Spanish equivalent of the IBA hunts for owners of holiday homes

by Lorraine Williamson
TV in holiday homes
del canto chambers 2

PALMA – The Spanish radio and television tariff agency SGAE, comparable to the UK´s Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), has started a campaign to recover copyrights from tourist rental companies and holiday homes on Mallorca and the other islands. 

This is reported by the newspaper Ultima Hora. In recent weeks, the organisation has sent out payment requests to numerous owners of holiday homes on the island. This is for making radio and TV channels available to their guests in their homes. 

Moreover, since holiday rentals are commercial activities, similar to sports bars, SGAE´s annual fee of €420 should be paid. 

However, the two tourist associations Habtur and the Balearic Association for Holiday Rentals agree the measure ‘has no right to exist’. 

The owners and companies behind this type of accommodation have received a letter from the SGAE. The correspondence stated that “this entity has verified that in the company you own, works and services are carried out from the premises provided by the SGAE and the AGEDI and AIE (copyrighting organisations) managed repertoire”. 

According to Ultima Hora, most of the establishments that have received this letter claim no one from the SGAE has visited them. Therefore, they have not checked what services they provide to their customers. 

Outrage 

Most outraged by this notification are the owners of holiday homes, who in many cases do not even have televisions in their rooms. This is because the customers are usually “fully equipped with their electronic equipment from which they can access all kinds of digital platforms”, Habtur spokesman said. Mary Gibert. 

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Intellectual Property Act Provisions 

The letter from the SGAE warns that “the prior consent of the authors or owners of the works is required. This is by the provisions of the Intellectual Property Act. Also required is the payment of the corresponding compensation rights accrued by said public communication.” 

Term of 7 days 

Owners of the tourist establishments have been given seven days to contact the company representative in their area. Otherwise, legal action may be taken against their company. 

‘Customers often fully technologically equipped’ 

Miguel Cifre, president of the Association of Holiday Homes, points out that these kinds of letters “started in the middle of the peak season last year. But they are being restarted now due to the imminent full opening of tourist establishments in the islands”. Furthermore, he believes that the current reality of holiday rental is “very different from that of hotels. This is because our customers are technologically fully equipped”. 

Claiming arrears through court 

Consequently, the SGAE may, in the event of no amicable settlement, claim all arrears in court. Furthermore, this could include up to a maximum of five years from the first notification. In addition, the investigation costs to prove the violation can be added to this. 

Monthly rate 

The monthly rate that SGAE, AGEDI, and AEI ask is €35 per month. Therefore, if the property is open twelve months a year, the costs are €420 per year. 

Request SGAE not addressed to private individuals 

Both business associations indicate that the SGAE entity’s request is not addressed to private individuals, “since only the major operating companies that hold operating licenses for dozens of properties are claimed.” They argue that in their case these are private residences or houses rented out for tourist purposes and that they do not have the same parameters as hotels. 

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