort of protection but it needs to be narrow and sensible. Suing teens for downloading is not something they approve.

The most common worry is not how money is being lost to eventual downloads but how the insanely easy availability is simply alienating people. I explain: they stop caring who wrote or composed the song, they barely take notice of who is actually performing. The worst problem today is attribution of who did what in a performance. I told him about private “trackers” and how they form communities around a determined subject be it animation, movies, tv shows and he found it interesting.

You see, when the MAFIAA and associated morons say they care about the artists, creators we should actually interpret they care about their artists, their creators and even then they care only for those that generate profit for THEM (the MAFIAA structure itself).

In any case, I’m doing my part in raising as much awareness as possible.

Now a bit of curiosity in the case: the case was brought by an association of cable tv operators due to the abusive value ECAD was demanding. I found this ironically amusing 😉

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