by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 16th 2009 2:52am
We've been discussing how collections societies around the globe have been making a mad dash to get governments to tax more things or to simply massively expand existing collection taxes on music. One stunning example we gave was how the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) was pushing to increase fees by ridiculous amounts (in one example from $125/year to $19,344). Apparently, part of the setup is that clubs and restaurants have to pay a much higher per patron fee, and the number of patrons is based not on the actual number of patrons -- but on capacity. PPCA and others like them continue to insist that all of the value in a restaurant or club comes from the music, and thus those places should pay these extortionate rates, even if actual human beings don't come to fill up the place (so much for the music actually bringing in the crowds). But it looks like at least some clubs in Australia are pushing back. Sambo points us to the news that many are trying to build support for a protest effort where these clubs will only play independent music and avoid all music licensed to the PPCA. Of course, in the US, we've seen ASCAP and BMI tell clubs that do similar things that it doesn't matter -- since they might accidentally play their music. Still, it looks like these kinds of moves, that often would bankrupt these clubs and restaurants, are having an unintended consequence of helping to promote non-PPCA music. So, if you're a musician and you want to get heard in Australia, try licensing your songs under a Creative Commons license or something and highlight that anyone can play the music without having to pay a ridiculous PPCA tax.
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