European Songwriters Accuse Greek Government of Mishandling Music Rights

The European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) urged recently the European Commission to intervene and stop the Greek government’s initiatives to restructure the national music rights collection system.

AEPI, an organization once known as the ”Hellenic (Greek) Society for the Protection of Intellectual Property,” was forced to shut down in May of 2018, after a huge scandal was uncovered involving the group.

Many of the directors of AEPI were determined to be involved in a mismanagement scandal after it was discovered that a whopping €42 million had not paid to creators.

The Greek authorities decided to revoke AEPI’s license in May of 2018. The Greek government then took over the direct management of music rights in the country by creating a new body called the ”Hellenic Copyright Organization” (HCO).

However, the HCO has some legal issues just on the grounds of its very existence, because before 2018, AEPI was not the only organization to manage music rights in Greece.

It was indeed the largest such body, but not the only one; therefore, creators could chose which organization would handle their music rights.

Since 2018, HCO has been the only organization managing music rights in Greece.

The ECSA claims that the new organization lacks a third-party supervisor, as it operates as a supervisory body itself.

In addition to this peculiarity, ECSA says that music creators cannot now join a royalties collection society of their own, as they could in the past.

The ECSA also accuses the Greek government of providing €2 million in state funds to the HCO, which violates fundamental EU state enterprise funding laws.

The European Commission will now have to decide whether ECSA’s claims are valid, in order to be able to take action against the Greek government.