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BMI and ASCAP partner on task force to address fraudulent song registrations

By | Published on Friday 19 May 2023

American song right collecting societies BMI and ASCAP have announced a new joint task force to deal with dodgy song registrations across the collective licensing system, mainly to stop people claiming rights and royalties from that system that don’t belong to them.

It’s one of various initiatives aiming to ensure that the music industry has better music rights data, so that there is a more comprehensive and accurate view of who owns and controls each song and recording. There are currently an assortment of issues with that data, some of which are caused by bad actors and fraudulent conduct.

Although BMI and ASCAP compete for songwriter members within the US, they already collaborate on some data initiatives, including the shared data platform Songview.

The new task force, the two societies say, will involve “a cross-functional team of copyright, technical, distribution, legal, business and product experts”, who will work together with the aim of “mitigating and preventing fraud or erroneous activities associated with but not limited to the registration of musical works that can result in financial loss or operational inefficiencies”.

“The team will focus on maintaining data integrity within the volumes of registration requests and protocols around identity verification and validation, among other areas”, an official statement adds. “In addition to raising awareness around suspicious activity and schemes, the task force will work with other partners around the globe to share best practices and information that is not deemed competitively sensitive”.

Commenting on this new initiative, ASCAP boss Elizabeth Matthews says: “Fraud is a complex global challenge that all collective management organisations and [streaming services] must confront with increasing frequency”.

“Building on the strength of our Songview partnership and leveraging our expertise in building an interconnected data platform”, she goes on, “ASCAP and BMI are uniquely positioned to lead this collaborative and proactive approach to enhance the integrity of data in the music industry and to protect the rights and royalties of music creators”.

BMI chief Mike O’Neill adds: “The integrity of our data is paramount and something we spend an enormous amount of time and effort to protect. Given the explosion of music being uploaded to digital platforms and the speed in which that information connects to databases around the world, we felt it made sense to join forces with ASCAP to address these concerns”.

“Bad actors don’t just limit themselves to one company or one territory”, he continues, “and the more we can collaborate on this issue, the better it is for everyone involved”.