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Offices of Spanish collecting society raided

By | Published on Monday 4 July 2011

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The HQ of Spain’s publishing rights collecting society – so the country’s equivalent of PRS For Music – was raided by the Spanish police on Friday.

Officers were investigating allegations that the Society Of Authors & Editors, or SGAE, has been misappropriating funds. According to local media reports, nine SGAE employees were taken in for questioning, including the organisation’s president Eduardo Bautista, while the homes of some of the rights body’s execs were also searched.

According to El Pais, the allegations relate to the Digital Society Of Authors, a subsidiary of SGAE that deals with digital rights. It’s thought the police investigation stems from a complaint made over three years ago against the digitally-focused part of the society by a consortium of web and IT firms. Billboard note specific allegations against the boss of the digital division, Jose Luis Neri, who is accused of diverting society funds to a company called Microgenesis.

Like its counterparts in other countries, SGAE has been pursuing various new revenue streams from within the digital domain, and caused particular criticism from digital firms by extending the recordable media levy that compensates for private copying to digital devices. If any dodgy dealings are proven at the society, it will certainly hinder its efforts to win political support for more enforceable digital rights.

For its part, SGAE issued a statement this weekend saying it was collaborating with the authorities in their investigations, and that it believed its executives were innocent of all charges. It added that the organisation had not yet been given an official reason for the Madrid police’s raid of its offices.



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