Spanish Recording Industry Lobbyists Sue Professor For Highlighting Its Monopolistic Practices

from the how-do-you-say-streisand-in-spanish? dept

Yet again, we're left scratching our heads at the basic failure of recording industry lobbyists to think about the consequences of their actions. The latest is that Promusicae, the Spanish recording industry lobbying group that is associated with the IFPI (which, itself is associated with the RIAA) has sued Spanish professor Enrique Dans for daring to state, in his opinion, that Promusicae violated Spanish antitrust laws. The blog post in question (Google translation) is actually mostly about the legal troubles of SGAE, the Spanish collection society which was accused of being involved in a massive criminal fraud operation. In the post, he also mentioned Promusicae and how it set up a system that he believes violated antitrust laws in effectively limiting access to radio airtime to members of Promusicae.

In response, Promusicae sued him for "violating their honor," demanding either 20,000 or 50,000 euros. Professor Dans explains the details on his own site (Google translation).

It seems pretty clear that this is nothing more than a SLAPP-style lawsuit -- with the recording industry lobbyists suing Dans to shut him up and to create chilling effects to silence other critics. It's a shameful way of dealing with critics, and, as Rick Falkvinge notes in his story (the first link up top), even if Dans is legally in the right, a court battle is very costly. Again as Falkvinge notes, perhaps it's time for the EU to start setting up anti-SLAPP laws to avoid these kinds of lawsuits as well.

But, more to the point, all this really does is call much more attention to Dans' original blog post from July, and the accusations he made about Promusicae. In what world does an industry lobbyist think that it's a smart move to call attention to a respected professor's blog post that describes some of their questionable behavior? A normal, thinking, individual would either respond directly to the charges with a detailed explanation for why it's wrong, or just let it go away. Suing only makes it worse in almost every way. Not only does it call worldwide attention to this blog post and the claims against Promusicae, but it also will likely make more people look more closely at Promusicae and what it's done... all the while showing off Promusicae lobbyists for the obnoxious bullies that they are. It's really quite incredible. As Falkvinge notes:
Perhaps what amazes me most is that the public backlash to this kind of behavior is as predictable as a grandfather clock. How can the copyright monopoly lobby’s lawyers live in so completely disconnected an ivory tower, that they thought it was a good idea to file lawsuit against a reputable professor for claiming they’re a monopoly, using monopolistic practices – when this fact is not only well-established to the point of being in dictionaries, but even legislated? What kind of survivability would such a parasitic misantropic business have in the wild, if it were not protected by obsolete laws?
Of course, I guess they're thinking that the resulting chilling effects scaring away others from commenting might be worth any backlash. Or they're so focused on protecting "their honor" that they never bothered to think at all. I am curious, of course, how "honorable" it is to sue a respected professor for expressing his opinion? How can you sue someone for violating your honor when you have no honor at all?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    My head hurts...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:45am

    violating their honor?

    I recommend a duel. A joust would be acceptable too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Re: violating their honor?

    Cage Match - with chainsaws and adrenaline injection.

    (Live on Pay-per-View?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    varagix, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re: violating their honor?

    Reminds me of another comment about tilting at windmills... Mayhaps we have a modern day farcical in the works?

    The Misanthropic Misadventures of Don Promusicae?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Don, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    It's personnal

    It seems to me that Promusicae and the RIAA are taking these kinds of things very personally and reacting in such a manner. Otherwise they would take a more tactful approach.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    Funny: Use of SLAPP to defend honor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Joe Escalante (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 8:57am


    There are all kinds of anti-trust problems with music organizations. I'll save you the trouble of reading my boring law review article (Western State U. Vol. 22 No. 1, Fall 1994) and just say this. When organizations create barriers to enter markets, like the market for radio air play, it violates the Sherman Anti-Trust act.
    By charging one price for all music (the blanket license), why would broadcasters mess with people trying to break into the market? It all cost the same.
    It appears as if Spain has some sort of developed anti-trust laws. Let's hope they have anti-slapp motions as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    One can only hope that ProMusicae gets Bitch-SLAPPed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Nathan F (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: It's personnal

    Of course they are taking it personally, he is threatening their easy income.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    ChimpObama McBinLadenBurton, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Freudian SLAPP

    Strange, when I read the name of this Spanish Lobbying group, my mind parsed it as Promiscuae. Then I re-read it and saw that I had it wrong...

    On second thought, I must have had it right, because it appears that they like fucking a lot of people.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    MrWilson, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:48am

    The Emperor's New Monopoly. He actually isn't naked. He's wearing a suit made out of all of your money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    JayTee (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    For some reason I kept reading their name as "Promiscuous" the whole way through this article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    had politicians in all countries, not just the EU done the jobs they were entrusted with, instead of allowing themselves to be bought by industries and corporations, this type of disgraceful behavior wouldn't happen!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Say what?

    Am I the only one to have first read "Promusicae" as "Promiscuous"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    crade (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:02am

    These guys don't seem to play for public opinion and only seem to give it token attention.. they play by going over the public's head and trying to make sure the public can't do anything about it. They probably want to prevent this being acknowledged officially and couldn't care less what people actually "think" about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    crade (profile), Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:05am


    Also, we definately need a "violated my honor" law here!

    It might put an end to all the dueling going on...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Grover, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 11:19am


    Its going to be immensely enjoyable watching Promusicae self destruct over this.

    /gets out the popcorn

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    uh, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    he only said the best-seller lists are just bogus, what´s the big new?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2012 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Say what?

    No, I read it that way too. And then I thought: How can your honour be violated when you gave up that honour long ago?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Ninja (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 6:12am

    No surprises here, the MAFIAA has been shooting itself in the feet with nuclear bombs regularly for a while now. Just another chapter in the history of a dying industry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    firefly (profile), Mar 28th, 2012 @ 8:58am


    I've noticed the copyright maximalists are so afraid of that apt word that they really can't think straight when it is uttered. Makes sense though. Given a choice between a monopolist and a pirate, which do you think is the more politically damaging term? Especially since the public can recognize (or read in the US Constitution) that copyright maximalists really are monopolists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Lou Nisbet, Mar 29th, 2012 @ 4:19am

    Lou Nisbet

    Are you being ironic Mike? You can't understand that lawyers work FOR MONEY? That bad lawyers will accept any case FOR MONEY? The lawyers get paid - win or lose - it's all win-win to them for THE MONEY.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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