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CISAC responds to publishers’ demands over Spanish collecting society

By | Published on Wednesday 14 February 2018


CISAC, the global group for song right collecting societies around the world, has responded to a call by the International Confederation Of Music Publishers that it suspend the membership of Spanish performing rights organisation SGAE.

In an unusually bold statement for the global trade organisation for music publishers, the ICMP said on Monday that it had filed “a formal complaint with CISAC calling on it to suspend SGAE from its membership”.

There have been various controversies surrounding the Spanish collecting society over the years. Most recently the society’s offices were raided by police investigating an alleged scam involving certain SGAE members and some Spanish TV executives. Dubbed ‘the wheel’, the scam involved TV stations playing specific music overnight so that certain SGAE members could claim extra royalties.

ICMP specifically hit out at SGAE last month after representatives from three of its members were barred from attending one of the society’s board meetings. In a letter to the boss of SGAE it added that “we have learned that SGAE is attempting to replace these three democratically elected music publishers with other publishers who were never previously elected by SGAE’s voting members and who might have relationships with the anomalous night music distribution”.

It went on: “We find it preposterous that SGAE would even contemplate replacing democratically elected publishers with those who are now under judicial investigation for their links to the ‘wheel’ practice”.

On Monday, ICMP said in its statement that it “firmly believes that the only way CISAC can comply with its mission of ensuring that its member societies operate according to industry best practices is to suspend SGAE, until the Spanish society complies with basic rules of non-discrimination between creators and publishers and treats national and international authors equally”.

Responding, CISAC this morning said that once it receives ICMP’s formal complaint it will review the matter, noting that the organisation recently beefed up its complaints procedure.

It stated: “Good governance in collective management of authors’ rights is a key priority for CISAC. CISAC is aware of ICMP’s intention to file a complaint against SGAE, takes it very seriously and, when the complaint is formally lodged, will evaluate it under our rigorous governance and best practices rules”.

Noting past concerns raised against SGAE, the global group added: “CISAC has been aware of the concerns voiced over SGAE’s situation in the past and has offered its support in an effort to assist the society’s management in addressing it. Membership of CISAC is, and must always be, a hallmark of trust and legitimacy for all member societies. It is for this reason that CISAC maintains and regularly updates its governance rules for members, and conducts reviews to ensure compliance”.

On its new procedures for dealing with complaints, it concluded: “CISAC also recently established a significantly improved complaints process, which was asked for and approved last year by our members worldwide. This new process helps CISAC promote and maintain the highest standards of professional conduct among authors societies globally”.