German court ruling smacks down ‘stream manipulation’ site


A Berlin court has issued an injunction against a website accused by the music industry of being focused on stream manipulation. Global body the IFPI and German industry body BVMI celebrated the ruling against Followerschmiede·de, which they say “creates ‘plays’ on a digital service provider that do not represent the actual consumption of music by a genuine consumer”.

The site hasn’t been shut down, but it has been ordered to discontinue this particular activity. “We took this action as part of our commitment to protect the legitimate legal market for music and to hinder any fraudulent services seeking to undermine it,” said BVMI boss Dr. Florian Drücke. “Streaming platforms need to find a robust technical solution to this issue. For our part, we are prepared to take legal action against these sites, as shown by this action in Germany, and we will continue to do so wherever necessary worldwide,” added IFPI boss Frances Moore.

The ruling follows an announcement last June of a music industry coalition to tackle stream manipulation, including a code of best practice signed by all three major labels, Sony/ATV, Merlin, Spotify, Amazon and Deezer as well as industry bodies. That was admirable unity, but Moore’s comments now suggest there may be tensions between labels and streaming services over whether the latter could be doing more.

Written by: Stuart Dredge