The Wheel of Royalties 

The Wheel of Royalties

The global music publishing community is putting increased pressure on the controversial Spanish song rights collecting society SGAE, stating that publishers may be forced to find other ways to license their rights in the country.

Image credit:   Gavin Whitner

Image credit: Gavin Whitner

SGAE has been the subject of many controversies in recent years including an alleged scam titled ‘the wheel’ that incorporated royalties paid by TV networks and alleged that SGAE members had colluded with executives at Spanish TV stations in order to collect a disproportionate amount of the TV royalties. The scam chiefly involved TV stations playing music by certain SGAE members overnight, so that those members could claim a portion of the broadcasters’ royalty payments.

This incident resulted in an investigation by the World Intellectual Property Organization following action by the International Confederation Of Music Publishers that suspended SGAE’s membership until it dealt with the controversy.

In a recent statement, the ICMP said: “Despite having been reprimanded in recent months by a WIPO Arbitration Panel, the international publishing community and the international community of collective management organizations, the society is returning to its inappropriate and unbalanced television broadcast distribution scam by rejecting the decision of the WIPO Arbitration Panel to which it is bound”. ICMP has also expressed concern about “the lack of firm action coming from the collective management community to address the seriousness of this situation”, which is presumably a coded dig at CISAC. 

ICMP Chair, Chris Butler, has stated firmly that: “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”.

We hope you've enjoyed learning about The Wheel of Royalties! How do you think the World Intellectual Property Organization and the International Confederation Of Music Publishers should handle the continued saga of "the wheel?" Join the conversation below!