Denmark: E. Jutland man accused of stealing music royalties and of re-publishing works of others

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The Danish Rights Alliance reports about an East Jutland man who allegedly used automation to generate fraudulent playbacks of hundreds of works on various music streaming services, receiving royalties of about 4.5 million kroner – more than US$640,000; far more than most musicians could ever hope for from any of the music streaming services.

He also is accused of having copied 37 of the 501 played works from other musicians, for subsequently editing and publishing these under new titles in his own name.

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The crimes occured from 2013-2017 and was reported by the Danish Rights Alliance on behalf of IFPI, Koda, the Danish Musicians’ Association and the Danish Artist Association in 2018.

An indictment was brought to court in November 2020. The cases against him are pending within the Danish legal system and no court dates have yet been set.

Further reading

One of the world’s largest streaming fraud cases is in the queue in the Danish legal system. Article. May 26, 2023. Danish Rights Alliance (Rettighedsalliancen)

Read the full story by Frederik Kulager, Article. May 18, 2023. Zetland

Both articles are auto-translated from Danish to English by Google Translate.

Why it matters

This use case, using automation to steal music from streaming services, seems similar to the redirection of legitimate advertising to fraudulent consumer end-points, and just as advertisers see their ad budgets evaporate to no effect, the musicians see no benefit from what has become a major distirbution channel for music and audio entertainment.

“The Section for Rights Protection in NSK (National Unit for Special Crime) has made a huge effort in their investigation of this case,” said Maria Fredenslund, Director of the Danish Rights Alliance.

“But when cases like this wait years to come to court, it diminishes the opportunity to set important precedents and follow suit with criminals who see opportunities in a rapidly growing digital market. We therefore run the risk that the many resources society uses to investigate and prosecute cases will result in reduced sentences because the cases drag on. The long waiting times are therefore not only a big inconvenience for everyone involved. They also impair the preventive effect of the cases, which is of great importance for the protection of creative content on the Internet,” said Ms. Fredenslund.

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