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Here's how a Scam Artist Illegally Streamed 37 Songs Created by Others Under his own Name

A man in Denmark was found guilty of wrongly making money from music streaming royalties.
Image Source: Photo by Brett Sayles | pexels
Image Source: Photo by Brett Sayles | pexels

Before music streaming services such as Spotify took the industry by storm, record labels and artists were struggling to protect their tunes against piracy through online portals from where users across the world downloaded Mp3 files. But while those platforms may have become irrelevant with genuine tracks available for listening online, a 53-year-old Dane from East Jutland has been jailed for a massive music streaming fraud scheme. He has been convicted of illegally streaming hundreds of songs and raising more than $29 Million. During the trial in Aarhus, the court found that the alleged streaming account was incorrect and that the man had used illegal means to boost it.

Image Source: Photo by Zulian Yuliansyah | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Zulian Yuliansyah | Pexels

The man was found guilty of copyright infringement of 37 songs and he did so by hiring other artists, altering the tracks slightly, and then releasing then under his own name.

His punishment included three months in prison for a total of one year and six months. In addition, the judge ruled that two million Danish kroner be seized, half from the guy and half from his business. He also received a 200,000 Danish kroner penalty. Between 2014 and 2017, he became Denmark's 46th highest-earning composer for streaming due to the volume of streams he falsely created.

Copyright campaigners and members of the music industry hailed the decision as a historic one. In 2018, Maria Fredenslund, the CEO of the Danish Rights Alliance said, “We are glad that the court recognized streaming fraud as a serious crime. This verdict is historic and emphasizes the seriousness of the issue of stream manipulation. It also shows that such fraud can be detected and that both rights holders and authorities take it seriously.”

"This sets an important precedent to prevent similar cases, especially with the advancements in artificial intelligence," she said, emphasizing the significance of the case for the future. "This is genuinely a significant and historic case," stated Anna Lidell, chair of Autor, the largest Danish group for composers, songwriters, lyricists, and producers.

Image Source: Photo by David Bartus | pexels
Image Source: Photo by David Bartus | pexels

Anna Lidell added, "By changing and releasing the tracks, the man illegally obtained millions of listens and violated copyright." This undercuts the efforts of individuals who put in a lot of effort every day to make music but struggle to make ends meet. At first, he was charged with earning 4.38 million kroner through the streaming of 689 musical compositions on services like YouSee Musik, Apple Music, and Spotify. The court, however, declared on Thursday that they did not have sufficient information to verify the precise quantity of synthetic tunes played, the frequency of plays, or the royalties received.

Senior expert prosecutor Amir Amirian stressed the importance of the case, pointing out that it is the first of its sort in Denmark. He emphasized that the decision classified this as data fraud, highlighting its illegality as opposed to a legal loophole. He believes that other people thinking of pursuing similar methods will be discouraged by this verdict.