More Financial Scandals Involving A Collecting Society: Remind Me Again Why They Are Credible Representatives Of Artists?

from the maybe,-just-maybe,-they-are-not dept

If you've been reading Techdirt for any time you'll know that copyright collecting societies have a pretty poor record when it comes to supporting the artists they are supposed to serve. Sometimes, that is just a question of incompetence, but often it veers over into something worse, as happened in Spain, Peru and India. TorrentFreak has some interesting news about an audit of the Greek collection society (AEPI). Initially, AEPI was reluctant to hand over the relevant documents to allow the audit to take place, but here's what has just emerged:

The final report, obtained by Greek publication TVXS, reveals a capital deficit of around 20 million euros, which according to the publication means AEPI cannot meet its obligations.

Despite that notable shortfall, key members of AEPI's management team have been getting paid rather handsomely:

AEPI's CEO alone received an annual salary of 625,565 euros in 2011, more than 52,000 euros per month. This figure has prompted outrage in local media.

Strangely, though, the actual artists that AEPI is meant to represent aren't doing quite so well:

According to the audit, AEPI’s IT system tasked with handling royalty payments was incapable of producing a report to compare royalties collected with royalties being paid out. But artists were certainly being short-changed on a grand scale.

"By Dec. 31st 2014, the undistributed royalties to members and rightsholders amounted to 42.5 million euros, and have still not been awarded to members," the Greek newspaper EfSyn notes.

A further post on the TorrentFreak site, this time concerning the former head of anti-piracy at the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), shows that there are problems with money in other parts of the copyright industry:

"BPI can confirm that a former employee, David Wood, was dismissed for gross misconduct in December 2015," a BPI spokesperson told TF.

"BPI has referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police who are investigating. As investigations are ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment in any more detail at this stage.”

TorrentFreak sources indicate that very large sums of money are involved in the dispute, running well into six figures. Precise details have proven impossible to verify (the BPI declined to comment) but we understand the numbers involved are "significant".

Given that this kind of thing has been happening all around the world for years, you really have to wonder why these organizations are still allowed to put themselves forward as the legitimate representatives of the artists they serve so poorly.

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Filed Under: artists, collection society, copyright, corruption, pro, scandal
Companies: aepi, bpi

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  1. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 29 Mar 2017 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: How many more times are you going to attack copyright by way of stories about greedy skimmers, mostly lawyers?

    **It's ancient as human creation, simply recognizing personal achievement and common law of "I made it, it's mine."**

    So much wrong...

    Copyright is actually a recent development given that we've got about six thousand years of recorded history. It's not even a thousand years old.

    Copyright does not recognise personal achievement at all. It merely reserves to the artist or creator the sole right to make money from their work "For limited times." Therefore it does not confer, nor does it recognise any kind of property right in the actual work, though the rights to the work can be bought, sold, or otherwise transferred. If I recorded myself burping that would be automatically copyrighted per the letter of the law. Achievement unlocked?

    As for "I made it, it's mine," I make a lot of things every day in the course of my job. I use email templates and wording I've developed myself which are, per the letter of the law, copyright. Per my employment contract the actual copyright resides with the company. I made it, it's my employer's and is a condition of the job. I can't ding my employer for royalties if colleagues use my Screwfix email template and there's no point at all in claiming credit for:

    _Good afternoon,

    please find attached PO XX for quote no. Axxx.

    Tradecard: XXXX

    Please deliver to XX FAO XX/Our engineer XX will collect the item from Screwfix XX._

    Help yourself, it makes no difference to me. If I made email templates like the one above and tried to sell them I doubt I would get very far. Copyright revenues depend on market demand. If people don't want to buy your product in the first place, no amount of protectionism will make them shell out. QED, your argument is invalid. Now run along. You're making a fool of yourself. Again.

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