CISAC launches sanctions procedure which could result in ‘expulsion’ of Spanish rights society SGAE

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CISAC’s Board of Directors have launched a sanctions procedure against Spanish rights society SGAE, which could result in its ‘expulsion’ from the umbrella organisation.

The move follows months of discussions between CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers) and SGAE (The Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers) following allegations of dubious business practices at the society, with CISAC having launched an investigation into any potential wrong doing back in February.

CISAC commissioned a 65-page report that included strong recommendations for how SGAE can fix the shortcomings in its administration and distribution practices.

CISAC’s review team has found that SGAE has failed to implement any of its suggested changes.

In the latest episode of the SGAE saga, CISAC’s Board of Directors, including heads of societies from the US, France, UK, Germany, Japan and Canada met in Paris this week and kicked off a formal decision process that will require final approval from CISAC’s General Assembly in May 2019.

The outcome of the process could see SGAE subject to either fines, temporary expulsion, or permanent expulsion from CISAC.

The investigation of the Spanish society is related to a ‘scam’ called ‘The Wheel’, which involves music being played on Spanish TV channels overnight, with the relevant rights-holders subsequently being able to lay claim to the associated performance royalties.

In July, Warner/Chappell, Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG and Peermusic reportedly requested to have their catalogs removed from SGAE.

“This procedure could result in various sanctions and measures, including the expulsion of SGAE from CISAC.”


A CISAC spokesperson said: “CISAC’s Board of Directors, at its meeting of 4th December 2018, discussed the serious situation at SGAE and the society’s breaches of CISAC rules.

“In view of SGAE’s failure to remedy these breaches, the Board decided to launch a sanctions procedure under CISAC’s Statutes.

“This procedure could result in various sanctions and measures, including the expulsion of SGAE from CISAC.”

In 2015 The former boss of SGAE’s digital arm stood accused of orchestrating false payments worth €57,000.