from the same-old-story dept
Performing rights societies probably don't have the best reputations here on Techdirt, but just when you think they can't get any more outrageous in their demands, they do. Here are two stories from the Slovak Republic, both involving SOZA, the Slovak Performing and Mechanical Rights Society:
The recent case of the local village of Pohorela being charged EUR 62.40 [about $75] by copyright association SOZA because children sang copyrighted songs on Mothers’ Day has to be one of the most absurd cases of copyright being enforced in Slovakia.
Although the first paragraph mentions "copyrighted songs", the Facebook page referred to talks about "our folk songs", which would presumably not be in copyright (Slovak original.) In either case, it seems a bit extreme to charge for children singing to their own mothers. The second story seems more clear-cut: SOZA is trying to charge a village for singing a "well known" folk song about itself, which adds insult to injury.
TheDaily first drew attention to the Pohorela case by sharing it on Facebook at the end of May, but the case is not unique. Other villages and towns may also receive the same kinds of bills, like the one sent to the village of Helpa, which is being charged possibly for singing the well-known folk song celebrating the village called "To ta Helpa!", for instance.
The article quoted above notes that this is not the only problem with SOZA's invoicing habits:
Cinemas in particular are not happy with the fees, which are charged regardless of what film is showing, if there is any music in the film, and even though copyright fees are covered already in the film rental.
Paying for something you didn't have, or being forced to pay twice: sounds like collecting societies are the same everywhere.