GÉNESIS: THE KILLING AND DEATH OF A SONGGénesis is the best known song by Guillermo Venegas. It is so because it is beautiful and because it was the winner in 1969 of the Primer Festival de la Canción Latina, in México City on March 23, 1969. Then it was sung by Lucecita Benitez, known as the National Voice of Puerto Rico.
And we ask, what has happened with Génesis after 1969?These are the facts1. In Puerto Rico, after a suspicious Peermusic arrangement the mexican music publisher Promotora Hispano Americana de Música (PHAM) made an offer to Guillermo Venegas to publish and administer the song and the offer was accepted. We believe the contract was signed in Puerto Rico, as Guillermo venegas could not have been in Mexico on the date the contract was signed (the proof is the Venegas passport and in newspaper reports). PHAM was then somehow associated with Peermusic, something that surely Guillermo venegas was unaware of. Guillermo Venegas had previously had a terrible and hostile experience with Peermusic. Venegas used to describe Peermusic as crooks. This is because Peermusic never obtained new recordings for the songs Venegas assigned Peermusic in 1952 and did not pay him royalties earned by previous recordings. We say that Peermusic's arrangement was suspicious. We believe that Peermusic wanted the song Génesis (and the money it could earn) but could not go directly to the composer because of their hostile relation with the composer. In other words, we suspect, Peermusic repeted the "without the author suspecting" incident.
Peermusic always wanted to destroy the image of Guillermo Venegas and independece from Peermusi because he, in the 1950s, led a movement and a organization (named SPACEM) to protect the rights of Puerto Rico songwriters, organized precisely so that songwriters were paid due royalties, because music publishers (led by Peermusic) had a monopoly of the more successful songs of Puerto Rico songwriters and these were not getting their royalties paid. For example songwriter Pedro Flores in spite of being one of the all time more successful Latin American songwriters died broke and destitute. Pedro Flores assigned his songs to Peermusic but allegedly was not paid the millions of dollars in royalties he earned. Peermusic never forgave Guillermo Venegas because, even after death, continues to be a threat to Peermusic's business model.
2. PHAM surely alleges to to own the song for the p4% of the world market. Regardless, PHAM has never paid any royalties to the Venegas heirs in 16 years, since Guillermo Venegas died. We do not know if PHAM ever paid royalties to Guillermo Venegas while living, but we doubt it and Guillermo Venegas used to say he was never paid for the Lucecita recording of the song.
3. Peermusic alleges they own the song for the entire world except the american market. Peermusic alleges that PHAM transferred all the right to them as if such a thing was possible (it is not).4. The courts of Puerto Rico, on 2000 decided that the song belongs completely to the Venegas siblings and that the widow transferred all the possible rights she could have had to the venegas siblings. That means that if the song belonged to PHAM, the Venegas siblings are the beneficial owners.5. On 2004, Federal Judge José A. Fusté, said that the widow of Guillermo venegas was part owner of Génesis for the american market. The Judge mistakenly said the courts of Puerto Rico did not decide anything about the ownership of the song.
6. Since when we don't know, but the public performance rights organization ASCAP has the song in their catalog, and they license their catalog throughout the entire world, including the USA and Puerto Rico in violation of the Venegas heir's rights. It all means that the song can be performed in hundreds of thousands of places, radio and television stations. Both Peermusic and ASCAP have refused to remove the song from the ASCAP catalog.
7. ACEMLA says the own the song exclusively. It is a fraudulent allegation. That is what they said in a 2006 lawsuit against television station Televicentro. Anyway any right ACEMLA may have acquired was acquired, we believe, using fraudulent means.
8. Peermusic claimed it never earned any performance income from Venegas' most famous song, Génesis. This while alleging to own and administer the song for the entire world minus Puerto Rico, where they also (illegally) licensed the song. See claim here.
8. Peermusic alegó que nunca han ganado dinero alguno por la presentacion pública de la canción mas famosa de Venegas Génesis, mientras alegaban ser dueños y administradores de la canción para todo el mundo menos Puerto Rico, donde también la licenciaban ilegalmente. Ver su alegación aqui.
What doe it all means?
Total confusion in the music marketplace. In that market no one wants to record songs with joint owners and not a single representative. Also, in many major countries to use a song it necessary to be authorized by all joint owners and no one likes to negotiate terms with various separate owners.
As a result no single owner can license songs for a recording by to be sold by international recording label presently or in the future. Being that as it is, none of the many alleged owners of Génesis can license the song, a no one wants the problem of recording a song with such a confusing ownership situation. Also the possibility of the various joint owners agreeing to license jointly is impossible as many of them have the habit of not paying royalties due. The Venegas siblings have never been paid a single cent in royalties from PHAM, Peermusic and ACEMLA and it is known that the have collected over $100,000 after the death of Guillermo Venegas in 1993.
This all means that the song has no commercial value whatsoever for the owners of the song (the Puerto rico courts have decided the owners are the children heirs of the songwriter). The song is great but commercially worthless.
Also, in Puerto Rico, almost all radio and television stations do not play songs associated ACEMLA. As results, no one will record the song too.
What is the price for using Génesis in a concer, radio or television?
- If the song is licensed from a performance rights organization such as ASCAP and ACEMLA: Practically zero. One of these licenses may be for 50 million songs for $10,000 for one year, or less than one cent per song. Another one may cost $5,000 for 10,000 songs, or $0.50 per song.
- If the license were to be issued by the heirs of the composer, just the processing of the license will probably cost over $100. Then, who will get a license from the heirs of the composer? No one.
Due to the above reasons (and others), we think Génesis has not been recorded for more than 30 years except as follows:
a. 1993 Banco Popular television program video. The recording was fraudulently licensed by both Peermusic and ACEMLA.
b. 1999 John Cordero recording, licensed by Venegas siblings. The record was removed from the market after a lawsuit threat (tortuous interference) from ACEMLA.
c. 2000 Lucecita en Carniege Hall. The recording was fraudulently licensed by Peermusic.
d. ~2002 Dagmar recording, produced by Tony Mojena. Not licensed by anyone.
None of the above recordings, except the John Cordero one was made with a legal license, None has generated a single cents in royalties for the Venegas siblings.
That we know, outside the American and Puerto Rico territories, no one has recorded Génesis in the last 35 or so years. That we know, Guillermo Venegas never received any royalties for the song from anyone. The children heirs of Guillermo Venegas have never received any (or $0.0) royalties for the song.
Who will promote the song Génesis?
Under these conditions, no one. Génesis is not the first destroyed great song. The combination of corrupt music publishers, laws, lawsuit between owners and heirs has destroyed many great songs. But the case of Génesis is the most dramatic one.
Génesis is not alone
Génesis is not the only Guillermo Venegas song that has suffered death. All the songs that Peermusic has alleged to own have suffered the same luck. Of all the songs that Guillermo Venegas may have assigned to Peermusic on 1952, 57 years ago not one has been recorded a a result of a Peermusic license or promotion. In essence the songs are in deep freeze, dead. To understand see the incredible royalty report for $944 for 19 songs for more than 50 years (less than $1 per son per year). Little or none of those royalties were paid to Guillermo Venegas (no proof of payments exists) and none have been paid to the Guillermo Venegas heirs between 1993 and the present (2009).
The author of this page is Rafael Venegas, son of the composer and Executive Director of GVL Inc. This page or parts thereof may be copied as long as no alterations are made and credit is given to the author. © Copyright 2009, GVL Inc.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org tel. 787-250-7602 / Celular 787-310-3574