BDM Network Anti-Fraud Policy

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Policy
    • What Digital Music Services (DMS) are Doing About It
    • Our Actions Against Fraud
    • Handling Suspected Fraud
    • Consequences of Fraudulent Use of Our Platform or Services
  4. Severity, Strike Policy, and Account Blocking
    • Severity Levels
    • Strike Policy
    • Blocked Account Policy
  5. Withholding Royalties (“Escrow”) for Blocked Accounts
  6. Takedowns

Introduction

In this Policy, the term “End User” refers to any person or legal entity that has entered into a contractual relationship with us by accepting our Terms of Use and providing content for distribution on Digital Streaming Platforms (DSPs). “We” or “Us” refers to BDM NETWORK, the service provider.

The purpose of this Anti-Fraud Policy is to outline our approach to fraud prevention for the users of our platform and services. It is designed to:

  • Define “Fraud” clearly.
  • Assert our stance against all forms of fraudulent activity.
  • Summarize the End User’s responsibilities in preventing fraud.
  • Provide guidance on actions to be taken by all parties when there is a suspicion of fraudulent activity by us, the DSPs, or any other third party.
  • Clarify responsibilities for conducting investigations into suspected fraudulent activities.
  • Offer protection to right holders who might be victimized as a result of fraudulent activities.

This document should be read in conjunction with our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, and serves as a guide for understanding and adhering to our Anti-Fraud measures.

Definitions

End User: The individual or legal entity that has entered into a contractual relationship with BDM NETWORK for the use of our platform, accepting the Terms of Use and supplying content for availability on Digital Streaming Platforms (DSP).

End User Account: Accounts that are owned and/or created by End Users for the purpose of using our services.

DSP (Digital Streaming Platforms): Platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc., or any other channels that have a contractual relationship with us.

MDFS (Monetization through Digital Fingerprinting Systems): Systems like YouTube Content ID, Facebook Rights Manager, and similar platforms for content monetization.

Fraud: Any activity that violates the law, DSP Policies, or our policies. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unauthorized use of copyrighted material (Copyright Infringement).
  • Violation of laws regulating legal rights ownership.
  • Misleading use of artist, band, or label names or artwork, creating confusion or false expectations (i.e., Musical Spam and Misleading Content).
  • Using automated digital bots or similar means for “clicking” on payment-generating links (Click Fraud), leading to unnatural and fraudulent revenues.
  • Uploading distorted music, silenced songs, or content with deceptive features to generate revenue, or other unauthorized activities breaching our Terms of Use and/or agreements with DSPs.
  • Using manual or automated resources, bots, or other means to stream and monetize DSP content in violation of their terms and conditions.
  • Unlawfully monetizing content through MDFS using manual or automated means.

Royalties: The financial income or revenue that rightfully belongs to the original rightsholders. We differentiate between “legitimate royalties” (income from rightful content exploitation) and “illegitimate royalties” (income from fraudulent activities or exploitation).

Strike: A severity level applied to accounts violating our Anti-Fraud Policy, categorized into three tiers – Strike 1, 2, and 3, with increasing severity. Strikes are cumulative, but for significant violations, the highest severity level may be applied directly.

Policy

Fraudulent Activities: Our Stance and Impact Fraud, in all its forms, is fundamentally wrong and is categorically unacceptable to us at BDM NETWORK. This is due to its wide-reaching impacts:

  • Loss Beyond Us and DSPs: Fraudulent activities result in losses not just to us and Digital Streaming Platforms (DSPs) but also to other content creators. It undermines their copyrights, tarnishes reputations, and reduces the royalty pool available to creators from DSPs.
  • Reputational Damage: Such activities can severely impact our reputation and our agreements with DSPs, subsequently affecting other End Users who utilize our Services.

Objective and Response to Fraud Our primary objective is to prevent and, if necessary, eliminate fraudulent usage of our Services. We are committed to rigorously investigating any indications of fraud and addressing them decisively and judiciously.

Actions by Digital Music Services (DSPs)

  • DSPs typically employ a mix of algorithms and human oversight to scan their catalogs, aiming to prevent potential fraud, unauthorized or artificial streams, and abusive use of their services. If they identify fraudulent activity, they may remove the content and inform us, reserving the right to withhold any earnings generated from suspicious activities.

Our Proactive Measures

  • Monitoring Sales Data: We continuously monitor sales data, combining it with other information sources such as artist profiles and social media to detect irregular activities.
  • Content Fingerprinting: Our back catalog and new tracks are fingerprinted and checked against multiple databases to prevent duplicate uploads of the same song, uploads of white noise, empty songs, copyrighted materials, and any other unauthorized activities.
  • Quality Control (QC): Our QC processes are designed to identify and prevent the use of metadata that could result in Musical Spam, Misleading Content, or other types of fraud.

Handling Suspected Fraud

  • Strike Policy System: If we detect or suspect any unauthorized activity (including bot-generated streams, click fraud, music spam, or abusive usage of MDFS), we will issue warnings through our Strike Policy System. This can ultimately lead to the blocking of the involved End User Account.
  • Revenue Withholding: Revenues tied to content we suspect violates our Terms of Use may be withheld and retained.

Consequences of Fraudulent Use

  • Contract Termination: Breaching our Terms of Use may lead to termination of the contractual relationship with the End User.
  • Recoupment of Funds: We may withhold amounts owed to an End User from future payments if they are derived from fraudulent or unauthorized service use.
  • Liability for Costs: If fraudulent activities are traced back to an End User’s actions, they may be held responsible for associated costs incurred by us or our providers, including legal fees. These costs, among other remedies, may be deducted from future payments owed to the End User.

Severity, Strike Policy, and Blocking of Accounts

Severity: Identifying Fraudulent Content or Accounts

During our Quality Control (QC) processes, sales confirmation, or through notifications from DSPs and third parties, we may identify potential fraudulent content or accounts. Detected issues are classified into four severity tiers:

  • F0 (Critical Issues): Includes fake account information, inconsistent IP activity, submission of false documents, and any signs of identity or validation evasion.
  • F1 (Click Fraud, Misleading, Musical Spam, Artificial Streams): Encompasses unexpected streaming surges without credible fanbase support, misleading use of popular artist names or titles, and using growth services for artificial popularity.
  • F2 (Copyright, Intellectual Property, Trademark Issues): Involves impersonation, unauthorized use of copyrighted materials, and confirmed infringement notifications.
  • F3 (Abusive MDFS Usage): Covers inserting original content into copyrighted material for financial gain, artificial streams or plays, and unexplained sales surges related to MDFS.

Strike Policy: Addressing Violations

If F1, F2, or F3 issues are detected, we apply a strike with potential requirements for the End User, like updating account details, providing identification, or contrasting sales data with artist profiles. The consequences of strikes are:

  • Strike 1: Warning issued, questionable content taken down, notice of potential royalty payment delay or account block on the next strike.
  • Strike 2: Another warning, content takedown, three-month delay in royalty payments, and notification of potential account blocking and escrow on the next strike.
  • Strike 3: Account blocked, entire catalog taken down, and legitimate royalties held in escrow for 24 months to 5 years, as per DSP policies and Irish Civil Law. Illegitimate royalties are returned to DSPs.

Blocked Account Policy

Repeated violations of our Terms of Use, Anti-Fraud Policy, or agreements with DSPs may lead to account blocking, with implications such as:

  • Discontinuation of the contractual relationship.
  • Entire catalog takedown.
  • Blocked account access, barring the use of our services.
  • Legitimate royalties are held in escrow for 24 months to 5 years or until dispute resolution.
  • In disputes, parties must inform us of the outcome for appropriate fund allocation, including expenses, claims, or legal compensations. After escrow, the remaining funds may be released to the End User.

Withholding Royalties (“Escrow”) for Blocked Accounts

Royalty Escrow Policy: We reserve the right to withhold revenues in any End User Account that, in our sole discretion, are believed to violate the Terms of Use. These royalties will be held in escrow for a period of 24 months to 5 years, as per DSP policies and Irish Civil Law, or until disputes between claimant and claimed parties are resolved. This is to ensure readiness for the following scenarios:

  1. Illegitimate Royalties Refund: In cases where DSPs request a refund for royalties generated from unauthorized or fraudulent activities. DSPs contractually retain the right to reclaim royalties within a minimum 24-month period, necessitating our adherence to this timeframe.

  2. Legitimate Royalties Refund: When claims from legitimate rights holders are received, asserting entitlement to the withheld royalties.

Takedowns

Infringing Content Removal: Confirmed infringing content from End User Accounts, including all content associated with F0, F1, F2, and F3 issues, will be subject to takedown.

Catalog-wide Takedowns for F3 Issues: While F3 issues may involve only part of an End User’s content, we may, at our discretion, initiate takedowns for the entire catalog of the End User.

DSP-Initiated Takedowns: Please note that DSPs, at their discretion, may mark any content as suspicious and initiate takedowns.