IFPI, the global trade body for the recorded music industry and its German national group, BVMI, have revealed that injunctions have been issued by the German courts against the operators of five websites responsible for music streaming manipulation.
The injunctions order the websites to stop offering manipulation services for online music services.
Today’s announcement follows the news from March that an injunction was issued by the Berlin District Court against the operator of a prominent stream manipulation site, Followerschmiede.de.
According to a statement from IFPI and BVMI, “streaming manipulation, the creation of artificial ‘plays’ on digital music services that do not represent consumption by genuine consumers, denies music creators fair compensation for their work and investment.”
As noted by MBW in March, Spotify, a publicly traded company, has previously admitted to its investors (in its annual 20-F report for example), that the consequences of not dealing effectively with ‘fake streams’ could be financially dire.
Stated Spotify in the report: “If in the future we fail to successfully detect, remove, and address fraudulent streams and associated user accounts, it may result in the manipulation of our data, including the key performance indicators, which underlie, among other things, our contractual obligations with rights holders and advertisers (which could expose us to the risk of litigation), as well as harm our relationships with rights holders and advertisers.”
The most recent legal action targeting this activity in Germany has resulted in four injunctions being issued by separate courts.
The first was issued by a court in Bremen to the operator of Socialnow.de, the second by a court in Hamburg to the operator of the sites socialgeiz.de and likergeiz.de, the third by a court on Cologne to the operator of Netlikes, and the fourth by a court in Darmstadt against likesandmore.
An additional site, fanexplosion.de, stopped offering artificial plays following receipt of a cease and desist letter from BVMI.
“Streaming manipulation companies deprive right holders of revenue and mislead consumers.”
Frances Moore, IFPI
Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI, said: “The recorded music sector continues to invest in and drive the development of the legitimate digital music market around the world, working to ensure that those who create music are remunerated fairly and accurately for their work.
“Streaming manipulation companies deprive right holders of revenue and mislead consumers. We are committed to tackling this problem.
“These latest legal actions in Germany are an integral part of our strategy of taking on these sites wherever necessary around the world.”
“For fans and artists, confidence in digital music services is crucial, not least because music is now a predominantly digital medium.”
Dr. Florian Drücke, BVMI
Dr. Florian Drücke, Chairman & CEO of BVMI, added: “For fans and artists, confidence in digital music services is crucial, not least because music is now a predominantly digital medium.
“Against this background, there is no room for anti-competitive influence large or small, and these important court decisions once again demonstrate the music community’s determination to continue to take consistent action in this area.”Music Business Worldwide