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ANTL-STREAM MANIPULATION CODE OF BEST PRACTICE iTRODUCTION 1 Digal manipuiation~ including the industrial scale impersonation of organic activites and user profiles by automated processes, Inauthentic accounts, or human “trol farms" ‘threatens to hinder consumer and business confidence in digital goods and services. 2. Inthe music contest, this abuse often takes the frm of steam manipulation, 3. Stream manipulation involves the artifical creation, by human or non-human means, of tenline or ofin plays.on audio and audo-visual streaming services Le. where those plays do not represent genuine listening. Stream manipulation may be undertaken in respect of Individual or groups of recordings inorder to artificially Improve chart positioning, increase ‘market shat, increase royalty payments, of foratherdshonest purposes. 4, Stream manipulation hs the potential not ony to cause economic harm to streaming service providers, rights holders, artists, and advertizers, but also to distort the media's and fans? Impressions and understanding of the popularity of particular recordings and to harm ‘consumers’ use and enjoyment of streaming services by influencing algorithmic playback results. In addition to economic damage, it also hurts artists by providing them with ‘otentily misleading and artifical data and leaving them to elther compete with atiflaly Inflated steam counts or to consider engaging in these cosy, unethical, and improper practices themselves, 5. The signatories to this Code of Best Practice ths “Code”) acknowledge that rights holders, streaming service providers and third parties involved inthe dlstribution and marketing of ‘se can and should play 2 valuable role in tackling stream manipulation, and wish to cooperate with each other tothat end. {This Code outlines practical and reasonable measures to be taken by the signatories, where ‘commercaly reasonable and appropriate, to prevent, detect, end mitigate against the effects of steam manipulation, 7. Genuine end-user consumption of music or legitimate promotional activites donot ‘consitute stream manipulation and this Code Is not intended ta: prevent or disrupt legitimate consumption of musi (Le single or mutipl ull or partial plays initiated by genuine consumers as part of bona fide listening sessions taking place Inthe reporting country); 1 prevent oF disrupt legkimate promotion of music by rights holders (including third parties acting on thelr behal) or streaming service providers via playlists and other {enuine means; {undermine or prevent any individual action by any of the signatories to combat stream. ‘manipulation 1. The signatories also acknowledge the potential for dishonest manipulation of other key metrics on streaming services (eg. artificial boosting of folower/subecriber counts for particular rights holders/atts, or artifical reposting of recordings), which whilst not directly Comprising stream manipulation, can nevertheless result In particular rights holders, recordings, and/or artists gaining an unfair advantage. LEGITIMATE VERSUS ILLEGITIMATE CONSUMPTION 9. Forthe purposes of this Code the signatories agree thatthe lags, signals and other factors used to classify any particular consumption as illeitinate will vary according to ireumtances, and any ultimate determination shall corsier input from all relevant stakeholders 10. However, the signatories also agree that, n genera allintances of ilegitimate consumption are characterised as involving an absence of genuine demand for playback ofthe relevant recordings from genuine consumers. For clarity, programmed listening experiences reflect {genuine demand ifntated bya bona fide consumer in a genine listening session 11 Solly by way of examples the following activities would, absent reasonable evidence tothe contrary, be deemed stream manipulation ‘plays reasonably established to have been made purstant to an automated process linluding so-called ‘bots’ or ‘ick-arms’, but excladng any playback functionality avaiable as pat of the relevant streaming sevice (eg. payists, autoplay or rao style experiences), whether or not initiated by a bona fide consumer, and plays suiting from any ‘pay-for- pay arrangement i. where payment is made to any person or entity inorder to procure ata plays via streaming, regardless of whether such streaming is brought about via automated or non-utomated means, and with or without human intervention 12. Absent reasonable evidence tothe contrary, the signatories agre that plays resting from ‘marketing or promotional campaigns which merely encourage consumers to engage in sessions of genuine listening to particular artists or recordings shall be deemed legitimate consumption. PRACTICAL AND REASONABLE MEASURES AGAINST STREAM IMANIPULATION. 13. The signatories to this Code condemn the practice of stream manipulation, and agre to use reasonable efforts to communicates zero-tolerance approach to related activites 4. within thei respective organisations, e.g. in appropiate guidance and/or polices to ‘employees and consultants and b. tothied parties wherever deemed appropriate including pursuant to public statements and other ffl communications (eon the signatories websites or press comments) referencing their adoption of this Code, In the cave of fghts holder, such third parties may include external teams engaged in marketing and promotions, distributed label, artists and artists’ representatives. 14, fights holders agree te: |. undertake 2s part oftheir industry-lvel ant: piracy and content protection operations reasonable investigations to identity stream manipulation; and b. undertake reasonably appropriate and proportionate actions where there i reasonable evidence of stream manipulation 15. Streaming service providers agree to imolementa set of balanced, commercially reasonable ‘measures and controls enabling the prevention and/or reduction of steam manipulation, Including supporting effective detection and management of instances of suspected egitimate activities in a commercially and technologically reasonable and proportionate 16, tn the event of any suspected ilegtimate activity, rights holders shall provide reasonable support to streaming service providers’ investigation, including provision of llrelevant and avilable information. Streaming service providers agree, n their conduct of appropriate, commercial and technologically reasonable Investigations, to consider all relevant Information in connection wth and avalable atthe time of such investigations and to make ultimate determinations based on principles of feimess, consistency and, wherever posible, transparency. 17, The signatories wll consult with one another periodically to consider current information and developments on stream maninuaton, to enable an exchange of best practice and strategies for addressing the problem and to revise this Code where necessary 418, From time to time, the signatories may share information regarding thie parties including marketing and promotion companies) which have been found on the basis of reasonable evidence to have engaged in stream manipulation. ‘COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS. 19, The signatories wil undertake actions contemplated by ths Code In a manner ensuring full ‘compliance with applicable laws including national and EU competition laws. LEGAL STATUS OF CODE 20. This Code is not legally binding and does not create any contractual or pre-contractual obligations under any law or legal system. Nothing inthis Code shall be construed as creating any labilty, rights, af. a walver of any rights or obligations for any partes,or 2 releasing any Parties from therlegal obligations. This Code shall nt be construed in any way a replacing ‘oc interpreting any existing legal framework, This Code f not tobe use a, or form part f, evidence in any legal proceesings. 21. Nothing ln this Code shallaffect the terms of private agreements between rights holders and streaming sere providers.