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Music The Almighty Buck

Spanish Copyright Society Raided For Embezzlement 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the under-the-table dept.
esocid writes "Senior officials in Spain's Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE), the country's leading collection society for songwriters and composers, face embezzlement charges in the wake of a Friday raid on the organization's offices. Investigators say Jose Luis Rodriguez Neri, the head of an SGAE subsidiary called the Digital Society of Spanish Authors (SDAE), made payments for non-existent services to a contractor that then paid kickbacks to Neri and his associates. SGAE, the Spanish counterpart to American collecting societies like ASCAP and BMI, is known for its high fees and aggressive enforcement tactics. According to El País, 'the society has been often accused of exceeding its remit by going as far as to infiltrate private weddings to check whether fees had been paid for the music being played at the banquet.'"
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Spanish Copyright Society Raided For Embezzlement

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:03AM (#36679646)

    They criticize pirates but can't keep their hands out of the booty.

    • by dch24 (904899)
      Wait and watch. The worst that can happen is the corporation will take the fall. The individuals will get off free (maybe with golden parachutes) a la SCO.
      • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:31AM (#36679766)

        ...The individuals will get off free...

        Embezzlement is different than excessive executive compensation and is illegal in most places. Note that TFA says there was a raid and that they face "fraud, misappropriation of funds and disloyal administration" and that a High Court judge grilled him for more than four hours over the charges.

        I suspect that they will not "get off free".

        • At least 3 SGAE/SDAE bosses are facing prison charges. Two of them are in prison now (they didn't pay their EUR 300,000 & EUR150,000 bailouts). Another one of remains free for now but he faces charges of up to 10 years for one of the crimes and 12 more for another one --at least.
        • So what you're saying is that the issue is differring views of how a reasonable person might interpret the contract.

          Sounds like a civil matter.

          /IANAFL

        • by Inconexo (1401585) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @02:50AM (#36680348)

          You aren't from Spain, are you?

          Even if it's proved that the used the royalties money to enrichen their consulting companies, I will not bet on they entering prison.

          At least with politicians it is always more complicated than that.

        • Embezzlement is different than excessive executive compensation and is illegal in most places.

          Depends on who does it.

          Here in Luxembourg, the director of a charity (Transfair) affiliated with the ruling CSV party embezzled funds by buying fake services from her husband (who operates a web hosting company). She didn't get any problems from this...

          A couple of month later, a member of parliament of the ill-liked ADR party does the same thing (gets a fake bill from a friend of his who operates an IT business, and gets that bill "refunded" by parliament), and he's sued and it's all over the news.

          Moral

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Moral of the story: if you want to embezzle, be affiliated with people in power.

            The same is true of most crimes.

          • Moral of the story: if you want to embezzle, be affiliated with people in power.

            Just be sure that you don't embezzle from people who are affiliated with more powerful people than those you are affiliated with...or that your embezzlement raises a significant risk of reducing the power of the people you are affiliated with.

    • They criticize pirates but can't keep their hands out of the booty.

      People in all sorts of organizations including many worthwhile charities embezzle funds. This situation might be superficially "ironic", but there is really little other connection.

      • by Inconexo (1401585)

        Except that this association has acted in the last deade with an unlimited greed. They even demanded a play made by disabled people, for they wanted their money.

        In retrospective, being so greedy in their work, it seems easy to guess they would be just as greedy in life, so they couldn't get their hands off the booty.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      They criticize pirates but can't keep their hands out of the booty.

      Making them privateers [wikipedia.org] outside the bound of their letters of marque, then? I say... hang them.

      • by Strider- (39683)

        Making them privateers [wikipedia.org] outside the bound of their letters of marque, then? I say... hang them.

        Might be hard to find a yardarm on their building though...

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      They criticize pirates but can't keep their hands out of the booty.

      The captain's parrot got his claw in the tambourine.

      --

      Avast, nothing to see here. Move along matey.

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      They criticize pirates but can't keep their hook out of the booty.

      Fixed for ya.

    • by buanzo (542591)
      Argentinian "SADAIC" does the same. They appear in parties, weddings, ANYWHERE, and check if fees had been paid. And if you don't settle with them $$$ immediatelly, they call the police to have the meeting shut down. And some artists defend them with all their heart, cause they're SURE they're not getting robbed by SADAIC. Brainwashed. Also, the other day, SADAIC got offended because someone was angry at them about a thing happening here called "taxes to storage-enabled devices, cause they can be used for
  • by Windwraith (932426) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @12:19AM (#36679708)

    This kind of behavior is well-known, and the SGAE and all its branches are known to be leeches by several villages/small cities, they have even disrupted weddings in order to charge people for copyright violation...
    Spain loves to imitate the US, but generally half-asses it, so it's not surprising for a RIAA-wannabe to be such a walking disaster.

    However, despite everyone knowing they are leeches, they still have free action to do as they please. This will have little effect on their activities on the long run.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Flipao (903929)

      Spain loves to imitate the US, but generally half-asses it

      Do you actually know anything about Spain?, because that statement makes no sense.

      Beyond the obvious (Eating better, living longer, having clearly different political, institutional, educational and health systems). Spain's message against Piracy is not "don't steal or else", but rather "protect your culture".

      The SGAE's "business practices" are indeed comparable to those of the ASCAP, only difference being, the justice system over there can actually do something about it.

      • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:43AM (#36680062) Journal

        Do you actually know anything about Spain?, because that statement makes no sense.

        They've been relying heavily on American investment and northern European (little American) tourism since Franco, like all new conservatives, discovered trickle-up enonomics. This is built on the classical Catholic Spain of a few wealthy business-families enjoying special relations with the powers that be. So, I guess you could say that America imitated Spain, did a very good job of it, and then sold its success back to Spain.

        Beyond the obvious (Eating better, living longer, having clearly different political, institutional, educational and health systems).

        This is merely legacy. The direction is to the Amerian system. The EU is fundamentally a corporation of corporations in the American style designed to force its members to transfer state/national control to "free competition" amongst private companies. (These freely selected companies tend predictably often to be the same French or German behemoths.) And Spain's official line is that it loves the EU and should swallow its bait along with hook, line and sinker.

        Spain's message against Piracy is not "don't steal or else", but rather "protect your culture".

        Please justify. Spain is full of self-hate about its recent past while its youth are one of the most alienated in Western Europe. There's a lot of "protect the middle-age who have ridden the first wave of prosperity which ended about 5 years ago", but culture? Nah, fuck culture, everyone in that group was too busy buying second homes until the bottom fell out of the economy.

        the justice system over there can actually do something about it.

        Coming from a common law nation, I am quite scared by the thought of any justice system which consists entirely of a panel of professional judges. However, I acknowledge that Spain's judiciary has remained more impartial than I would have expected over the past half-century - it's not that the very well-connected won't always get off; it's more that fascist fetish for correct bureaucratic process hasn't been pierced. In Britain, law at this level is little more than ex-public school lawyer buddies having a well-paid debating competition while the jury is hoodwinked and the judge grins on.

        • Damn I wish I could give you a +5 informative automatically...

        • by Inconexo (1401585)

          That's unfair! We don't live only from tourism. We used to live of the housing bubble!

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Spain is full of self-hate about its recent past

          The hate comes mainly from people who would like to return to the "good old days" of Franco, and it's not directed at themselves.

          • The hate goes both ways and is fueled and taken advantage of by both main political parties (who ultimately don't actually give a damn about such ideologies when they don't suit their purposes).

            Same goes for the visible heads of the show business, who align themselves with the left parties (the main left party, actually, the one they can reap benefits from) as the cool hip trendy thing to do, while demonizing those that don't. Eg. see what happened to Russian Red when she said that she sympathized more w
        • by ga01 (1964398)
          Best description I've ever read of modern Spain, specially about the justice system. SGAE members are both Editors and authors, its policies are not democratic, and editors privileges and rights are overrepresented over the authors.Their actions has been a National rip-off granted by the last goverments. And what about the King? Is he still hunting drunken bears in Russia?
      • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Windwraith (932426) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:50AM (#36680088)

        Yeah I happen to live there.

        A lot of things are shaped as known trends in the US. It goes from TV to pop culture to business plans, and I have been seeing those since I was a kid, specially in IT where the latest coding trend is the latest coding trend...in the US.

        And, anyway, SGAE's "message" against piracy is about protecting culture. But who is buying that? With the spokesmen they have, it's obvious they are there for the money.
        Also they are the people that made storage media much more expensive with their digital canon, making production more expensive for amateurs out of their "protection". Indie stuff is culture too. And we are not protected, at all.

      • by dbIII (701233)

        Do you actually know anything about Spain?, because that statement makes no sense

        Maybe the poster is Spanish so does not write in US English and used a bit of British slang (half-arsed) there as well - that's why I suspect you can not comprehend what is meant by that sentence while I can. If you do comprehend but just want to show off that you won some spelling bee or something then fuck off and read Shakespear until you understand that perfect spelling and grammar is not really all that important.

        • I absolutely disagree with his post, but in his defense, he is also Spanish (judging from the name) and just happens to disagree with the statement.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          fuck off and read Shakespear until you understand that perfect spelling and grammar is not really all that important.

          Just because in Shakespeare's time spelling and grammar were in a relatively fluid state does not mean that ignoring spelling and grammar now makes you the equivalent of Shakespeare.

          • by dbIII (701233)
            So, what does drawing such a conclusion from such a statement say about your level of reading comprehension? Forget Shakespeare, read anything at all and keep on reading until you get good at it.
    • However, despite everyone knowing they are leeches, they still have free action to do as they please.

      If someone disrupted the wedding of one of my relatives for copyright reasons they would be free to count the teeth they used to have.

      • I'd like to think more people thinks like you. Our freedoms would be stepped on a bit less often.
        Unfortunately hitting such a guy will end with you in trouble, being whistle-blowers, they will probably try to sue.

        • Let them go ahead and sue.

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Let them go ahead and sue.

            It's not America, they won't sue, they'll call the police and you will be convicted of assault and actual/grievous bodily harm (or whatever the equivalent in Spain is). And all because you have a bee in your bonnet about fucking copyright. Good work, mate!

            • It should be easy enough to gather around plenty of witnesses from the wedding guests to say that the other guy started the fight and that you were just acting in self-defence.
            • I have a bee in my bonnet about people spoiling the most important day of a young woman's life, especially for grubby reasons. And it would still be worth it, even if the judge didn't rule mitigating circumstances, which he or she would. Sometimes a good hiding is just what's called for.

    • by VAElynx (2001046)
      Ahahahah... i dunno about Spain, but if they showed uninvited to a Slovak village wedding and tried to stir shit up... i bet that they'd leave with a blue eye and a kick in the arse.
  • by surveyork (1505897) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @01:39AM (#36680048) Journal
    IFPI Boss and CEO Accused of Tax Evasion in Germany http://www.zeropaid.com/news/94106/ifpi-boss-and-ceo-accused-of-tax-evasion-in-germany/ [zeropaid.com] After the SGAE, Germany investigates IFPI and its dome accused of tax fraud http://en.wikinoticia.com/Technology/general-technology/90182-after-the-sgae-germany-investigates-ifpi-and-its-dome-accused-of-tax-fraud [wikinoticia.com]
  • by volpe (58112) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @05:06AM (#36680926)

    It seems to me that SGAE is the victim here. They were the ones from whom money was embezzled. The perps are the senior officials within that organization.

    • by cyberfin (1454265)
      No. The victims are the authors who haven't received their share because corrupt administrators set up unfair payment rules and embezzled their money.
    • by Alioth (221270)

      But it's those very senior officials who want things like Sinde's law (a highly illiberal law to shut down any website suspected of copyright infringement with little judicial oversight).

      The SGAE is an emergent property of the people it is made up of, organizations only do things the people within them do. The very same people ripping off the artists (which is what embezzling SGAE funds is doing) are the very same people pushing for things like Sinde's law.

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