Two men have been charged with a multi-year music royalty scam in which they collected more than $20 million in payments from YouTube.
by falsely claiming to hold the copyright to 50,000 songs in the Spanish language.
Prosecutors said Jose “Chanel” Teran, 36, of Scottsdale, Ariz. And Webster “Yenddi” Batista, 38, of Doral, Fla., announced that their company, MediaMuv Inc., controlled the rights to a large catalog of music.
In 2017, they allegedly approached a third-party copyright management company identified in court papers by just the initials AR, making false claims about copyright control. for songs. In several cases, Teran and Batista used fake notes from artists who claimed they had the right to manage the music, prosecutors said.
A spokesman for the US attorney’s office in Arizona, which is prosecuting the case, declined to elaborate further what was detailed in public court filings.
Prosecutors said Teran and Batista signed a contract with a management company to make money from music online. After that, the management company established MediaMuv’s credentials with YouTube, issued a copyright claim to the songs on the video platform.
A YouTube representative did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Teran and Batista’s attorneys also did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
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Big money from music royalties
Over the next several years, prosecutors say Teran and Batista fraudulently collected more than $20 million in royalties from the deal, none of which they ever shared with the artists who wrote the songs.
Prosecutors say that when a song’s legal rights owner – identified in court papers only by his initials DH – files a complaint with a third-party management company claiming infringement copyright infringement, Teran boldly asserted that the person had no legal basis to take his side.
“Any problem [D.H.] with our content he can email me directly we will not share any revenue share with him or anyone just because he says he has the right to, we have a contract and if he has any doubts we can continue to discuss this in front of a federal judge, thanks,” the court document quoted Teran as writing in an email.
The men allegedly collected more than $100,000 in royalty payments for the hit ballad “Me Llamas” by Colombian pop group Piso 21, according to court documents. A song from the 1980s by long-standing Mexican group Los Caminantes allegedly raised the couple $30,000 in payouts. Representatives of the groups could not be immediately contacted.
Prosecutors allege the men collected more than $50,000 in royalties from the music of 21 different groups.
According to court documents, Teran used more than $500,000 in down payment to buy a mansion in the Sonoran Foothills, a suburb of Phoenix. The men are also alleged to have used $129,000 to buy a car from Tesla, $93,000 to buy a BMW hybrid from a Beverly Hills dealership and $62,000 to buy jewelry from a store in Manhattan.
Both men have been charged with 30 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. They could face decades behind bars and large fines if found guilty.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/two-charged-with-stealing-20m-in-elaborate-youtube-music-royalty-scam-11638478339?rss=1&siteid=rss Two men accused of collecting $20 million in royalties from YouTube, using fake letters to falsely claim they represent artists