Anti-Fraud Policy

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Policy
  4. Severity, Strike Policy and Blocking of Accounts
  5. Resolving a Strike
  6. Withholding Royalties (“Escrow”) for blocked accounts:
  7. Takedowns

Introduction

For the purpose of this Policy, the “End User” will be the person or legal entity that has entered into a contractual relationship with us, accepting the Terms of Service and providing content that will be made available on DMS (that is, “Digital Music Services”). "We" or "Us" are the providers of the service, MEI DIGITAL - DISTRIBUTORE MUSICALE INDIPENDENTE.

The purpose of this policy is to provide:

  • A clear definition of what we mean by “fraud”.
  • A definitive statement take distance of fraudulent activity in all its forms.
  • A summary to End Users of their responsibilities for avoiding fraudulent activities.
  • Guidance to all parties involved as to action which should be taken when we, the DMS or any other third party suspect any fraudulent activity.
  • Clear guidance as to responsibilities for conducting investigations into fraud related activities.
  • Protection to rightsholders in circumstances where they may be victimised as a consequence of fraudulent activities.

This document is intended to provide guidance and should be read in conjunction with:

  • The Terms of Use
  • The Privacy Policy

Definitions

  • End User: Is the person or legal entity that has entered into a contractual relationship with MEI DIGITAL - DISTRIBUTORE MUSICALE INDIPENDENTE for the use of the platform.
  • User Account: Accounts owned by end-users
  • Fraud: the unauthorized exploitation of material protected by copyright (Copyright Infringement); the infringement of any law that regulates the ownership of legal right holders; the use of (modified) artist, band or label names or artwork which may create confusion or false expectations related to content which is served to consumers by DMS (i.e., Musical Spam); the use of automated digital bots or other means to “click” on payment-generating links pretending to be consumers (i.e., Click Fraud), producing unnatural and fraudulent incomes; the upload of distorted music also to generate revenues and other unauthorized activities which are in breach with the terms of Service or our the agreements we have with DMS.

Policy

Fraud in all its forms is wrong, and is unacceptable to us.

This is because where fraud occurs:

  • It is not just a loss to us and the DMS, but ultimately to other content creators, damaging their copyrights, reputation or reducing the royalty pool which is made available by the DMS to content creators.
  • It may have a major impact on our reputation, our contracts with DMS and therefore again on other End Users using our Services.

Our objective is to avoid and, if necessary, eliminate fraudulent usage of our Services. Any indications of fraud will be rigorously investigated and dealt with in a firm and controlled way.

  • What DMS are doing about it

    Most DMS use a mix of algorithms and humans to scan their catalog to avoid potential fraud or unauthorized use of their service. Once they have identified fraudulent streaming they take down the content and inform us about the case, reserving the right to withhold from future payments the amounts previously generated through suspicious activities.

  • What we are doing about it

    We are actively taking action in the following fields:

    • We are automatically monitoring (historic) sales data to combine this with other information (i.e., artist profiles, End User information, social media, etc.), to detect possible irregular activity.
    • Our entire back catalog and all new tracks are fingerprinted and matched against several databases to avoid multiple uploads of the same song, uploads of “white noise”, “empty songs”, upload of already copyrighted materials and, in general, any unauthorized activity.
    • Our quality control (QC) processes are designed to track down the use of metadata that can be misleading, resulting in Musical Spam or any other unauthorized activity.
  • How we deal with suspected Fraud

    • In case we detect or have suspicions of any unauthorized activity (including bot-generated streams, click fraud, music spam, etc.) from a specific Account, we will require the corresponding End User to cease such activities and warn the End User via a 3-strike policy system, resulting in blocking of the End User account in case our warnings are ignored.
    • Revenues in any Account that are received in connection with content that we believe, in our sole discretion, violate the Terms of Service, can be blocked and retained
    • Blocked accounts can only be unblocked following the strict protocol described below.
  • The consequences of Fraudulent use of our Platform or Services

    • If an End User is deemed breaching the Terms Service, we will have the right to terminate the contractual relationship.
    • Any amounts due to a End User from any DMS for any fraudulent or unauthorized use of the service may be recouped by withholding such amounts from future payments due to a End User
    • To the extent any fraudulent and/or infringing activities are determined to be caused by the End User’s’ actions, any costs incurred by us or our providers (including legal fees and expenses) in connection therewith may, in addition to other remedies, be deducted by us from any future payments due to a End User.

Severity, Strike Policy and Blocking of Accounts

  • Severity

    Either during our QC process, the sales confirmation process or through notifications received from DMS, we may detect issues of possible fraudulent content or Accounts.

    We divide these issues into 3 severity tiers:

    • F0: Critical issues related to an End User Account
    • F1: Issues related to Click Fraud
    • F2: Issues related to Musical Spamming and Copyright issues

    F0 and F1: Critical issues related to an End User Account, Issues related to Click Fraud

    Once possible fraudulent content or Accounts are detected, a strike will be applied (see below) and the User Account may be blocked preventively in the following cases which we consider very severe:

    F0: Applicable cases

    • A User Account profile contains fake or incorrect information or unauthorized content that belongs to a third party
    • Repeated, inconsistent IP activity versus declared country of origin on an Account.

    F1: Applicable cases

    • An Account contains releases from unknown artists which are generating a considerable number of streams or views and subsequently, revenues in a short period of time without a minimum fanbase (listeners or viewers) to support it.
    • Any sudden uplift in sales without corresponding numbers in profile views or social media to support it.
    • An account generating royalties without having any detailed customer information.

    Unblocking an Account

    In case an End User provides the information and/or needed documentation requested by our Quality Control team within 5 working days, and the information can be verified, the User Account will be unblocked.

    F2: Issues related to Musical Spamming and Copyright issues

    F2: Applicable cases

    An Account receives a strike when one or more of the following problems are detected:

    • A release contains misleading artist names or track titles, etc., to attract consumers to click.
    • Whenever the impersonation of any artist, recording company, etc. is confirmed.
    • A release contains copyrighted material from someone else who did not grant publishing permission to the User Account.
    • We received a content infringement ticket from a DMS or from any PRO in relation to content that has been sent to DMS.
    • We receive a direct infringement claim from the original Rightsholder or his or her representative.

    In case we detect one or more of these issues in the content of an User Account, the End User will receive a ticket or notice, indicating we have detected potential infringing or unauthorized activity

  • Strike Policy

    In case We detect an F1 or F2 issue in an User Account, a strike is applied to the Account and the End User will receive a ticket or notice, indicating we have detected potential infringing or unauthorized activity and additional information from the End User may be required.

    In case a strike is applied and the End User cannot or refuses to provide the requested information within 5 working days, or if infringing or unauthorized activity is confirmed, a Strike will be applied to the User Account, which will have the following consequences:

    STRIKE 1:

    • End User is informed.
    • Takedown of questioned content.
    • Warning of delay on 2nd strike and block on 3rd strike.

    STRIKE 2:

    • End User is informed.
    • Takedown of questioned content.
    • Warning that account is blocked on the third strike.

    STRIKE 3:

    • End User is informed.
    • End User account is blocked.
    • All End User content is taken down.
    • Royalties will be kept in escrow for 5 years.

    Once an End User has received three Strikes, we will block the End User’s account.

  • Blocked account policy

    • In case an End User cannot, or refuses to provide the requested information and/or needed documentation within 5 working days, we may block and withhold revenues in any User Account that are received in connection with content that we believe, in our sole discretion, violate our Terms of Use or the agreements we have with DMS.
    • We may discontinue the contractual relationship with the End User.
    • The blocked Accounts will not be able to access the platform and, therefore, enjoy our services.
    • If the End User does not provide any kind of response, all content from the involved Account may be taken down.
    • The royalties corresponding to the infringing content are kept in escrow until a timeframe of maximum 5 years has passed.
    • During these 5 years we will contact the claimants and determine what amounts should be returned to them, including incurred expenses or economic claims, penalties or compensations determined by law. Once this process has been concluded, and the 5 years period has passed, any maintaining funds will be released and transferred to the End User.
  • Unblocking an account

    In case an End User provides the requested information within 5 working days, and the information can be verified, the account can be unblocked.

    We may request End Users to take the following steps in order to unblock the account:

    • The End User information must be fully completed.
    • The End User has to send us a copy of an identification document (passport or national ID).
    • In most cases we also request artist profiles, website urls, , Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., profile information from the artist in order to contrast this with the sales data. These profiles must have historical data to support the sales data.

Resolving a Strike

Once a Strike has been applied, we may request the End User to take the following steps in order to release the Strike and reduce the risk of blocking their Account and/or takedown of the uploaded tracks:

  • Correcting the release metadata.
  • In case there is doubt about the ownership of the uploaded tracks, the End User must provide proof of this, by sending us a license, contract or ownership certificate.
  • Acquiring the applicable licenses

In case the provided information suffices, the Strike will be resolved. In case the information requirements are not met, the Strike will remain applied and will be added to the existing ones.

Withholding Royalties (“Escrow”) for blocked accounts:

  • Revenues in any User Account that are received in connection with content that We believe, in our sole discretion, violate the Terms of Service may be blocked and withheld.
  • The money is kept in escrow until a timeframe of maximum 5 years has passed.

The royalties will be held in escrow in order to be able to respond in the following situations:

  • An End User proves his Account is not fraudulent and, therefore, royalties will be made available to the End User.
  • A claim from DMS is received, asking for a refund of the royalties in case any DMS deems it was generated through unauthorized or fraudulent activity. Please note that DMS contractually have the right to reclaim royalties during a timeframe of 5 years, that is why we need to respect this period as well.
  • A claim from legitimate rights holders is received, claiming the payout of the royalties that have been retained, plus royalties that already have been paid to End Users with claimed unauthorized or fraudulent activity.

Takedowns

We will initiate takedowns of confirmed infringing content for User Accounts and all content that is involved in F0, F1 or F2 issues.

However, please also note that any content may be marked as suspicious by DMS at their sole discretion and may be taken down at their discretion.

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