We've covered how various performing rights societies have grown more and more desperate over the past few years -- including going after auto repair shops because their mechanics, out in the garage, played radios loud enough
for customers in the waiting room to hear. That, to these societies, represents a "public performance." Reader John points us to an even more insane example. Apparently, PRS, in the UK has even taken to phoning up small businesses, and if they hear music playing in the background, they demand payment
Robson, 75, who was targeted last year, said: "There is usually only me here and I like to have nice relaxing music. The woman said she could hear music in the background. I thought, 'My God, you’ve got good ears.' She asked how many of us were here listening. I said me and sometimes the dog. Eventually, after I made a fuss, they apologised and said I would not be bothered again."
John Collins, 57, who runs a software company from a room at his home in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, received letters saying he needed a licence for the classical CDs he played while working. "If my wife Susan brings me a cup of tea and hears the music then I might be liable," he said.
Apparently even playing music to animals is considered a potential public performance to PRS:
Even dogs and cats do not always escape targeting. Follybridge cattery near Peterborough and Stokenchurch dog rescue centre in Buckinghamshire, which play Terry Wogan’s Radio 2 show to their "guests", were both told they would need a licence in case any workers heard the music.
Yes, they're really reaching for that point where you'll need a general license just to listen to music yourself.