An international collective of music publishers have fired a warning shot in the direction of Spanish collection society SGAE – saying in no uncertain terms that if the PRO continues to operate a “scam” dubbed ‘The Wheel’, they will sever ties with it for good.
SGAE has been reprimanded in recent months by a WIPO Arbitration Panel, following allegations that its members hatched a dodgy plan with bosses of Spanish TV networks.
‘The Wheel’ saw music owned by certain SGAE members played throughout the night on some Spanish TV channels – meaning the relevant rights-holders could lay claim to large chunk of the overall royalty payout pool from complicit broadcasters.
SGAE’s offices were raided by Spanish police in June last year following complaints about ‘The Wheel’.
According to global music publishing trade body ICMP, the scam is ‘detrimental to the vast majority of Spanish authors and to all foreign ones’.
ICMP adds that ‘music publishers who have had the courage to take a stand against [SGAE], have had to endure ongoing discrimination and intimidation’.
“ICMP and individual music publishers are being forced to consider unilateral actions. This may include finding alternative licensing options to SGAE.”
Today (June 11), ICMP – whose members include the three major publishers – has publicly told SGAE where to stick its scam, while expressing its frustration over the lack of action from the wider PRO community.
In a statement, the group said: “In light of this situation, which has been going on for years and which SGAE’s governing bodies seem unable and unwilling to solve, ICMP and individual music publishers are being forced to consider unilateral actions.
“This may include finding alternative licensing options in order to protect their repertoire in Spain.”
Furthermore, ICMP has criticized SGAE’s fellow collection societies and, by association, their global umbrella organization CISAC for their inaction over the matter.
“The ICMP Board is concerned about the lack of firm action coming from the collective management community to address the seriousness of this situation,” continued the ICMP’s statement.
In February, CISAC announced that it was investigating allegations related to The Wheel, but the body is yet to suspend SGAE from its membership.
ICMP Chair, Chris Butler (pictured), commented: “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. It’s time for the collective management community to work decisively towards a definitive solution.
“If they don’t, we will have no choice but to look at alternative licensing options.”Music Business Worldwide