Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russian Society of Authors Claims Beyonce's Moscow Show was Illegal

The Russian Society of Authors (known for the Russian initials as RAO) claims royalties from the company that organized the Moscow show for US singer Beyonce. The association asks for about 2.5 million rubles ($83,000) for the public performance of the singer’s songs without RAO’s permission for it.

Moscow ’s Public Prosecutor Office upheld RAO’s claim. The association won a similar case vs. the company Yug-Art, which organized Deep Purple’s show in the city of Rostov-on-Don last year.

RAO filed the claim at the Office of the Public Prosecutor saying that the concert of singer Beyonce, which took place at Moscow’s Olympic Stadium on November 2, 2009, had violated copyright laws, RIA Novosti reports. 

“The organizers of the show did not receive permission for the public performance of music. The decision could have been received from RAO, the state-authorized organization, in the form of a licensed contract. Since the contract was not concluded, the public performance of music during the singer’s concert was illegal,” a spokesperson for the organization said.

Beyonce is a member of the US analogue of RAO – the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Like RAO, ASCAP pays its members for public performance of their music. RAO officially represents ASCAP’s interests in the Russian Federation. Therefore, the association collects payments to foreign authors for public performance of their songs in Russia and subsequently wires the payments to ASCAP keeping a commission for the services.

Prosecutors of Moscow’s Central Administrative District upheld the fact of violation of the law in the organization of Beyonce’s concert in Moscow. An investigation proved that the organizing company had not concluded license agreements about the right to perform music in public.

JSC Anons, which organized Beyonce’s show in Moscow, stated that it did not hold a contract with the artist and could not act as a defendant on RAO’s lawsuit. The company’s director stated that Anons was involved only in ticket sales and could not name the firm which organized the event.

If no other organizer is found, Anons will have to pay royalty to RAO – 5% of ticket sales profit. Experts say that the concert could return the profit of 50 million rubles (over $1.6 million), which means that the organizers will have to pay 2.5 million rubles ($83,000) to RAO.

It is worthy of note that Beyonce performed the songs written by herself and other authors.

The Russian Society of Authors filed a similar lawsuit in July of 2009 against Yug-Art – the company that organized Deep Purple’s show in Rostov-on-Don. The company was eventually ordered to pay the compensation of $1,000 for each of the 15 performed songs.