MACP should come clean over unpaid artistes’ royalties

I am dumbfounded by Music Authors’ Copyright Protection Bhd’s (MACP) contention that I made “unsubstantiated and baseless allegations” about their involvement in the alleged mismanagement of collection of royalties owed to recording artistes.

Nowhere in the FMT article dated Oct 6, “Artistes seek MACC probe of ‘hidden hands’ in royalties fiasco” can I find any such statements attributed to me.

I stated that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should investigate “whether there was corruption in the running of the four bodies”.

If there was no wrongdoing, MACP is perfectly safe.

For them to accuse me of making false allegations before an investigation takes place would be highly premature.

That they have denied involvement so quickly serves to heighten the suspicion that there may be some issues in the management of MACP that they may be uncomfortable about.

MACP must clarify their stand that my statement is “factually and grossly inaccurate” and explain how they had come to this conclusion.

It must be stressed that MACP had a majority control over the running of Music Rights Malaysia Bhd (MRM) having secured four seats on a seven-man board, where Public Performance Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PPM) had two seats and Recording Performers Malaysia Bhd (RPM), one seat.

Performers’ Rights and Interest Society of Malaysia Bhd (Prism) had one seat but they have since been removed from the board after having been shutdown.

So, any decision taken by MRM with regard to any issues put before the board must have had the blessings of at least one of MACP board members before a majority decision was taken.

The fact that the board decided to dissolve the body creates suspicion as to why MACP wanted to dissolve MRM when they were getting 50% of the royalties collected by the latter.

On the other hand, PPM got only 25% of the collection.

Prior to the setting up of MRM, the royalty collections of MACP and PPM were almost equal. After MRM was set up, MACP immediately got double of what PPM was getting. Wouldn’t it have been in MACP’s best interest to ensure MRM continued to operate?

Why did MACP members in the MRM board vote to dissolve MRM when its existence gave them a clear advantage over PPM?

MACC should investigate how a body votes for a move that would result in higher royalties for another entity, an act which goes against the best interests of its own members.

This begets the question whether the statement by MACP that it is an “organisation with responsibility to its members” is accurate.

Further, their allegation that they have “no knowledge of the purported existence of RM30 million in undistributed royalties for recording artistes and are not privy to the supposed existence of hidden hands” again raises much suspicion.

Shouldn’t they, as the controlling party in MRM, have given the right figure of how much MRM actually owes the recording artistes rather than just say that they have no knowledge of the RM30 million?

If not RM30 million then how much does MRM actually owe the artistes? Is it RM40 million? RM25 million? RM10 million?

As the controlling party, surely they are privy to such information. By claiming inaccuracy in my statement without giving the actual figure raises more red flags.

I wonder if there are close connections between the publishing companies in MACP and the board members of the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM) and its subsidiary company PPM.

MACP must explain why it made the decision to dissolve MRM when it was against the best interests of MACP members.

I propose that the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry pass a new ruling disallowing companies that are linked to one another to sit on the boards of both MACP and PPM as well as its parent body, RIM, to avoid conflict of interest.

 

Freddie Fernandez is president of Malaysian Artistes’ Association (Karyawan).

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.