Spain Copyright Executive Claims $50k Brothel Bill Was For Work-Related Activities

from the sexpensive dept

When you write about as many different people, groups and organizations as we do here at Techdirt, you occasionally forget to check in on some places and people occasionally. Take SGAE, for instance. It’s the Spanish music collection group that has made a name for itself chiefly stealing money from artists, epitomizing corruption, and generally behaving like pain-in-the-butt asshats whenever given the opportunity. We haven’t checked on SGAE in about three years or so, so I assume the group has completely turned itself around and are now a shining example of above-board behavior?

Pedro Farré, the former head of corporate relations at the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) was handed a 30-month sentence after the National Court found him guilty of embezzlement and faking work-related documents. The judge said Farré had withdrawn cash during his jaunts to brothels, and then created “completely false” receipts, supposedly for services such as “catering” for SGAE clients which he later handed in to his employer’s accounting office to claim the money back. These were submitted alongside genuine receipts to avoid arousing suspicion, the court heard.

Look, let’s give some credit where credit is due: it takes a supreme set of testicles to turn in $50k worth of receipts for money spent at whorehouses and try to write them off for reimbursement. On the other hand, I don’t think it disqualifies Pedro from the corruption championships, either. And let’s keep in mind that money fraudulently extracted as SGAE overhead for banging hookers is taking more money out of the hands of artists in a very real way. Why do these collection groups that represent artists always seem to have so much disdain for them at the same time?

Anyway, once caught, Pedro copped to what he’d done, came clean, and faced the music like a man. Nah, just kidding, he totally tried to make up another ridiculous, but hilarious, excuse.

[The judge] also slammed the copyright expert’s claims he had visited the clubs to see if there were any rights issues in terms of the music being played there. During the trial, the former SGAE executive even argued he had been framed by a detective and journalist named Cervero who was unable to appear as a witness during the trial because of serious heart problems.

The presiding judge, however, dismissed those claims as well.

But, your honor, I was only visiting the brothel to make sure none of them were playing unlicensed music to their whores. Not the most convincing argument, sir. Keep it classy SGAE.

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Comments on “Spain Copyright Executive Claims $50k Brothel Bill Was For Work-Related Activities”

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Anonymous Coward says:

all courts need to realise and act on the realisation that every time there is a ‘copyright related’ court case, those who are giving evidence on the side of the alleged copyright owners, are fucking liars, particularly in countries where the infringement punishments have rocketed. this is simply to try to stop the owners from having to pay out to keep going to court, and in the hope that those accused and ultimately convicted will receive sentences that put others off from infringing. everything else is totally ignored and as those passing sentence are sometimes members of the entertainment industries, they will always rule in favor of the industries!

Scote (profile) says:

“But, your honor, I was only visiting the brothel to make sure none of them were playing unlicensed music to their whores. Not the most convincing argument, sir. “

I dunno, given that collection societies really do send people around sneaking a listen to hair salons and truck drivers the claim isn’t as outlandish as it ought to be.

Anonymous Coward says:

the Lana Del Rey solution

He should have saved his money. Let’s not forget that this is an industry where aspiring female stars are known to do whatever it takes to get a leg up on the competition, and high-horned men in positions of influence (or even just pretending to be) have long taken advantage of their situation.

Just ask Lana Del Rey how the system works.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well of course he needed to not only visit the brothel, but pay for all it’s ‘services’! You never know what kind of music they’re playing in back rooms when they ‘service’ you.

And we all know people don’t go to the brothels for the ‘services’ they offer. No, they go for the music that’s played while they get ‘serviced’!

Anonymous Coward says:

They’re not even bothering to be subtle about it anymore.

For one, we’re talking about people who will readily dedicate resources and time to fleecing a guy who plays music privately to his horses.

For two, we’re talking about people who will readily fuck over other people.

For three, we’re talking about people who will jack up the numbers to make it seem like they really need the ridiculous sums of money that they’re demanding from other people.

Bearing in mind the fact that copyright assholes rarely suffer any repercussions, this case feels more like the exception than the norm. They’ve grown so brash they could probably get away with murder for copyright if they could find the right judge to oversee their case.

And the sad thing is that average_joe and LAB will still be fervently defending these practices no matter how toxic they are.

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