Spanish Rights Society SGAE President Pilar Jurado Ousted

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Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Pilar Jurado attends 'Confidencial' premiere at the Figaro Theater on May 30, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.

Spanish Rights Society SGAE experienced a sudden changing of the guard on Wednesday (April 15) with the ouster of president Pilar Jurado during a board meeting which was held via video conference, due to the current coronavirus confinement in Spain.

A motion of no confidence accusing Jurado of a “lack of transparency” in her administration was passed by a majority of 22 members, with 13 voting in Jurado’s favor.

“I believe in lawfulness and doing things as they should be done,” Jurado, 52, a Spanish opera singer who had held positions and served on boards of cultural institutions throughout her career, told Billboard last year.

Jurado had lasted 15 months in the position at the organization, which last May was expelled from CISAC, the International Confederation of Authors' Societies, after a series of investigations and controversies over SGAE’S collection and management of royalties.

The SGAE presidency has long been a revolving door: Jurado had replaced musician José Ángel Hevia, who was also expelled from the position with a vote of no confidence. Spanish playwright Fermin Cabrál was immediately named acting president after Jurado’s discharge.

During a contentious term, Jurado had succeeded in passing new statutes within the institution, which were necessary to comply with current European copyright law; the failure to create new statutes was one reason that the organization had been expelled from CISAC. But those measures have yet to be approved by Spain’s Ministry of Culture.

In the wake of the organization’s expulsion from CISAC, numerous artists had announced they were defecting from SGAE to join new private rights management companies that have been begun to break SGAE’s monopoly in Spain.

Under Jurado’s direction, SGAE had created a €15 million ($16.3 million) fund in aid for members during the current COVID-19 crisis. Jurado had estimated that the society would incur €75 million ($81.5 million) in losses due to repercussions from the pandemic. SGAE collected €290 million (over $315 million) in 2019.

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