SEDA, the new copyright management entity created by musicians who left the SGAE, denounces that by incorporating the repertoire of their authors previously managed by SGAE, they have found a series of irregularities in the registration of the works that cause them not to perceive in the distribution the amounts that correspond to them.
These types of errors are incomplete information, defects in the documentation of authorship and wrong distribution percentages, both by excess and by default. These irregularities date back to the 90s and up to the present, according to the documentation that elDiario.es has been able to access.
The singer-songwriter Rosa León, one of the founders of SEDA, has found that her song I was a mother to see pass, from his album Women From the year 1992, it is attributed to his name but with an identifying number that does not correspond to him, so he has not received rights in the distribution for that song. SGAE, like other management entities grouped in CISAC, assigns a number called IPI (Information on Interested Parties), which serves to internationally identify a natural or legal person who participates in an authorship of a work.
This same problem has been found in the 2015 record of the songs of the mythical group from the late 70s Negative, which were passed through the SGAE window for a current vinyl edition of what at the time were nothing more than mockups. All the songs were recorded at the same time and with the same information but one of the authors, the drummer Luis Jiménez, finds that it appears in a song with an IPI and, in another, with a different one and the order of its name altered. For this second, she does not receive rights and is also the most famous of the group, since she was part of the film by Rapture, by Iván Zulueta, directed by the brother of the Negativo singer, who died three years ago.
The IPI system was created in 2001. Previously, entities used the CAE number, developed by the Swiss rights management entity. If an author uses heteronyms, he can have different IPI numbers and still collect all the copyright that corresponds to him. In the aforementioned case, Rosa León, with a single surname, has a number assigned while the same author but with two surnames (Rosa León Conde), has a different IPI. However, the singer-songwriter assures that she is not receiving copyright for the song I was a mother to see pass and that this is an IPI that it does not recognize. The SGAE has gone through different computerized systems to process records in its many decades of existence, so that all kinds of errors can accumulate, especially in the oldest repertoire. The entity must be vigilant to correct the errors that jump in the distribution, but also the authors.
Luis Martín was the drummer of the group Los Ronaldos and has also passed his repertoire to SEDA. He has found five songs registered in 2019 that he does not recognize, as is the case with the theme YUP Black Light: “I have been assigned works in which I have not participated. It may be that my name is very common but my IPI is unique and it is the one that appears in those songs,” he explains. In this case, you are collecting 15% on the copyright of that song.
According to the SGAE Regulations, an author cannot register the co-authorship of a work with another author if he does not incorporate the latter’s signature. Martín is sure that he did not sign these songs, so it must be a computer error in assigning the rights to those five songs.
In the same sense, Rosa León has found a 7.94% co-authorship in a song with the name “undeclared.” Although according to Article 126 of the SGAE Regulation, records are not allowed where a co-author is missing, they do admit them when it comes to music for audiovisual works, which is the case of this song.
Irregularities with publishers
Music publishers, which are also members of SGAE, are companies, generally owned by the record companies themselves, to which the authors assign part of their rights to manage them. It is usual for this part to be the legal maximum, 50%. Another of the SEDA authors, José María Guzmán (belonging to, among other groups, Cánovas, Rodrigo, Adolfo and Guzmán) has found that in his song Help me From the year 2000, the two editorials that share 25% each appear as “incomplete registration”. This means that when the work was registered, the score was not provided.
The same has happened to another partner of SEDA, Bernardo Fuster (of the Suburbano group) who has found that the song Come to me, composed for an episode of the Fernando Colomo series The girls of today premiered by TVE in 1991, it has never received the percentage that corresponds to the Lucas Ediciones publishing house, of which it is co-owner, due to the same problem, which it did not know until it had devoted itself to studying its records. “You trusted that it had arrived and you did not look at it”, explains Fuster, remembering that, in the past, “the authors have not worried much about these subjects – it says, including itself – and thus it has left”. “We did not do it because it was not our main source of income, part of the fault is ours for not having controlled those who managed our money,” he adds.
The requirement of the score, which SGAE eliminated on December 1, 2020, is not retroactive, so any song without it generates an incomplete record in the case of the publisher and therefore they will not receive rights until it is presented. Instead, the author will perceive them. The company gives a period of five years to correct registration errors. From there, all the money that the work has generated backwards will be irrecoverable for the author or the publisher. This money goes to the “pending identification” fund and, if not claimed, will be used for assistance activities, promotion, financing the entity to compensate for private copying and proportionally increasing the distribution of other works.
However, until before 2011, these funds passed entirely to the social functions of the entity. And, between 2014 and 2019, they began to proportionally increase the distribution. If the SGAE is in the red or you have debts with the Treasury or Social Security, you can also allocate part of that money to alleviate that situation. This is one of the reasons why the SGAE never goes bankrupt, although it remains dangerously close to it.
The volume and management of the pocket of “pending” has been a controversial issue for the authors and the entity for years. According to the audit carried out to the SGAE on the accounts for the year 2019, it had 85.7 million euros pending identification. That year 28.3 million euros entered that fund and left (they were identified and could be distributed to whoever corresponded), 9.1 million. In addition, the company has a small provision fund to deal with claims over prescribed periods, of which it spent approximately half a million euros in that year.
According to the entity’s Transparency Report, the reason for these claims is usually the omission of specific data in the information provided by users when registering a work. In each year, by prescribing those five years for claims, a part of that bag goes to swell the accounts of the entity. In its budgets for 2021, SGAE expects to incorporate 10 million euros for prescribed rights. This pocket of prescribed rights also includes the rights identified but not claimed when 15 years have passed since the distribution.
In the song erroneously attributed to Luis Martín, a line appears as “unknown publisher”. Doing a search in the repertoire of the SGAE, hundreds of thousands of songs with “unknown publisher” appear. This is an error that does not affect the distribution and that is caused by the incorporation into the repertoire of international works that come from the Anglo-Saxon intellectual property system, based on the copyright, different from Spanish. By default, the documentation that comes from those countries assigns 50% of each work to an unknown publisher, who then in the file for that work must determine who or who they are.
Patacho Recio, president of SEDA and former member of the Glutamate Ye-Ye group, has found his IPI code and his real name —Manuel Recio— as a “substitute editor” in a song from 1985 that he does not recognize at all, entitled Slow Gold and which appears to belong to jazz musician Dave Holland. According to Recio, when trying to incorporate the catalog of the authors who sign with his entity, 10% of errors have appeared: 200 works with irregularities of the 2,000 that SEDA currently manages. “The scope is difficult to see, so I believe that the Ministry of Culture should open an audit,” he values, adding that all these errors have already been made known to the General Secretariat of Culture. SEDA is informing its members that it will not be able to incorporate works “with incomplete or defective information” into its repertoire.
Among the information that he has transmitted to the Ministry is also “medleys titles in process” as the name of the right holder in, for example, a medley of various songs from Los Secretos de 2001. This entry seems to indicate a reservation of rights for the songs whose authors have not been identified.
A similar error is that of the IPIs attributed to “Public Domain” or “Popular Domain”. There should be no songs in the public domain with attribution of percentage of rights since they are expired rights, so it must be a mistake.
“It all comes from a malfunction that they probably haven’t even noticed,” says Bernardo Fuster, who was a member of the SGAE Board of Directors between 2007 and 2011. “I don’t think it was done with the intention of defrauding, but it has been done wrong and a serious problem has been generated. These are small amounts, but there are many cases, “he adds. Fuster is the author of, among many others, the famous theme The Puerta de Alcalá, for which you are frequently copyrighted. Since December 31, 2020, he is no longer a member of SGAE but he is going to ask this entity to investigate and clarify the last distribution, made on March 29 of this year, because it has detected “absurd things”.
The song The Puerta de Alcalá he wrote it together with his usual co-author; Although Bernardo has a higher percentage of authorship, he received less money. To give another concrete example, the song Paris burns, Also interpreted by Ana Belén, they have it registered at 50% (without editorial). In the last distribution, Bernardo has received 3.36 euros for performance rights, while his partner has obtained 8.36 euros, for no reason that the authors know for this disparity. These irregular proportions are maintained in another 20 songs from the last cast.
Asked the SGAE about the irregularities that the authors of SEDA have found when incorporating their repertoire, sources of the entity indicate that “all” its “internal processes and procedures” are “monitored and approved by the CISAC, regulated by the Law of Intellectual Property and comply with all national and international regulatory requirements “.