Did SIAE spy on Soundreef illegally? Major Italian magazine reports shocking investigation

According to “L’Espresso” (Italian weekly national magazine) Sunday article entitled “007 Operazione Rovazzi”, SIAE – the Italian royalties clearinghouse for copyrighted material - would have paid the investigation company Ifi Advisory an amount of approximately 400.000 euro for providing data regarding its competitors, Soundreef in particular.

According to “L’Espresso” (Italian weekly national magazine) Sunday article entitled “007 Operazione Rovazzi” (“007 Operation Rovazzi” – Rovazzi is an Italian singer, currently registered in Soundreef collecting society), SIAE – the Italian royalties clearinghouse for copyrighted material, which right now holds the monopoly of the authors’ rights market in the country- would have paid the investigation company Ifi Advisory an amount of approximately 400.000 euro for providing sensible data regarding its competitors, Soundreef in particular.

Ifi Advisory is a risk management company that, in order to carry out the task, hired in turn the Israeli company Black Cube, composed by a selected group of veterans from the Israeli elite intelligence units, and specialised in tailored solutions for complex business and litigation challenges.

According to “L’Espresso” article, the investigations carried out by the two agencies hired by SIAE have been considered unlawful and conducted in an illegitimate way.

In fact, the article clearly reported that, with the help of Ifi Advisory and Black Cube, SIAE carried out industrial espionage actions against Soundreef and other competing companies, using illegal methods such as building fake profiles and introducing oneself with fictitious identities. The aim was that of approaching and talking with individuals that may provide sensitive, useful and not in the public domain information for their clients.

Soundreef made a press release on this topic stating that SIAE’s conduct exceeded all limits and appeared illicit under many aspects.

Therefore, further to the events and according to the reported investigation, in the next hours Soundreef will present a complaint to the Public Prosecutor's Office, to ascertain if the intelligence activity carried out against the exponents and the companies that are close to Soundreef could have any criminal relevance.

Soundreef goes on arguing that SIAE’s conduct is by the way the result of a lack of openness to competition in the Italian copyright sector.

According to Soundreef Founder and CEO Davide d’Atri, in the light of the events, it is necessary for the Italian government and parliament to adopt Antitrust indications, liberalize the sector and work on a comprehensive reform of the whole copyright sector.