by Mike Masnick
Wed, Dec 2nd 2009 9:52pm
We've been seeing a ton of stories in the last year concerning collection societies around the world increasing their efforts to collect money from any sort of entity that plays music ever -- even if it actually ends up causing significant harm to new and up-and-coming musicians. The efforts usually focus on two areas: (1) increasing the fees they're able to demand from venues (usually set by the government) and (2) getting places that barely play any music at all to pay up at exorbitant rates. SOCAN, up in Canada, is supposedly working on both of these fronts, with reader Adam Bell pointing out that it's been going after gymnastics clubs because a small number of kids who use them practice routines done to music. But, of course, SOCAN wants to calculate fees not based on the small number of people who actually use music (which is usually intended for themselves, anyway, not for others -- which should exclude the usual "ambiance" reasoning that collections societies claim), but the "average number of persons per week per room multiplied by $2.14." This can really add up for small businesses, and many gymnastics clubs are refusing to pay, recognizing that they might not be able to afford it at all if they want to stay in business. It's difficult to see how that helps anyone.
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