UK Hairdresser Fined For Playing Music Even Though He Tried To Be Legal

from the the-system-is-designed-to-trip-you-up dept

We’ve pointed out many times just how ridiculously complex various licensing collection agencies are in the music space, especially when multiple collection societies cover the same music. The whole system seems designed to make it nearly impossible for anyone to actually play music legally. Take, for example, this situation in the UK, pointed out by reader mike allen, involving a hairdresser who had paid for a license from PRS For Music just to be allowed to turn on a radio in his shop… only to discover that he failed to pay the other UK collection society, PPL (home of the infamous CEO who insists that “for free” is a bogus concept). So even though this guy thought he was legit, he still ended up with a fine for £1,569.

In his defense, he claimed that he’d never even heard of PPL, and since he had a PRS license, he assumed (quite reasonably) that he was in the clear. Now, I’m sure that defenders of the system will quickly step up and say that it was his responsibility to find out what music licensing groups you have to hand over a tithe to each year, but all this guy wants to do is turn on his radio. For most people, it’s just common sense that you shouldn’t have to pay a fee just to turn on a radio in your barber shop. And then, once you’re informed that this totally nonsensical situation is, in fact, true, it seems quite reasonable to then assume that one license will let you turn on the radio. Finding out that you need two (or more) separate licenses just to turn on the radio (even though the radio already pays its fees and the music acts a promotion) just seems ridiculous for everyone who isn’t a recording industry exec or a long term copyright lawyer.

Copyright is not supposed to work this way.

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Companies: ppl, prs

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Comments on “UK Hairdresser Fined For Playing Music Even Though He Tried To Be Legal”

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618 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

DT100
Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 06:59 PM
PRS and PPL are parasites, and the copyright law is ridiculous. Rock FM or whatever station he had on will already have paid a ton of money to these people for a blanket licence to play music, and the BBC have to pay per song played. It’s absolutely crazy the end user has to pay AGAIN for something that’s already been paid for.

im a pc
Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 06:29 PM
WHAT has the world come to ? how many times do you hear of shoplifters,vandals,no insurance drivers etc in the news in brief that have actually commited crimes and recieved a fine around £200 and a slapped wrists. Do me a favour, this poor bloke is earning an honest living and he gets stung with a £1500 fine!!!!! im sorry but thats ridiculous, i mean how can this be right, there is no justice in the world for hardworking citizens.

Mutch_1938
Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 06:27 PM
If someone creates a cure for cancer or invents an electric car they can charge for this knowledge for 20 years. If someone writes `we all live in a yellow submarine`. They are paid for the rest of their lives. . I have just downloaded `the Eagles Greatest Hits` for free at Torrentz.com. There is no need to pay for any music now. Simply search for the torrent on the internet.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry but if you’re running a shop you are not an ‘end user’. You are adding value to the shopping experience of your business by playing the music, which you will profit from in some way, thus you must pay for it. The fact he paid up with the PRS means he agreed with this principle, but unfortunately made the mistake of not signing up with the PPL. If you’re running a business you should have a lawyer who can advise on these things – if you don’t have one then you run the risk of things like this happening!

TechDirt – you’re not reporting this fairly – “you need two (or more) separate licenses just to turn on the radio” – only if you are running a business and playing it to the public. Obviously you don’t need them as an individual when listening to your radio in private. Please don’t try to make out this is something that it’s not.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

So motive is important?

We used to play the radio in my jewelry store, because the jeweler liked to hear it. It had zip to do with increasing custom.

What if the barber played it because he likes to hear music? It’s okay, then? What if it’s music that his customers don’t even like? Would that make it okay, since it’s not increasing his custom?

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, not the motive, just whether or not you are a business playing it to the public.

If the barber played the music just because he liked the music… too bad. Whether it increases custom or not, you have to pay if you’re broadcasting licensed music to the public, in the UK. As a business owner, you take the decision and thus the risk of paying for a license in the hope of increased custom (or not paying for it but risking a fine!).

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

No, he only paid the performance license, not the publishing license. In the UK, they are split up like that because often the person/people who wrote the music is not the same as the person/people who have performed on the recording of it. He’s not being made to pay twice, but for two different things.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Eh?! You tip them anyway? But why, if you don’t agree with the principle of it?! It has everything to do with your principles as you’re not forced to tip. Very strange…

What I was ‘gathering’ was the fact the he had already paid the PRS licensing fee, so he was already aware that he had to pay something to broadcast the music. Unfortunately he hadn’t done his research properly and forgot to set up an arrangement with the PPL too.

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

What he’s saying is that you can’t view an action that he took because of some law-buying parasites that serve no purpose in society as indication that he agrees with the principle…

Apparently, since you have no actual skills except sucking money that you didn’t earn like a leech, you failed to understand such a simple concept.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Yes I can! If he didn’t agree with the principle, he would either have not paid and faced the consequences, or not paid and stopped playing the music altogether. He instead decided to pay, because he obviously felt having commercial music played in his business was important and worth paying for.

I’ve no idea what you are talking about in your second paragraph.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Ok, you’re just being silly. Everytime someone pays for something does not mean they agree with the principle of paying it. Parking meters are a great example. In Chicago, we sold our parking meters to a private company who jacked up the prices for them 800% overnight. I think this is an absolutely abhorrent practice and I’m trying to figure out how it’s legal to sell public road space to a private company, particularly as my taxes are already paying for that space.

But guess what? I still pay the parking meters, because I don’t have any choice. My dogs need to go the dog beach, so every once in a while I’m forced to pay. I could choose to NOT go to the dog beech and let my beloved animals get fat and unhealthy….but I don’t want to. So I pay $4.50/hour to park in a public space my taxes already paid for.

See how that works? I DO NOT agree with the practice, yet I have to pay….

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

I’m confused – if your taxes already paid for the space, why were there parking meters in the first place?

Anyway, no, you do not have to pay. Catch a bus to the beach. Hire a cab. Ask a friend to take you over. Get ‘rid of your dogs! Or as you say, just don’t go there. “I don’t want to” – exactly – it’s your choice. You are not forced in any way to pay.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

“With the meters, I was asking because the fact they have them at all shows that the parking spaces are not (fully) covered by your taxes.”

The level to which you are naive and logically simplistic is breathtaking. My city government is double dipping on the parking spaces because they can get away with it, not because they need to. The fact that the spaces are covered by taxes is laughable. When they sold the metering rights to the private company, my city/state taxes were not reduced. GASP! How can that BE!!??

“If you continue to abide by the rules, then YOU ARE AGREEING TO THEM. If you don’t agree to them, don’t go along with them.”

Oh, COME ON! You can’t be THAT simple, can you? The whole point of punishment through the law is to get people to obey laws they don’t agree with….

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:14 Re:

Er, grow up? Uh, okay then. Let’s try this ONE LAST TIME:

I already pay for the parking spaces through city and state taxes that go to maintain roads and curbs. I also already pay for the beaches and parks, including the dog beach, where these meters have been put in place. I also pay for the right to use my car in the city in the form of a city stick, and in the state with my license and license sticker. Yet, to take my dogs (which I also had to get a city tag for both of them) to the beach I’ve paid for in the car I’ve been taxed on, I THEN have to pay for the parking spot I’ve already paid for.

Now….AGAIN….I didn’t say anyone was forcing me to drive or take my dogs to the beach….but I’ve already fucking PAID for the privelage of doing so! So, if I decide to put up with my corrupt ass govt. and pay for the meters every once in a while, that DOES NOT mean I agree with the principle behind paying for them. Jesus Christ, how is this REALLY that difficult. I’ve got two terrible possibilities to choose from:

1. Not using all the shit I’ve been forced to pay for through taxation

2. Paying the meters that shouldn’t be there

Just because I choose one of the two terrible things doesn’t mean I AGREE with it….

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:16 Re:

“If you just go along with it, you are as bad as them.”

Well, fuck you very much then, shithead. This is an example of the “if you don’t like it leave” mentality that pisses me the fuck off. Just because you happen to agree with how it’s done NOW doesn’t mean I have to leave or I’m “as bad as them”. That pussy shit doesn’t get bad things changed.

No. Instead, I decide to continue talking to people about this stuff, rallying support, voting, and generally trying to raise hell over this. And you have the balls to tell me I’m bad if I don’t leave? Have you no respect for freedom and the process by which democratic laws are revised, changed, and altered?

Do you have any concept of how insulting it is to tell an interested member of the public that he’s “as bad as them” just because he’s working to change things internally? Good to see fascism and nationalism is alive and well in the UK….

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:18 Re:

“Do you have any concept of how insulting it is to tell an interested member of the public that he’s “as bad as them” just because he’s working to change things internally?”

“No, that wasn’t what I said at all.”

“If you truly believe you’ve already paid for the parking space and that your city is corrupt, move to another city.”

I mean….are you kidding me, or do you not see how you owe me an apology?

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Because the radio station didn’t pay to allow other businesses to rebroadcast the music on their premises. The radio station just paid to broadcast it to individuals in domestic/private locations.

In the UK, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 states that if recorded music is played in public, every play of every recording requires the permission of the owner of the copyright in that recording. You may not think this is fair or right, but it is the law as it currently stands, and that’s why the barber got fined.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I do believe that waitresses deserve to earn a living wage. I do not believe that I should have to pay it directly. So I tip, and support legislature that gives waitresses the same minimum wage as everyone else.

You see, my refusal to tip wouldn’t have an impact on the situation, except to adversely harm the waitress even more than they’re already harmed by the practice. Refusing to tip wouldn’t support my principle, just as refusing to pay wouldn’t support his principal (if he has any principals about this issue, which is in doubt).

So paying wouldn’t be against his principles (if he has any about this issue) and more than my actions negate my principles.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You don’t believe you should have to pay a waitress’s living wage, if you use their service?! Again, very strange.

Why not just not use restaurants that don’t pay their staff a fair amount, if you care that much about how much they earn? Or do what most people do and tip when you get good service (but not when you get bad service).

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Well if he didn’t agree with it, why did he continue playing their licensed music in his barbershop?!”

How about because under the current iteration of assanine IP laws he doesn’t have any other choice if he wants his radio on? That certainly doesn’t mean he AGREES with the practice, does it? He simply doesn’t have any other options.

I’ll never get this idea that everytime something is used to make money, the creators of that something should be paid. It just doesn’t make any sense, nor is it used in most other goods in existence. We rent office space, but we don’t pay royalties to the real estate company everytime we make a sale. We have VoIP phones, but we don’t pay XO Communications every time we bring on a new customer. Most of the hardware we use for our managed services platforms involve manufacturers paying US to use it, not the other way around….

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

But he doesn’t have to have the radio on – he did have a choice, to not turn it on! If he doesn’t want to pay, he simply needs to stop broadcasting music to the public. That was the other option that he always had.

It’s not necessarily about the music being used to make money, it’s about the wishes of the creators/publishers. In this case, they have chosen to use the PRS and PPL, who require businesses to pay for a license to broadcast the music they are responsible for. But of course, no artist is forced to use those services.

And your office space metaphor is actually exactly how the licensing works. Generally businesses pay a fixed amount for their license to broadcast music, not per play of a track or per person that hears it, just like you pay a fixed amount to rent your office each week/month/year. In both cases its irrespective of how many sales you make.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“But he doesn’t have to have the radio on – he did have a choice, to not turn it on! If he doesn’t want to pay, he simply needs to stop broadcasting music to the public. That was the other option that he always had.”

I never said differently. But just because he agreed to pay for the license does NOT mean that he agrees with the practice, which is what I took you to mean when you originally stated: “The fact he paid up with the PRS means he agreed with this principle”. That’s just a pure logic fail….

“It’s not necessarily about the music being used to make money, it’s about the wishes of the creators/publishers.”

And here we go. FINALLY! At least this is an honest position to take, albeit one I simply can’t seem to square with the law. Copyright is not a mechanism to protect creator’s rights, and these licensing schemes are built upon copyright. Copyright is a mechanism to get artists to create MORE art for the benefit of the public. When these collection agencies twst that law to require double and triple payment for the same thing, like music being played on the radio, they do a disservice to the law, be it UK law or American law or wherever. Honestly, this is just getting silly.

“And your office space metaphor is actually exactly how the licensing works.”

I get how the licensing works. YOU were the one that said: “If they’re playing music as part of their business, as a way to increase custom (just like shops/bars do), then yes, they have to pay the license fees.” The idea seems to be the creators think that if their creations are used to make other people money, they automagically deserve a cut. And that is really, REALLY stupid.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Sorry but yes it does. If you don’t agree with a principle, going along with it is the last thing you do. It’s not your business’ right to be able to broadcast music to the public without a license to do so. If you don’t agree with the principle of needing a license, you either stop broadcasting the music, or you continue but risk the consequences. He did neither, he paid up, which meant he agreed with it.

“Copyright is not a mechanism to protect creator’s rights” – of course it is! It is about giving you control of what happens to your work, by making it the legal default that you own all rights to it.

“Copyright is a mechanism to get artists to create MORE art for the benefit of the public” – not necessarly. If the artist chooses to use copyright to make money from their work, which means they are more likely to continue creating it (because it’s self-supporting), then sure, but copyright isn’t only about this.

“The idea seems to be the creators think that if their creations are used to make other people money, they automagically deserve a cut.” How is that stupid?! It seems perfectly fair to me. I’m happy to give my work away for non-commercial use, but if someone makes money from it, why can’t I get a share?! This is common practise in many creative industries.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

> Copyright is not a mechanism to protect
> creator’s rights” – of course it is! It is
> about giving you control of what happens to
> your work, by making it the legal default
> that you own all rights to it.

This is nonsense, at least regarding U.S. copyright law. The U.S. Constitution sets out the clear purpose of copyright law and it’s not to give artists control of what happens to their work:

Article I, Section 8
Congress shall have the power… to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

So you see, in the U.S., the stated purpose and legal basis of copyright is exactly what Dark Helmet said it was: to encourage artists to create MORE art for the benefit of the public.

romeosidvicious (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Simple really. He read a news story where someone got fined for playing a radio in public, like the mechanic shop who played a radio for their mechanics to listen to while they worked but since the customers could hear it they got fined, and thought he ought to pay the license because he likes playing music and didn’t want to get fined. He gave in to the extortion he just didn’t give in to enough of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Can you even hear yourself? He wanted to turn on a radio. A RADIO. Why in the FUCK should ANYONE have to do any kind of research into that? You press the power button. Voila!

You’re multi-dipping on your fees, getting paid by the radio stations, and getting paid by the people playing that music, as well as all kinds of various taxes and other things on top of devices, and you’re trying to defend it? Do you have any idea what kind of a scumball you come across as?

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Because THERE ARE LAWS. Ignorance is not an excuse. If you’re running a business, you have legal obligations. If you don’t understand them, you risk the consequences. That’s why most people don’t have their own businesses, because they don’t want the responsibilities.

If you don’t like the licensing laws, simply don’t listen to the music that is affected by them. It’s very easy to opt-out!

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“If you don’t like the licensing laws, simply don’t listen to the music that is affected by them. It’s very easy to opt-out!”

What about the stories of collection societies coming after businesses that play only UNLICENSED music and INDEPENDENT artists? Is it right in you mind that these parasite collection societies demand payment on music that they have NO control over just because there is a chance that some piece of music that they control [i]might[/i] be played?

These asshats make it so that there is no chance to opt-out.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

I haven’t heard those stories. If they are true then hopefully the collection societies will have retreated and apologised to the businesses at the very least.

No, I don’t believe that’s right. What happened in THIS case though, if you read the original article, was that the barber did broadcast licensed music in his shop, which was why he got fined.

You simply opt-out by not playing licensed music. They can’t make you get a license if you never play it.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

How is it unjust unmoral or stupid, sorry?

If an artist creates something and they decide that they want to license it (i.e. a license is required, which may have a fee depending on who is using it and what they’re using it for) when being played in a public place, what’s wrong with that? Nobody forces the owner of the public place to play the artist’s work.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

> Because THERE ARE LAWS

In the U.S. there used to be laws that said black people had to sit in the back of the bus, too. (And couldn’t eat in restaurants with whites or stay in the same hotels or drink from the same water fountains or go to the same schools.)

Did the existence of those laws make them right, moral or ethical?

Did the fact that the vast majority of black people obeyed those laws mean they agreed with them in principle?

I hope you’re finally starting to comprehend the fundamental idiocy of your position.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: Re: (@Dave Nattriss) Really?

Quote #1: “The fact he paid up with the PRS means he agreed with this principle, but unfortunately made the mistake of not signing up with the PPL.”
What evidence do you have that this shop owner agreed to the principle of these fees? Did you interview him? Did you read an interview where he expressed this? Did he post it on the barbershop.com blog?
That is an amazing bit of mind reading ability you display here. Just because he paid DOES NOT mean he agreed to anything in principle!

Quote #2: TechDirt – you’re not reporting this fairly – “Hello kettle? this is the pot, you’re black!”
If you want to be fair about something then quit double and triple charging for listening to the music on the radio!

Quote #3: “You are adding value to the shopping experience of your business by playing the music, which you will profit from in some way, thus you must pay for it.”
Excuse me? There are many who don’t want music being played while they shop. Now you are degrading the shopping experience – do these collection agencies offer rebates or discounts when the music does not enhance the experience? What about commercials? You know, the way the people who are supposed to get paid for their talents, have their bills paid – by the radio station! These commercials also do not enhance my shopping experience! Turning on the radio – really anywhere in the free world – should never have the phrase: “thus you must pay for it.” attached to it. Your entitlement mentality (collecting multiple times for something that has already been paid for) is nothing more than simply theft. However, because this is systematically done by an organization I believe it is better known as racketeering.

Book ’em Dano!!

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: (@Dave Nattriss) Really?

The evidence of him agreeing to the fees was the very act of him paying them. If he didn’t agree, why would he have paid?! He could have just stopped broadcasting the music to the public, or flaunted the rules.

By paying a fee and essentially buying a license, you enter into a contract with the licenser, which means you have implicitly agreed with the terms of the license. If you didn’t then you wouldn’t have paid.

Nobody is double or triple charging. Each fee is for a different thing. The radio station pays a license fee to broadcast the music directly to the general public. If a middleman such as a barber wants to come in and change this flow, they have to have an agreement in place too. The radio station has not paid to allow all other businesses to rebroadcast the music. And in the UK the PRS and PPL are two separate organisations – one representing performance/broadcast rights, and one representing publishing rights. They are separate because the artist who recorded a track (and the record label that they might be signed to) isn’t necessarily the writer of the track (or the publishing company that the writer might be signed to). Try understanding the music business before claiming ‘double and triple’ charging.

So if there are people that don’t want the music in the shop, don’t play it in the shop! It’s up the business owner to decide if they want to pay for the music broadcast – whether they think it will make them more sales or less. If you believe it will have an overall negative effect, then that’s your view, but this barber wanted music in his shop.

Just because you’re used to, as an individual, not having to pay for access to radio stations, it does not mean you have any right to free radio.

It’s not racketeering because nobody is being forced to listen to the music. If the business owner doesn’t like it, he just needs to stop broadcasting the music!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 (@Dave Nattriss) Really?

The evidence of him agreeing to the fees was the very act of him paying them. If he didn’t agree, why would he have paid?! He could have just stopped broadcasting the music to the public, or flaunted the rules.

You keep repeating this point, and it seems like you actually believe it. It’s a bit surprising that there really are people this naive in the world. He paid because he had no choice. That does not mean he agrees with it.

By paying a fee and essentially buying a license, you enter into a contract with the licenser, which means you have implicitly agreed with the terms of the license. If you didn’t then you wouldn’t have paid.

Agreeing to a contract at the point of a gun (i.e., the threat of a huge fine for doing something as simple as turning on the radio) is not the same thing as a mutually beneficial transaction agreed upon by mutually consenting parties.

Nobody is double or triple charging. Each fee is for a different thing. The radio station pays a license fee to broadcast the music directly to the general public. If a middleman such as a barber wants to come in and change this flow, they have to have an agreement in place too.

That absolutely is double and triple charging. The very same broadcast — which has already been paid for — is being paid for again. It’s the very definition of double and triple charging.

They are separate because the artist who recorded a track (and the record label that they might be signed to) isn’t necessarily the writer of the track (or the publishing company that the writer might be signed to). Try understanding the music business before claiming ‘double and triple’ charging.

Indeed, but PRS and PPL already get paid from the radio station broadcasts. This absolutely is double dipping.

So if there are people that don’t want the music in the shop, don’t play it in the shop!

I love this line of argument for the sheer naivete of it.

It’s up the business owner to decide if they want to pay for the music broadcast – whether they think it will make them more sales or less.

Music in shops has little to nothing to do with it increasing sales. I love this fable that the industry repeats and which has apparently brainwashed young Davey here. Music in shops is not about selling more at all. It’s about keeping the staff from going nutty in the silence.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 (@Dave Nattriss) Really?

“He paid because he had no choice.”

Of course he had a choice. He didn’t have to play the music at all. Then he wouldn’t have to pay. HE HAD A CHOICE!

“Agreeing to a contract at the point of a gun (i.e., the threat of a huge fine for doing something as simple as turning on the radio) is not the same thing as a mutually beneficial transaction agreed upon by mutually consenting parties.”

It’s quite easy to simply not turn the radio on, Mike. There was no gun-point hold-up – you are being ridiculous now. If you don’t agree with the terms of what you’re paying for, DON’T PAY.

“That absolutely is double and triple charging. The very same broadcast — which has already been paid for — is being paid for again. It’s the very definition of double and triple charging.”

No, what was paid for was the license to broadcast the music to individuals in domestic/private places, not in commercial public places. There is a difference, whether you like it or not.

“Indeed, but PRS and PPL already get paid from the radio station broadcasts. This absolutely is double dipping.”

No, because they are being paid for a different thing by the radio stations than by the business owners. Personal and commercial licenses rarely have the same cost. If I want have Sky Sports (satellite) TV in my home, it costs around £25/month. If I own a pub and want to show it there, it costs hundreds a month. The license that I am paying for is different depending on the place that the broadcast takes place. As a listener, radio stations are kind enough to pay the license fee for the music they broadcast so that I don’t have to personally pay it (but if the technology existed, they could charge me instead, just like with pay TV). But the fees they pay for this do not cover public broadcasts, and the law states that the owner of the public place has to pay for the different license for this.

“Music in shops is not about selling more at all. It’s about keeping the staff from going nutty in the silence.”

Fine, so play it for that reason instead, but accept that the public will still hear it, whether or not they want to, and thus an appropriate license still needs to be paid.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 (@Dave Nattriss) Really?

Of course he had a choice. He didn’t have to play the music at all. Then he wouldn’t have to pay. HE HAD A CHOICE!

So you believe there is no problem with denying an individual the ability to make use of their own products (radio) to capture public goods (radio waves) on their own property?

Interesting.

It’s quite easy to simply not turn the radio on, Mike. There was no gun-point hold-up – you are being ridiculous now. If you don’t agree with the terms of what you’re paying for, DON’T PAY.

I see. You say this as if before he bought the radio he had to sign an agreement. He did not.

When the Mafia stops by your shop and says you need to pay up for “protection” to make sure “nothing bad happens,” does the store owner who pays up “agree” with the mafia?

No, what was paid for was the license to broadcast the music to individuals in domestic/private places, not in commercial public places. There is a difference, whether you like it or not.

No doubt. We all recognize what the law says. You can stop repeating it. My point all along has been how nonsensical the law is. You have not responded to that. Any time anyone calls you on it you resort back to “but that’s the law!” That’s not an answer.

Fine, so play it for that reason instead, but accept that the public will still hear it, whether or not they want to, and thus an appropriate license still needs to be paid.

Yes, and once we had a law that said slavery was okay and that alcohol was not. And you would have been among those who said “the law is the law, so deal with it.” And you would have been rightly mocked, as you are here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 (@Dave Nattriss) Really?

“The radio station pays a license fee to broadcast the music directly to the general public”

The barber and his clients are all a part of the general public. Now… explain to me why he should have to pay 2 diff placed to obtain licensing? Why not have it all under one umbrella and make it simple?

By the way… I’m never going to pay anyone to turn on my radio… Why? because I have come to realize that the laws put in place are there only to benefit the people that enforce them, not the people that actually have lives to live and bills to pay. Most of the laws on the books are no longer based on common sense anymore… They are bases on a fantasy that people give a shit about the government and each other.

Dave… If I thought I could get away with it… I would kill all of the executives of all of the ‘licensing’ groups and burn the buildings to the ground. They have no purpose on this planet other than to line their pockets with money they did not earn. I used to be a DJ and had to pay ASCAP and BMI. I stopped paying when I found out they were not paying the artists for the work. They kept the money for themselves. Something to think about there.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 (@Dave Nattriss) Really?

The barber has to pay for performance and publishing licenses because if he rebroadcasts the radio broadcast on his commercial premises, that is not covered by the radio station’s license (which as I said is just for the station to broadcast DIRECTLY to individuals, not through a business).

You would murder if you thought you could get away with it? I think you need to be committed to an institution and not arguing on this site, if you truly believe that.

With BMI and ASCAP, they claim they do collect royalties for their members (“ASCAP is the only performing rights organization in the U.S. owned and run by songwriters, composers and music publishers”, “Broadcast Music, Inc. collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it distributes as royalties to songwriters, composers & music publishers”). Are you saying they are liars?! How exactly did you find out that they weren’t paying artists?

Greg G says:

Re: Re: Re:

Umm, no. There have been reports on here (no, I don’t have a link, search for it yourself) where people not running a business, but playing their radios in their garages have been told they have to pay up for licenses.

My response is still the same to anyone that would try make me pay up: Fruit your hole. Leave me alone.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If it is possible for one of your customers to hear the music (by walking through your office to a conference room, or OVERHEARING IT WHILE ON THE PHONE WITH YOU) then, yes – you need to pony up the bucks to these guys or risk a fine.

Moral of the story – listening to music in the workplace has become too much of a hassle and you should stop your employees from doing so.

Oh – and if you are singing, make sure you pay for that as well:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091021/1134566619.shtml

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Err, I don’t know where you got that one from but we certainly don’t need to get permission from the gov to buy a TV.

We need to pay a TV licence to watch ‘over the air’ broadcasts which is used to fund the BBC’s radio, television and internet services but not if the TV isn’t plugged into an aerial.

The Baker says:

Re: Re: Re: UK TV Licences

When I lived in Belfast (Yes, it is a part of the UK) I bought a TV and a DVD player to watch DVDs. A month later I got a Nasty letter from the TV licensing folks stating that I needed to pay the equivalent of about $500US for the two color TVs I bought. No amount of explanation by myself or the Solicitor for the company I worked for would dissuade them that the DVD player wasn’t a color TV or that the TV was not connected to a antenna or that I was a US resident living there temporarily. I had to fork over the 500 bucks.
Seems to me that the UK TV Licensing Bureau is as bad as the collection agencies.

Avatar28 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

That is only true if the term “public” includes horses. These are the same asshats who tried to sue a stable for not paying a license for playing the radio for their HORSES! Then there was the garage that got sued because a mechanic was listening to his radio while working on cars in the garage area which was NOT open to the public. I could go on and on but it would get boring.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Now your showing your true colors

Your inability to listen to real world examples is disingenuous to the conversation. People see a problem and you argue about the technicalities of the law, thus you are right?

Try joining the conversation. We would all appreciate that!

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Jeeze, give me a chance. 22 minutes?!

The horse story is a spin. The license is required because it’s a business with more than two people, which is how the UK law currently stands – “Because her stables, the Malthouse Equestrian Centre in Bushton, Wilts, employs more than two people it is treated in the same way as shops, bars and cafés which have to apply for a licence to play the radio… Rather than pay the fee, she now leaves the radio off except on Sundays when she is alone at the stable yard.”

Seems fine to me.

With the garages case, I don’t see the problem here either. The PRS claimed the music could be heard by customers, which means it was being played in public (as defined by the law).
The company “said it has a 10 year policy banning the use of personal radios in the workplace”, in which case, they should pass the fines onto the employees that broke the ban.

ac says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

but earlier you said

“No, if you’re in an office you’re not playing the radio to the public, so you don’t have ‘performance’ licensing to worry about.”

and

“The rule is actually to play the radio to the public (shops are open to the public), not just to play it at your business.”

Is this yet another licensing form where the stable and staff are not considered private?

Anonymous Coward says:

PRS v PPL

According to the PPL website (annoyingly the part that I am referencing is a flash booklet application), PPL represents recorded music and the interests of record companies whereas PRS represents performing rights. They point out that both agencies need to be paid.

The original article doesn’t provide any insight as to the method by which PPL informed the hairdresser of their obligations and gave them the chance to pay. Given that they are a collections agency who are trying to get paid, they presumably start out by trying to get the money. The article doesn’t go into any detail about the lengths that the hairdresser tried to defend himself in court. The argument “I didn’t know about you guys” isn’t going to win any awards as a defence.

The obvious counter to this shakedown is to not use music in any form. No radio, no CD player, no hold music on the phone.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The first AC asked why there’s a license to play something that anyone can listen to for free. AC 2 replied with a comparison to the TV license suggesting that the radio has a similar OTA license. I know they don’t, I was just pointing out the fallacy of the comparison.

The first AC still has a valid point. The radio station pays the license to broadcast what they pay to anyone and everyone, why does someone have to pay a second license if anyone else can hear their radio?

ac says:

this is ridiculous enough...

to make me want to go on a copyright violating spree. But seriously, the collection agencies aren’t appearing to be any different than organized crime. You open a business, pay state and local taxes that go toward law enforcement. You pay insurance to cover your assets. Then the Mafia comes around to get their cut to “insure” your shop doesn’t get “accidentally” burnt down. Then the Russian Mafia comes in to get their cut so your shot doesn’t “accidentally” get burnt down. Now replace the mafia references above with PRS and PPL, and replace “burnt down” with sued.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

less moneyfrom radio

For years radio stations have been trying to get businesses to play the radio over PA systems. It greatly increases listenership which results in more payments to artists at least some artists, and it promotes the music. Demanding licences for playing the radio only hurts musicians in the long run.

I don’t understand why radio stations have not lobbied to protect the ability of businesses to play the radio.

Anonymous Coward says:

Remember

Remember the days when the Radio would be blasting the latest tunes out of your local store downtown or the tunes blasting from the jukebox at the hamburger stand. Now we get to walk around in sterile malls that play canned crap. Who even wants to go out and shop anymore? I was in the big mall lately to see a movie (legally) and not one song could be heard in the entire mall and you know it’s because of licensing. We are turning into a silent society where the only music we will get to hear is what we paid for and is only piped into our registered wifi headphones, so no one else can hear it or copy, even it in their minds.
indie Musicians unite!!!

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Remember

Personally, I think most of the popular music these days is somewhat awful, so the mall not playing any music is fine in my book.

However, it’s the artists that should be up in arms about these collection agencies and their antics. If you really think the mall not playing popular music will stop people from going there, you are delusional. People don’t go to the mall to listen to the music, they go because they have to BUY something. Now, if there was a nice song playing and a sign in the music store I was walking past showing me the cover of the CD that the song is on (and perhaps a T-Shirt), that may be a pretty nice promotion for the artist. Instead, I don’t hear their new music, I continue to listen to the White Album, and continue to complain that the new music available sucks.

In the meantime, the collection agency is doing it’s collecting, giving a percentage of the money to some artists (just the big ones, because the small guys don’t matter) and keeping a big chunk of it for ‘looking out for the rights of the artists’. I think mobsters go to jail for the same activity.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Remember

These agencies are supposed to collect funds on behalf of artists, but their actions are driving customers away. Neither customers nor artists are being helped by this.

You say that the mall customer should boycott the mall because of the lack of music? I say that the mall customer should boycott artists affiliated with those agencies because of their tactics. Then maybe they’ll learn. 🙂

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Remember

When you say customers, you mean the public buying the recordings, or the businesses paying to have permission to broadcast them in their premises?

If the agencies are collecting more money, then of course the artists are going to earn more.

Sure, the mall could only play certain artists, that would work too. But in any case, don’t blame the agencies for simply carrying out the wishes of their clients (artists).

Pitabred (profile) says:

Re: Re: Remember

So what work, exactly, is the “performance” that’s happening that you’re trying to get paid for? Are you actually doing anything during the performance? So why should you expect people to “stump up” and pay for you to do jack shit and collect money?

The disconnect here is you. You don’t seem to realize that a rational, sane person sees no additional value from you added when they play the radio, so they see no reason to pay. As it should be. If you want to keep collecting money, you need to get your ass off the Internet and start actually working.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: TV Licence

Sorry but while the TV license does pay for all of the BBCs activities, as things stand you do not need to have a TV license to listen to the radio, use the BBC website or play non-live broadcasts on iPlayer.

This case is about broadcasting commercial music in public. The performing rights society (PRS) cover the licensing for actual playing of the recordings to the public, while the PPL look after the licensing of the publishing rights of the songs that are played to the public.

http://www.ppluk.com/en/Music-Users/Why-you-need-a-licence/

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: TV Licence

The performing rights society (PRS) cover the licensing for actual playing of the recordings to the public, while the PPL look after the licensing of the publishing rights of the songs that are played to the public.

So why on earth did the PRS take this guy’s money and not advise him that he needed a second license? It must have been really obvious to them that he wasn’t playing live music in a hairdressers. Seems to me like they are the really incompetent party here.

Mt advice to him is that in the UK there is now a substantial stock of public domain recordings of classical music that he could play without paying anyone at all.

(At least until/unless the term extensionists get their way – and that hasn’t happened yet.)

Avatar28 (profile) says:

Radio remotes

This makes me wonder. Many times radio stations (here in the States at least) will do remote units. They will send out a truck and a radio personality to a remote location (often in conjunction with a sale at a store or some other event). When they do they set up a PA system playing their station outside. Would they be expected to pay TWICE to do this? Or would the business end up getting sued for it?

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Copyright not supposed to work this way?

Of course copyright is supposed to work that way.

It’s supposed to enable the privileged copyright holder to extort money from the instigators of any cultural exchange involving the covered work.

Did you really believe those glib pretexts that copyright is supposed to encourage learning, promote the progress, facilitate cultural exchange, or actually enrich anyone other than publishers?

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Copyright not supposed to work this way?

I don’t think anyone would ever claim that protecting copyright does anything towards encouraging learning, promoting progress, facilitating cultural exchange or general enrichment.

Copyright is about letting the owner/creator of the work choose what happens to it, be that licensing it to anyone via the PRS/PPL, deciding that only their friends can ever listen to it, giving it away for free without any conditions, or whatever.

The reality is most creators go down the money route because they need to earn a living. Nothing wrong with that.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copyright not supposed to work this way?

“Copyright is about letting the owner/creator of the work choose what happens to it,”

God damn it, NO IT ISN’T!!! Even pro-copyright economists agree that the purpose of copyright is a balance between creator and user privelages so as to more greatly benefit THE PUBLIC. The focused beneficiary of copyright is ALWAYS supposed to be the general public, not the creator. Consequentialists concurr.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copyright not supposed to work this way?

Copyright is about letting the owner/creator of the work choose what happens to it, be that licensing it to anyone via the PRS/PPL, deciding that only their friends can ever listen to it, giving it away for free without any conditions, or whatever.

The reality is most creators go down the money route because they need to earn a living.

No copyright is all about creating a tradeable asset that can be exploited by middlemen. When it was invented only middlemen were allowed to hold it. Later they allowed the authors to hold it initially – but since the author could do nothing with it it was almost always sold outright to the middlemen who have – until very recently – been monopoly customers of the creator as well as monopoly suppliers to the public.

Most creators go down what you call “the money route” because they have been brainwashed for 300 years by the middlemen into believing that it is their only/best way to make a living.

Nothing wrong with that.

There is plenty wrong with it. It is immoral – there is no moral right to have your cake and eat it.

BBT says:

Re: Re: Copyright not supposed to work this way?

“Copyright is about letting the owner/creator of the work choose what happens to it”

Wrong. Copyright is about providing an incentive for creators to create. It coincidentally happens to provide some limited control over what happens to the work…but not very much.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Copyright not supposed to work this way?

Well Dave, in 1709 Queen Anne claimed copyright would encourage learning, many (Mike included) believe the Framers of the US constitution eight decades later thought it would promote the progress, and far too many indoctrinated buffoons today believe that without copyright there wouldn’t be even half as many novel works published.

Do you really think it’s good that any privileged entity (corporation or person) should be able to exert the power of the state against all others to constrain their cultural liberty concerning a given work? Even for a year, let alone a century. Nice to have such power if you’re into power, but whether it is ‘good’ is another matter, especially if you’re on the receiving end of such power wielded by a psychopathic corporation looking for statutory damages in excess of a million dollars.

And all you were doing was sharing some music…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Please care somewhere else

You informing people of the laws does not change your inability to engage this topic critically.

For one you could rightly point out that a “reproduction” through digital or analog means is obviously not a performance. I am not sure how UK law got stretched to this ridiculous conclusion but it is self evident to everyone here except you that there is something inherently wrong with this.

You spew on about the law but the purpose of this post was the question which you can’t seem to wrap you head around. There is a way to inform and not stifle or control the discussion. I am hoping you will figure it out someday!

Anonymous Coward says:

You seem to care a bit too much, being the only one here to pretty much side with the PRS/PPL who, let’s face it, operate in very mafia-like fashions!!!! LOL! If the music business can’t make money selling records/CDs (which is a dead business), they turn to suing their customers – bad/fair reporting?

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m just siding with the truth.

How is a business owner a customer, sorry? They simply sue the people that steal their music, which is perfectly fair.

And by the way, recorded music is not a dead business in the slighest. UK single sales are higher than ever before: http://www.bpi.co.uk/press-area/news-amp3b-press-release/article/2009-is-record-year-for-uk-singles-sales.aspx

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m just siding with the truth.


And by the way, recorded music is not a dead business in the slighest. UK single sales are higher than ever before:

Well be careful to be accurate then. The AC said: The music business can’t make money selling records/CDs

Your response relates to downloaded singles – that is a quite different thing from what the AC referred to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I see your true colors

Ahhh now we see who you really are. Siding with the “truth” as you put it is dodging the obvious. Laws are often wrong and poorly written and you have done nothing to support you stance other than restate the law over and over again.

You really think your engaging people with this? Oh wait! We are all “pirates” and selling CD’s isn’t dead! Ohhh no, in fact more and more young people are buying CD’s everyday. Soon Ipods will phase out because CD players with their physical $20 media was always inherently better.

Alright you have convinced me Dave, you are special kind of idiot.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: re: Dave Nattriss /Anon coward

How so?! I’m a freelancer who believes in an open market where people can do/charge for their work as they wish.

Weird. Then why do you support gov’t sanctioned bodies who have a mandate to demand cash from any company playing music, and who do so with gov’t set rates?

That’s the exact opposite of an open market where people can charge for their work as they wish.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’ve done some work for small/medium-success-level artists over the years, but I don’t work ‘the music business’ as such. What’s your point though?

The fact is that the barber didn’t understand UK music licensing yet went ahead with playing commercial music to the public at his premises, but hadn’t paid a license fee and got caught.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hi Dave,

I care about creators getting paid for their work. I strongly dislike the greed of record companies and agencies who do their best to extort money out of their consumer base time and time again. The PPL hardly make it clear to shops, businesses etc that they need a licence. Maybe they should enclose a leaflet with each radio sold to let people know what the law is eh? Other industries and laws are made clear, it only seems to be the music business who are so ‘grey’ and unclear about how to operate. It makes sense now, you work in the music business.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But the agencies are just acting on behalf of the artists! They take a cut of the money that is raised, with the rest going to the artist. The same is usually the case with record labels, once advances and costs are recouped.

Yes, it would be helpful if the rules/laws were clearer, though if you just assume it’s OK to do something with someone else’s property (their work), you only have yourself to blame. I don’t think anything is unclear if you actually bother to find out, and if you’re running a business, it is your legal responsibility to do so.

http://www.ppluk.com/en/Music-Users/Why-you-need-a-licence/

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

But the agencies are just acting on behalf of the artists! They take a cut of the money that is raised, with the rest going to the artist

Hi Dave. Have you looked at Fran Nevrkla’s salary lately? Once you do that, then come back and tell me how much PPL is interested in supporting musicians and how much is about lining the pockets of execs.

Anonymous Coward says:

re: comment 110

I think BPI distort figures – have a look at this:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090904/1819236116.shtml

one of many pieces. The BPI are primarily law enforcement over music business – their goal is to sue in simple terms.

re – millions of tracks being sold – maybe!! but for a fraction of the price they used to be when record companies didn’t have i-tunes / amazon – 79p for a single now legally when it used to be about £3 for a single in the shops.

Mark Hammond says:

re: point 112

My point and it seems the point of everyone else in this post is the PPL/BPI/RIAA/MAFIA are greedy, shady, act ‘unlawfully’, ‘unethically’ and as stated at the top of this article header, design a system to trip you (the common man) up. The music business has nasty morals and simply wants money any way it can, even attacking people who made honest mistakes. Please go back and finish your work for your music business clients – they should have enough money to pay you, for now.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Dave, Dave, Dave.

Man, am I late to this game on this one. Question for you, David:

Which scenario is more harmful to an artist?

A) A non-music related business (eg., a hairdresser) plays music which nets them 1 paying customer, however no one who was involved in the creation of said music is paid.

B) A business does not play music.

Think about it. No really, *think*. (That is to say, don’t parrot what you’ve been trained to say in the face of reason.)

Anonymous Coward says:

point 131

“It’s up the business owner to decide if they want to pay for the music broadcast – whether they think it will make them more sales or less”.

Do you think the barber is really having music in his shop to increase his sales???? Maybe, he wants to simply play his radio and maybe his customers may like to hear the radio.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re: point 131

You’ve just explained the theory there! “maybe his customers may like to hear the radio”, yes, which means they might be more likely to come back, which will increase his sales.

In any case, it’s the risk the business owner takes. They don’t have to take the risk if they don’t want to.

But the fact is, in the UK, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 states that if recorded music is played in public, every play of every recording requires the permission of the owner of the copyright in that recording.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

25 Secondary infringement: permitting use of premises for infringing performance.

(1) Where the copyright in a literary, dramatic or musical work is infringed by a performance at a place of public entertainment, any person who gave permission for that place to be used for the performance is also liable for the infringement unless when he gave permission he believed on reasonable grounds that the performance would not infringe copyright.

So, if he thought he had all right right licenses, i.e., the believed on reasonable grounds that the performance would not infringe, then he’s all clear, yes? 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

re: 157

Dave – you’re being SO pedantic. Yes, offices do have a public reception area, though ‘the main private part’ is still accessed by visitors. You work for the music business which seems to have conditioned your outlook. Another ‘AC’ seems to have highlighted you ‘sharing’ material that is copyrighted (Iron Man/Lego/Les Miserables). I would believe you are as guilty as the barber as you didn’t have a licence to ‘broadcast’ that material. Have you ever lent a CD to anyone by the way because that’s not allowed either….

Anonymous Coward says:

re: point 171. (jjmsan)

It seems pretty clear that Dave works for the music business (which he admits – points 99 & 107). Dave has also another for the body of UK music industry associations “The Music Business Forum” and in simple terms I guess they pay him so he adheres to their practices. So in answer to your point, he is getting paid. As for personality disorder, I’m no doctor but judging by the comments on this post, his arguments are against everyone elses here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Point 214 / Dave Nattriss

“In the U.S. there used to be laws that said black people had to sit in the back of the bus, too. (And couldn’t eat in restaurants with whites or stay in the same hotels or drink from the same water fountains or go to the same schools.)

Did the existence of those laws make them right, moral or ethical?

Did the fact that the vast majority of black people obeyed those laws mean they agreed with them in principle?

I hope you’re finally starting to comprehend the fundamental idiocy of your position.”

Well written that man? – what do you think about that Dave? And what do you think about the repeated request for you to justify comments made in point(s) 160 + 161?

You’ve worked for the music business and your outlook having worked for them has made you blinkered to modern society – GET REAL, WAKE UP & SMELL THE COFFEE! I’ll share my cup with you as it’s copyright free!

Richard (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

You would murder if you thought you could get away with it? I think you need to be committed to an institution and not arguing on this site, if you truly believe that.

I think he was just trying to convey the level of anger that the actions of the groups you are defending have created. If you don’t understand why people are so angry then I think you have a problem yourself.

Gwiz says:

What really bugs me about this whole thing is the fact that by playing commercial radio in a business is actually increasing the advertising revenue of the radio station (and in turn the artist) by adding additional ears (not to mention the additional exposure the artist gets) and then the business owner has to pay an additional fee on top of it all – that’s defitenly double dipping in my book.

Anonymous Coward says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

So…say there is an agency like the IRS wherever you live.

If they say that you owe back taxes would you pay them (agreeing with them that you owe money) and then attempt to prove that you don’t (but wait, if you paid them you obviously owed them money).

Or would you refuse to pay them and end up in jail?

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re:

Firstly, THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE U.S.! Please will you Americans realise that you are not the only country on the planet. So anything we discuss now about US copyright law has no relevance to the larger debate about the UK barber.

Secondly, limiting the copyright on an artist’s work for them is *not* going to encourage them to make more work for the public. If they want to create work for the public, they can just do that and give away the copyright to public bodies straight away.

I understand what you are saying about the wording, though the fact that it is securing the exclusive rights for the authors/inventors, even if only for a limited time, shows that it is about respecting that they do have rights to their work. In the UK, copyright generally expires 50 years after the work is published/released:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright,_Designs_and_Patents_Act_1988

I don’t know (or in this particular case care) what the period is for the US at the moment.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re:

> Firstly, THIS
> IS NOT ABOUT
> THE U.S.! Please
> will you Americans
> realise that
> you are not the
> only country on
> the planet.

You didn’t limit your comment to any one jurisdiction. You made a blanket claim about the purpose of copyright. I merely pointed out to you that such a blanket claim with no jurisdictional qualification is erroneous. That hardly equates to a belief that we’re the only country on the planet.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re:

If there were actual double dipping taking place, then I would agree that it’s wrong. But as I’ve explained, it’s not. The PRS license that the barber legally requires is not the same as the PPL license that he legally requires, nor are either of those the same as the PRS and PPL licenses that the radio station is required to have.

If you can’t/won’t recognise the difference, arguing with YOU is a complete waste of time.

And there is no issue here of anyone charging for music that they are not the rights holder of. As in the original article that this page is taken from, the barber was found to have been playing particular tracks that were the PPL *WAS* a representative of.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re:

No, their existence didn’t make them right, moral or ethical, but they still had to be upheld until they were stopped.

If they obeyed the laws *AND* didn’t make any attempt to do anything about them, then yes, they effectively agreed with them. Nobody forced them to put up with the laws.

And as history tells us, they didn’t put up with them, and so the laws got abolished:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregation#United_States

“Institutionalized racial segregation was ended as an official practice by the efforts of such civil rights activists as Clarence Mitchell, Jr., Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., working during the period from the end of World War II through the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supported by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Many of their efforts were acts of non-violent civil disobedience aimed at disrupting the enforcement of racial segregation rules and laws, such as refusing to give up a seat in the black part of the bus to a white person (Rosa Parks), or holding sit-ins at all-white diners.
By 1968 all forms of segregation had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and by 1970, support for formal legal segregation had dissolved. Formal racial discrimination was illegal in school systems, businesses, the American military, other civil services and the government. Separate bathrooms, water fountains and schools all disappeared and the civil rights movement had the public’s support.”

So what got things changed? Disobeying the laws. Whereas simply obeying them did absolutely nothing.

So if the barber was against the principle of having to get both a performance and publishing license to play commercial music in his public commercial premises, pay one of the license fees was not the best way to show it. But at no point has he said he was against the principles – he said he hadn’t paid the PPL because he didn’t know he had to, not because he objected to it. He hasn’t said anything about having already paid the PRS fee because he didn’t agree with it – in fact he had made sure that it was paid, implying he was comfortable with it or else he wouldn’t have done so.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re:

“Many of their efforts were acts of non-violent civil disobedience aimed at disrupting the enforcement of racial segregation rules and laws, such as refusing to give up a seat in the black part of the bus to a white person (Rosa Parks)…”

Seriously? According to what you said earlier, Rosa Parks should have given up her seat as the local law required! And how is her non-violent civil disobedience any different than those that utilize torrents in part to disrupt the enforcement of laws they see as unjust?

See, you get it, you just don’t KNOW you get it….

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

“So you believe there is no problem with denying an individual the ability to make use of their own products (radio) to capture public goods (radio waves) on their own property?”

It’s irrelevant really as that’s not what’s happened here. Radio waves specifically sent by someone are not ‘public goods’, they are copyrighted intellectual property, just like physical or digital recordings.

As for what you can do on your own property, the law has never worked like that. In neither the US nor the UK nor many other countries can you murder someone on your own property, for instance (there are sometime exceptions for self-defence but they apply whether in public or private). If you are in a country, you have to obey the laws or face the consequences.

“You say this as if before he bought the radio he had to sign an agreement. He did not.”

He didn’t need to. UK laws regarding broadcast of copyrighted work to the public already exist. It is every individual’s and every business’s responsibility to know the laws of the country they are in. Ignorance does not hold up in court (unless you are very lucky!).

“When the Mafia stops by your shop and says you need to pay up for “protection” to make sure “nothing bad happens,” does the store owner who pays up “agree” with the mafia?”

This has no relevance to this case. Nobody forced the barber to play the music. He just got fined for not having the legally required license for it. He chose to play the music.

“My point all along has been how nonsensical the law is. You have not responded to that. Any time anyone calls you on it you resort back to “but that’s the law!” That’s not an answer.”

OK, so why do you think it is nonsensical, sorry? Do you not agree that copyright holders should be able to charge as they like for the use of their work? Do you not agree that broadcasting copyrighted work in public should be treated differently than doing so in private?

“Yes, and once we had a law that said slavery was okay and that alcohol was not. And you would have been among those who said “the law is the law, so deal with it.”

No, I’d’ve said if you don’t like it, simply don’t partake in it. Comparing slavery and prohibition to music broadcast licensing is ridiculous though.

Richard (profile) says:

UK TV Licences

so the gov’t knows when you buy a tv?

Not when you buy it,

They do know when you buy it. Every retailer selling a TV fills in a little form with your name and address and sends it back to TV licensing. If the name and address don’t match an existing TV licence then you get a letter. They gave up on the detector vans years ago because they don’t actually work very well (Esp. with digital/LCD televisions).

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

In the UK we have the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

If they say they owed me back taxes but I knew 100% that I didn’t, I would send them evidence of this and the matter would be dealt with. It wouldn’t get to the point of me having to pay, or refunding and going to jail. I would just get on with resolving the issue.

But in this case, the barber doesn’t appear to have objected to the PPL fees at all – he’s never said he disagreed with them, and didn’t say he thinks they weren’t fair or right. He was just a bit shocked because he was ignorant about having to pay them, and so he got a larger fine instead. He made an unfortunate mistake, and maybe now he’ll take more care running his business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Dave / point 245

“It wouldn’t get to the point of me having to pay, or refunding and going to jail. I would just get on with resolving the issue.”

Even though this is hypothetical, how would you know? You could be arrested or charged depending on how the powers that be decided to act. Bit naive of you to think that situation would never arrive. Maybe the hairdresser thought the same…

Richard (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

Charging fees is hardly the same as killing people.

No it isn’t – but then again I don’t think he was really serious – just exaggerating for effect. The PRS on the other hand were deadly serious about this issue:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/8317952.stm

right up to the point when they realised what a huge own goal it was…

Rabbit80 says:

Re:

In the UK you DO need a license (or licenses) to play a radio in an office. Have a look on the PRS website!

A quote from the PRS website regarding music in the office…
“The rates in this section vary depending on the number of days in the year music is played in the workplace, canteens or staff rooms; the number of half-hour units per day music is played in the workplace, the number of employees in the workplace to whom the music is audible and the number of employees to whom the canteen/room is available.”

You can find the tarriffs here…
http://www.prsformusic.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PPS%20Tariffs/I-2010-03%20Tariff.pdf

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

Yes, it counts, according to the UK legislation:

http://www.prsformusic.com/users/businessesandliveevents/musicforbusinesses/Pages/doineedalicence.aspx

Note that they do do exceptions for some shops (section 4).

Would it be different if someone brought in a portable radio? Probably not.

If I write a song and I let the PPL take care of my publishing royalties (for a fee out of the income they obtain for me), then they have the authority to act whenever any recordings of my song are broadcast.

He tried to comply by signing up with the Performing Rights Society, but not with Phonographic Performance Limited. It was an unfortunate mistake but a mistake nevertheless. I don’t think any legal speak hid anything from him – we don’t know how he found out the PRS but he ought to have found out about the PPL at the same time. Or maybe the PRS should have reminded him about the PPL. But it’s not their responsibility to do that – it’s his.

I’ve made the odd mistake with my own company, and I’ve paid for it. I didn’t go to the media about it though.

RadialSkid says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

“In neither the US nor the UK nor many other countries can you murder someone on your own property”

You can’t murder someone, since “murder” by definition is the illegal taking a human life, but many parts of the US currently operate under Castle Doctrines, meaning you can use lethal force on your own property in very broad circumstances. In Mississippi, for example, I can legally kill someone if I catch them vandalizing my car.

And before you start in with more moaning about American centrism, allow me to remind you that you DID say “the US nor the UK.”

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re:

In terms of the licensing for playing their music at a place of work, the rule is apparently if there’s more than two people (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5061004/Woman-who-plays-classical-music-to-soothe-horses-told-to-get-licence.html ).

In terms of a public performance, I understand that it’s just a member of the public that can hear it, on premises that are accessible by the public, as opposed to employees in a private office.

And yes, that is correct regarding the law. If you play music publicly (i.e. where the public can hear it), as part of your commercial business, you need to pay a license fee or risk a fine.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

OK, so why do you think it is nonsensical, sorry?

We’re 250 comments in and you still haven’t figured it out?

Do you not agree that copyright holders should be able to charge as they like for the use of their work?

I already asked you in the comment you ignored how a gov’t granted agency with gov’t set prices has anything to do with your claim that copyright holders get to charge what they want. They do not. Why do you continue to post this strawman?

Furthermore, as someone who believes in an open and free market (as you falsely claimed to), I believe that the market sets the price — and that’s the intersection of supply and demand. A rights holder can try to set the price, but if the product is in abundant supply, then that price gets pushed down by the market. But the government has stepped in and denied market forces in htis situation.

Do you not agree that broadcasting copyrighted work in public should be treated differently than doing so in private?

Turning on a radio is not “broadcasting.”

No, I’d’ve said if you don’t like it, simply don’t partake in it. Comparing slavery and prohibition to music broadcast licensing is ridiculous though.

No one was comparing the two. Just pointing out the ridiculousness of your “the law is the law” argument. You should read the excellent new book “Property Outlaws” that discusses how civil disobedience has *always* been a key element in reforming property laws. The “just don’t do it” argument doesn’t play. One of the ways you get laws changed is by showing the ridiculous outcomes — such as requiring a barber to pay two separate licenses to turn on a radio.

nasch says:

Re:

There are even cases of a collection society calling a business and asking for money because they can hear music over the phone. So you have to turn off the radio before anyone answers the phone too, or it’s a public performance.

But this is all OK, because that’s what the law says. And ignorance of the law, and principles, and stuff. How am I doing, Dave?

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

Re:

No, what I’m saying is she shouldn’t get the bus if she doesn’t like the rules of where you have to sit. If all the black people had stopped getting the bus, and perhaps started their own bus service, the racist bus service would have suffered financially and would have been likely to have changed its rules.

It’s not like you are forced to listen to music that requires payment, or forced to play it in your shop. If you don’t like the charges, just don’t use the music. If everyone stopped playing and (licensing) the music, the PPL might look at lowering or abolishing its fees.

But it’s not the same as racism. Not in the slightest. Racism is simply unfair. The right to charge what *you* want for the right to broadcast *your* music is not.

duffmeister (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

So obfuscation is the correct way to make sure customers pay? I’d imagine that if your business is dependent upon people paying you that you might make it easier for someone to notice they need to pay you. This individual went to some effort to comply. Is there a point when “due diligence” is served or must I read 100% of all laws passed and ever passed to be sure I don’t break any? (Something most politicians making the laws don’t even do)

So by your logic if I walk down the street with a portable radio and walk into a business I need a license from two sources for this “broadcast”?

It seems from the link you supplied like a good number of people in the UK need to be sued for failure to comply. I know I’d protest a law written as such and talk to my representatives about getting it changed. I know I do this now for the laws in the US I see as unjust and out of scope.

Hopeful says:

A few good points

There are a few good points to consider when reading this discussion. Dave, as a citizen of the UK, is our friend. “Hands across the water”, “Lend Lease and all that Rot,Eh?” so 1) If the US and UK have this much trouble understanding each other on such a simple situation, it gives me great hope that ACTA may have some roadblocks to it’s one world vision of IP.
2) He does seem prepared to accept American solutions, such as “Opt out” and “Don’t contribute”, despite his adherance to a party line. We did, in truth, respond to King George and Parliment in just such a manner,ohhh, many years ago. Taxes? We did’t need no stinkin” taxes.. so maybe there is something to his point there.
and finally 3),the US did wholesale ignore the UK a second time at the turn of the last century, when patents and copyrights on their processes and products went without compensation,to our benefit. So despite some awkward moments, perhaps there are some points here to consider. Just because he’s wrong to support such rediculous ideas on the purpose of Copyright, doesn’t mean he won’t, in the future, take a more open view when the disputive influences brought on by the Net get a little more sorted out and money starts to flow in a manner that folks like him are more prone to recognize.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

“OK, so why do you think it is nonsensical, sorry?

We’re 250 comments in and you still haven’t figured it out?”

Nope, I’m afraid not. It makes perfect sense to me that if you play the song that I wrote and my friend recorded to the public at your business premises (which enhances your working conditions and/or your customer satisfaction), that we are each paid at the amounts that we have set, and if we want to use agencies to help monitor this and collect the fees, what’s wrong with that?

“how a gov’t granted agency with gov’t set prices has anything to do with your claim that copyright holders get to charge what they want”

Um, well, the copyright holders have signed agreements with that agency, that’s how. Either they have chosen the rates themselves, or they’ve agreed to the rates of the agency. In any case, an agreement, that they had a choice about, is in place.

“I believe that the market sets the price — and that’s the intersection of supply and demand. A rights holder can try to set the price, but if the product is in abundant supply, then that price gets pushed down by the market. But the government has stepped in and denied market forces in htis situation.”

Not true – there’s nothing stopping another company starting their own agency. The law doesn’t give any special privileges to the PRS or PPL, they are just the most popular services of their kind in the UK and because they cover the vast majority of popular music and have agreements with lots of public venues, it makes sense to sign up with them either as an artist or broadcaster.

“Turning on a radio is not ‘broadcasting’.”

Sorry but if you are running a business and the public can hear the licensed music on the radio at your premises, then it is broadcasting in so much that you need a license to do it legally. Whatever the term used.

And my ‘just don’t do it’ argument was not ‘just don’t break the law’, but in fact ‘don’t do the thing that you don’t want to pay for’. It’s a free market – if you don’t like the price of a product (or in this case licensing a product), you don’t have to buy it at all.

Dave Nattriss (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

Fine, maybe the PPL needs to a better job of making sure everyone is aware that they represent a lot of popular music. But you have to be pretty naive if you just assume you can do what you like with someone else’s music just because it’s on the radio. I’m not saying you need to read all the laws, but I do find it odd that if he found out about the PRS, he somehow missed the PPL, as they will be listed in similar places.

No, you don’t need the licenses – the business does as its their premises!

And it’s not really a case of ‘suing’, they just need to issue the fines, which it seems they are gradually doing at the moment. If people don’t want to pay the fines, they can object and only then will the PPL potentially take them to court. The law that comes into play is that you need permission of the copyright holder to play their music in public – I doubt that one is going to be easily changed.

Karl (profile) says:

Re:

Well, both English and American copyright law was modeled after the Statute of Anne. Its long title: “An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned.” (Emphasis mine.)

I understand that this has changed over time – for example, the 1988 Act grants “moral rights,” which didn’t exist in the U.K. previously, and still do not exist in the U.S. at all (except for painting and sculpture).

Still, it seems to suggest that the ultimate purpose of copyright in the U.K. is to increase the works available to the public, by granting finincial incentives to create. Just like the U.S., but unlike e.g. Europe.

By the way: In the U.S., playing the radio in a business is exempt from licensing fees of any kind. (Jukeboxes and CD’s are another matter.) The Supreme Court actually decided it, but I’m at work and can’t remember the case off the top of my head.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re:

“No, what I’m saying is she shouldn’t get the bus if she doesn’t like the rules of where you have to sit. If all the black people had stopped getting the bus, and perhaps started their own bus service, the racist bus service would have suffered financially and would have been likely to have changed its rules.”

Okay, seriously, read a book on Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement, because you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about….

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

(@Dave Nattriss) Really?

It makes perfect sense to me that if you play the song that I wrote and my friend recorded to the public at your business premises (which enhances your working conditions and/or your customer satisfaction), that we are each paid at the amounts that we have set, and if we want to use agencies to help monitor this and collect the fees, what’s wrong with that?

Ok. By the same logic, if I play your song at my business and it gets you attention such that people now what to go to your concert/hire you to write new songs, you are going to pay me right? After all, it enhances your working conditions/salary/living conditions. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Or, wait, does tis only work in one direction?

Um, well, the copyright holders have signed agreements with that agency, that’s how. Either they have chosen the rates themselves, or they’ve agreed to the rates of the agency. In any case, an agreement, that they had a choice about, is in place.

Can you point me to a single collection society (hell, just PPL or PRS) that lets musicians set their own rates? They don’t. The rates are set by the Copyright Tribunal in the UK.

Not true – there’s nothing stopping another company starting their own agency.

Highly misleading. It is only in the past two years that the European courts rejected national monopolies on collection societies. But because the established players already had a monopoly it’s close to impossible for any new entrant to qualify.

The law doesn’t give any special privileges to the PRS or PPL, they are just the most popular services of their kind in the UK and because they cover the vast majority of popular music and have agreements with lots of public venues, it makes sense to sign up with them either as an artist or broadcaster.

Both had gov’t sanctioned monopolies until the courts broke that up recently, at which point it no longer mattered. Why you ignore this, I do not know.

Sorry but if you are running a business and the public can hear the licensed music on the radio at your premises, then it is broadcasting in so much that you need a license to do it legally. Whatever the term used.

And right back to “the law is good because it’s the law.” Do you not see how ridiculous that line of argument is?

And my ‘just don’t do it’ argument was not ‘just don’t break the law’, but in fact ‘don’t do the thing that you don’t want to pay for’. It’s a free market – if you don’t like the price of a product (or in this case licensing a product), you don’t have to buy it at all.

There’s no free market when you have a government tribunal setting prices, Dave. There’s no free market when you have a government granting a monopoly. There’s no free market when you have monopoly rights handed out to content creators.

Learn what a free market is before you make yourself look any more foolish.

nasch says:

re: Dave Nattriss [I spy for the BPI]

So you think they’ve just made up the numbers?!

Oh no, recording industry groups would NEVER just make up numbers!! *rolls eyes* You really are ignorant. Or a shill. Or an ignorant shill.