GEMA Hit With Fraud Case

Film Music Magazine • June 2, 2010

German collecting society GEMA has reported a case of fraud to authorities allegedly involving at least 2 employees. Reports indicate that the case may involve over $1 million and involves reporting fictitious live events that generated payments to writer and publisher members.

Dr. Harald Heker, chairman of the board of the GEMA, confirmed the facts in an online press conference, stating that GEMA will support all investigations and has fired the employees with no notice. Heker said that the scheme likely involved GEMA staff members working with members to cause unauthorized payments to selected authors and publishers.

The case highlights the lack of transparency that plagues many collecting societies worldwide, where audits by members are all but impossible leaving the societies to function as “black boxes” where there is no way for members to tie their payments to any specific amounts collected by the society.

GEMA is one of Europe’s largest collecting societies, representing over 60,000 composers, songwriters and music publishers in addition to representing the works of writers and publishers around the world when those works are performed in Germany.

Comments

By joseph nicoletti consulting on June 2nd, 2010 at 2:14 pm

it is a sad Situation…I wish All payment societies was as Honest & reliable as ASACAP and BMI are in the United states .. Joseph Nicoletti consulting p.o.box 386 Laguna Beach california 92652 USA ph 949-715-7036 e-mail: musicbiz@cox.net

By Nigel Watson on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I’m a GEMA member…..obviously this is a scandal and a criminal act, but please be careful of making a blanket condemnation.

Can you be 100% sure that there is absolute transparancy with the money collected by ASCAP / BMI? How easy is it to investigate whether payments are made fairly and correctly?

The whole business of publishing & broadcasting is a huge apparatus. I’m just trying to investigate broadcasts made overseas of a production I composed for- it’s not easy.

Add to that that most composers and artists are not as business-savvy as they might be (would rather make music than make money, though the money is welcome of course LOL!!)……!!

Glad the crime has been uncovered. we need to press for greater transparancy in our earnings flow.

Nigel

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