Allegation of fraud against Spanish music collecting society results in arrests.
The offices of the Spanish music collecting society SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores) have been raided by police following an investigation by the Anticorruption Prosecutor. According to a report in El Pais, the police entered the SGAE offices last Friday and staff were locked out while police went through computers and documents. The chairman of the board, Eduardo ‘Teddy' Bautista was
arrested along with other directors of the association.Bautista lobbies in Brussels on behalf of the European alliance of collecting societies known as GESAC. The outcome of the Spanish prosecutor's investigation could therefore have consequences in European policy-making fora.
The Spanish prosecutor was
acting on a complaint which dates back to 2007, made by the Asociation de Internautas. The prosecutor opened a formal investigation in March 2010. The allegation against the SGAE directors is that they set up a web of small companies which they used to filter off money from the collecting society funds. If these activities were judged to be for their own personal gain, then it would count as fraud or embezzlement.
The prosecutor has stated that such activities are not compliant with the colecting society objectives of distributing money to the authors and artists who comprise its membership, and that Senor Bautista, as chairman, would have had to have had knowledge of these activities.
The SGAE put out a press release yesterday saying that the directors who had been arrested, were now released, and that it is co-operating fully with the police and the public prosecutor. The SGAE has also pleaded for the presumption of innocence to hold good until the Prosecutor's investigation is completed.
The SGAE represents music composers and song writers. It is the Spanish equivalent of the PRS for Music in the UK, SACEM in France and GEMA in Germany. It is a member of the European loybbing group known as GESAC. Among other things, GESAC lobbied for copyright enforcement measures in the Telecoms Package.
El Pais, 1 July 2011, Detenidos Teddy Bautista y otras ocho personas en la operación contra la SGAE
Please attribute this article: Monica Horten (2011) Spanish police raid copyright society in fraud probe http://www.iptegrity.com 5 July 2011 .
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