One of Germany’s biggest ‘fake streaming’ services has been ordered by the Berlin District Court to stop their services and shut down. The site, ‘Followerschmiede.de’, were experts in stream manipulation and helped customers artificially boost streams of music that they own or represent.
Legal action was first taken by global record label trade body IFPI and their German counterpart BVMI. The order by the court follows an announcement in June of 2019, where the three major labels, Sony/ATV, Spotify, Amazon, Deezer and many more industry bodies signed a coalition to tackle stream manipulation.
The IFPI chief executive Frances Moore stated;
“Those who create music must be remunerated fairly and accurately for their work and investment. Stream manipulation undermines this – whether by undermining the accuracy of charts, royalty payments to music creators or otherwise – and cannot be tolerated.”
On top of this, she said that streaming platforms need to find “a robust technical solution” to the problem of stream manipulation. The BVMI CEO issued a warning to other similar services saying that this legal action should be “seen as a signal to other manipulation services” as they are now prepared to take action against them.
Spotify has started to take this more seriously and have kept an eye on illicit streams, most recently with a case involving rapper French Montana. The rapper’s song “Writing on the Wall” was subject to stream manipulation, however French denied any involvement and has no knowledge of who purchased these streams. Spotify were quick to notice as the streams apparently all appeared from a New York IP.
With this legal case being the first to go through and succeed in the music industry’s favour, it certainly means that more industry bodies such as IFPI will continue pursuing taking down these services as it tarnishes royalties, chart positions and credibility. Hopefully the labels and streaming services can continue working together to take them all down.
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