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Singer In Grocery Store Ordered To Pay Royalties

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the silence-is-golden dept.

Music 645

yog writes "An assistant at a grocery store in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, was ordered by the Performing Right Society (PRS) to obtain a performer's license and to pay royalties because she was informally singing popular songs while stocking groceries. The PRS later backed down and apologized. This after the same store had turned off the radio after a warning from the PRS. We have entered an era where music is no longer an art for all to enjoy, but rather a form of private property that must be regulated and taxed like alcohol. 'Music to the ears' has become 'dollars in the bank'."

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645 comments

What's next? (5, Funny)

adeydas (837049) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832211)

What's next? Concise Oxford charging for words explained in the dictionary?

Re:What's next? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832253)

Maybe if it is read verbatim from their dictionary in a place where it can be used to increase a businesses profit. To these royalty groups, it isn't a problem for you to listen to it or to sing the lyrics. However, if it is used as a way to influence customers such that the business see financial gain...

Re:What's next? (5, Interesting)

reashlin (1370169) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832623)

I admit I'd like to know more about the case - I've not found anywhere detailing what she was singing. But in this case your argument is flawed.

The woman had already had her radio taken away as the shop did not have a license to broadcast either CDs (which they had paid for) or Radio (which is already paid for - either by the BBCs 'cat all television license' or by advertising). This form of double payment is incredulous at best, in cases such as these where a claim is being made the business should pay extra to act as a proxy for a service designed to increase add revenue to the industry (Why is the music industry not paying private businesses to play the music in promotion?).

With nothing else to listen too the woman would sing while stacking the shelves. How is that going to encourage business in a local corner shop. I have no doubt she is an aweful singer. Second to that, how is this costing the music industry anything? What losses are they claiming back?

Aweful? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832691)

You meant "awful", not "aweful". I suppose the problem was that you didn't want to pay Concise Oxford?

Re:What's next? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832705)

> I have no doubt she is an aweful singer.

If I lived near that grocery, I'd make it a point to visit there and buy (assuming, of course, the prices aren't outrageous and it's clean enough). No matter how bad that woman sings.

The Streisand effect in action....

Re:What's next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832261)

Hey I was just thinking the same thing !

Expect to hear from my lawyers very soon...

Re:What's next? (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832309)

No, but whoever publishes it owes songwriters around the world shitloads of royalties for including words from their songs...

New alternative to censorship (4, Insightful)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832651)

and your spell checker gets a module that suggests cheaper words to use in your sentences. And it takes in account the extra tax on words the government doesn't like. You can still write what you want but some things are really costly..

Re:What's next? (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832701)

I was going to say "bollocks to that", but I'd probably have to pay royalties to the Sex Pistols.

Correction (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832221)

I think it's spelled "Crack-manna-shire"... At least it should be...

Totally, irrevocably, utterly batshit insane (5, Insightful)

rekenner (849871) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832223)

That's what this is.
The idea that fining someone for singing to themself while they work. The idea that this could be in any way the right course of action.
There's no other words/term for it.

Re:Totally, irrevocably, utterly batshit insane (4, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832411)

This is an example of media control gone nuts. Didn't someone in jest say about 3 years ago that this would happen, somewhere in the world?

Re:Totally, irrevocably, utterly batshit insane (1)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832497)

Here's a question: If I'm listening to a song stuck in my head, do they still want me to pay them for it?

Re:Totally, irrevocably, utterly batshit insane (5, Funny)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832577)

The answer is yes. Soon everyone must wear brain scanners to make sure that every song you hear in your head is paid for. Also, if you inadvertently hear a song whether it's in a dream or from someone else's radio, the brain scanner will pick that up too and you must pay for that too. If you're pregnant, you must pay for each fetus. The deaf will be fitted with a recording devices so that they can pay for the songs they would have heard if they weren't deaf. If you die, you are required to pay for all the songs you hear in the afterlife with your remaining assets.

Re:Totally, irrevocably, utterly batshit insane (0)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832703)

A future like that may not be far.

After all there's progress on brain-computer interfaces. People and animals already can control devices with their thoughts, and there is progress in implants that help the blind to see, and the deaf to hear. Google for "seeing tongue" and neural input devices.

So it could start with implants to help people with dementia keep track of where they are and what they are doing, or it could be implants to augment people - help them remember better, share their thoughts and memories, perform tasks of "virtual telepathy" and "virtual telekinesis" (in areas that support it of course), and many other nifty stuff.

Groups like the MPAA/RIAA etc might then insist on DRM on these devices.

A penny for your thoughts? I think they'd charge more and say most of it belongs to them :).

Re:Totally, irrevocably, utterly batshit insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832585)

Yes! As soon as it is possible to monitor what's playing inside your head. How about a mandatory brain music activity monitoring implant that will automatically charge your credit card. Comes with a mute option that is used when you have no credit.

What the...... (1, Flamebait)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832225)

Bastards.

Come on, it has to be said - this capitalism is getting out of hand. People are getting stupid.

Re:What the...... (5, Insightful)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832273)

Come on, it has to be said - this capitalism is getting out of hand. People are getting stupid.

Capitalism? Copyright is a form of government regulation on what would otherwise be a free market. It would be more capitalist to abolish copyright.

(Disclaimer: I do not want to abolish copyright.)

Re:What the...... (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832329)

Copyright wouldn't exist but hellish drm would. Also you could argue it is capitalism that is making copyright evil. You could argue that copyright exists because money made it happen in a capitalist society. .... .... that's all I got.

Re:What the...... (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832535)

How would you DRM singing?
Armed patrols would shoot you if they catch you humming a tune?

Re:What the...... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832593)

Armed patrols would shoot you if they catch you humming a tune?

Not yet, anyway.
What they would like better, is the armed patrols carry a credit card machine and/or root access to your bank account.
Oh yeah, the armed patrols would be paid on commission...

It's all about the money.

Re:What the...... (2, Insightful)

putaro (235078) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832709)

DRM is not a problem if it's not protected by law. There's not a scheme that's been devised yet that cannot be cracked. The problem with DRM is that it is illegal to circumvent it and it has been mandated for some devices. Remove that legal protection and the content providers can add it all they like.

Re:What the...... (2, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832335)

Courts are also a form of government regulation. Without them, you couldn't have contracts. Sounds like fun capitalism to me, not having contracts...

Re:What the...... (3, Insightful)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832533)

Courts are also a form of government regulation. Without them, you couldn't have contracts. Sounds like fun capitalism to me, not having contracts...

Not all regulation is created equal. Copyright law and court enforcement of contracts are not equivalent regulations. The former regulation (copyright law) interferes with the natural tendencies of the free market, rendering it less capitalist, while the latter regulation (court enforcement of contracts) does no such interfering.

Re:What the...... (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832629)

Not really much difference between the current system and outright anarchy when people can sue you to death.

Replace "bastard feudal lord from hell" with "giant corporation", and "peasant" with "individual" and you will find things have really not much changed.

Re:What the...... (3, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832395)

Capitalism? Copyright is a form of government regulation on what would otherwise be a free market. It would be more capitalist to abolish copyright.

What's not capitalist about it? It's treating ideas and expression as a form of capital. It would be very un-capitalist not to exploit that for gain.

Capitalist != Free Markets (3, Informative)

chiguy (522222) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832457)

Capitalism? Copyright is a form of government regulation on what would otherwise be a free market. It would be more capitalist to abolish copyright.

What's not capitalist about it? It's treating ideas and expression as a form of capital. It would be very un-capitalist not to exploit that for gain.

He's saying Copyright is not a feature of Free Markets. He's just confusing Capitalism with Free Markets, and they don't require each other.

Re:Capitalist != Free Markets (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832557)

He's saying Copyright is not a feature of Free Markets. He's just [equating] Capitalism with Free Markets, and they don't require each other.

That's true, but the concepts are strongly associated. We generally call economies with capitalist features but not entirely free markets mixed economies. The OP distinctly singled out capitalism, so it is logically sound for me to assume s/he meant the free markets, laissez faire kind of capitalism.

Re:What the...... (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832481)

What's not capitalist about [copyright law]?

Capitalist markets are free markets. Copyright law interferes with the natural tendencies of the free market, which makes it less capitalist.

Re:What the...... (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832455)

Property rights in general are enforced by the government, how on earth can capitalism exist without people having a right to own capital?

Intellectual property rights are just an extension of that.

Re:What the...... (2, Interesting)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832495)

Intellectual property rights are just an extension of [physical property rights, which is a requirement of capitalism].

Intellectual property and physical property are not equivalent and considering the former an extension of the latter confuses the issue. Your physical property rights do not legally bar me from making a copy of your car, should I have the means, only from depriving you of yours.

In such a fantasy scenario, should we extend copyright law to cover the copying of physical objects in that manner, it would be just as much an interference with the natural tendencies of the free market, and thus less capitalist.

Re:What the...... (2, Interesting)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832575)

They are different yet related, and laws which protect physical property forbid me from borrowing it or, in the case of land, traversing it even when doing so deprives you of nothing. (E.g., if I squat in a building you aren't using, or cross your property to get to the other side, etc.) All property rights are legal fictions enforced by governments.

Markets are not "natural." They are human creations and activities, as are polities. People have been creating "governments" for longer than they have been participating in markets.

Re:What the...... (2, Interesting)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832639)

That doesn't really address my argument though. I wasn't arguing that markets are natural, but instead that free markets have natural tendencies. In other words, if we have a market that is a free market, we can expect it to behave in a certain way until it is interfered with by regulation rendering it no longer a free market. The artificiality of markets and laws is not at issue.

Re:What the...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832521)

no - it is anarchist to abolish copyright.

capitalism has nothing to do with this.

I think a fair copyright is ok, but what we have is also stupid.

Re:What the...... (2, Informative)

emilper (826945) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832547)

Copyright and patents existed even in the Communist block, and were enforced, too ... except the state owned most of the "Int.Prop." and a private person could not make much money out of his or her copyrights or "invention brevets" unless they already had a cosy position in the hierarchy of the state, party or one one of the professional guilds.

Re:What the...... (1)

Logic and Reason (952833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832717)

Capitalism simply means that the means of production (capital) are privately owned. The issue of copyright is completely orthogonal.

Re:What the...... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832513)

feel free to fuck off to North Korea you ignroant little retard. Thats what abandoning capitalism gets you.
By the way, how the fuck are you typing this? On a capitalist keyboard no doubt, over evil capitalist phone cables.
GROW UP KIDDIE

It's sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832247)

It's sad, really, that it's come to this: the music people (no longer limited to the RIAA) are willing to sue anyone who comes close to their music. They're vastly overcompensating for lost revenues. Even if their concern for the loss is valid, they've shown no restraint or consideration for their actual customers. Now, being excited about music is no longer a good thing if you don't pay for the privilege.

What's next? Suing people who use band or song names in different contexts? Man, Mick Jagger is going to get even richer when proverbists spout out "A [word omitted for fear of legal reprisal] stone gathers no moss."

One can only hope that this doesn't spread to other industries in this manner.

Re:It's sad... (5, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832301)

It already has. It's called rent seeking, and there's no shortage of examples. Certainly, overzealous copyright enforcement, patent trolling, and the like are examples we commonly see here, but they're by no means the only ones. Look at the ISPs that have crushed proposed municipal wifi plans before they could even get started, by bribing^Wencouraging lawmakers to pass laws against it the moment it was proposed. Another example is the desire of ISPs to charge for "all you can eat" plans while then throttling what you can actually do with them. That's the same type of behavior we're seeing here.

There are plenty of examples outside the tech sector as well. We had an article a few days ago about predatory student loan practices, and that's been studied quite a bit already. Telecom/cable companies' frequent monopoly/duopoly structure in most areas. The inability to become certified in many areas without a college degree even if you can prove your competence (benefitting, of course, colleges). The list goes on and on.

I'm not honestly sure that's not a consequence of trying to apply capitalism to a resource (information) which is naturally not scarce, and can only be made so through draconian rules and enforcement. With computers, it's not difficult at all to perfectly and quickly replicate most types of information, there's no real scarcity of it at all, only artificial, legally enforced scarcity. If I were in the business of selling nothing dressed up as something, and the only way people paid me was when they were forced to, I guess I might be tempted to overuse force too.

The problem with capitalism... (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832695)

It requires scarcity to function.

Which is why people are knocking down houses in the USA...

e.g.
http://www.yidio.com/unsold-houses-knocked-down/id/395665281 [yidio.com]
http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=19580208 [msn.com]

If demand is ever satisfied, the value of the product tends to zero and therefore it is impossible to make profit or to pay the loans which make up our monetary system. This is why there will always be poverty, always be homelessness, and is of course insanity and stupidity of the highest order.

Silvio Gesell [wikipedia.org] identified this particular fundamental problem (and proposed a solution) with the nature of money itself nearly 100 years ago.

Silver lining? (4, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832257)

As much as I think this kind of enforcement is ridiculous, before we try to get rid of it we should try to put it to good use: someone needs to get the scientologists to start singing top hits as part of their 'religion'. That would create a (lawyer) fight I would pay to watch.

Re:Silver lining? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832587)

when you're happy and you know it, xenu hates you.
when you're happy and you know it, xenu hates you.
when you're happy and you know it, and you really want to show it, xenu hates you.

In all fairness, I should probably be forced to pay people royalties to people who hear my lyrics...

Re:Silver lining? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832635)

If Jack Thompson could get in on that, you would have a three ring circus!

More fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Easy solution to all this stupidity (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832267)

It'd all work itself out if everytime someone exerted their copyright, the person they're exterting it against had a chance to go to court. And if the copyright holder fails, no more copyright. It instantly becomes public domain. The fact they can lose it would stop alot of this crap..

Hoax (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832271)

This has all the marks of a hoax. Even if it's not, still, consider the current media climate in which journalists don't check sources but simply reprint crap that other newspapers cover. Try it yourself...fax in a "press release" to the newspaper and then watch it appear in print the next day, unverified. I used to do that when I worked at a government office, and I was just shocked that nobody ever called my phone number to check. How many hoaxes has the press reported this year, so far?

Re:Hoax (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832297)

The best way to get them to START verifying their facts then would be to treat the times they fall for hoaxes as if it's true. And let them realize they should verify info before it destroys their reputation.

As far as I'm concerned, The PRS's apology was more like an unofficial "I'm sorry, I didn't realize we can't get away with that just yet."

Re:Hoax (4, Insightful)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832461)

Everyone knows that news outlets are 95% of time totally correct. The other 5% of the time, its stuff I know about.

Honestly even smart scientists note just how bad they are at covering anything even remotely technical that they know about. And yet assume every other story in that very paper/web site is 100% correct.

Re:Hoax (1)

Estragib (945821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832541)

One would think the PRS were quick to demand a retraction then, especially considering the UK's oft-cited harsh libel laws, wouldn't one?

Re:Hoax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832565)

The village store where Mrs Burt works was contacted by the PRS earlier this year to warn them that a licence was needed to play a radio within earshot of customers.

How were they contacted? PRS should have a record of this, and likely a record of any subsequent contact.

What did you expect? (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832281)

This is a logical extension of current lunatic copyright laws: the IP Barons want a cut every time anyone, anywhere, performs a song they claim to 'own'. The next step will be to require everyone to wear brain-scanners so that they can charge us every time we 'play' a song inside our heads from memory.

The whole concept of Imaginary Property leads directly to this kind of stupidity, because the very idea of being able to 'own' something which has no physical existence is quite simply insane.

Re:What did you expect? (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832355)

You say that like humanity has demonstrated much in the way of sanity lately... (Sure, there may be the occasional sane person, but as a group people have seldom been known for their firm grasp on reality)

And don't think the rights-holders won't try brain scanners, especially if they can manipulate the public into accepting it as a fair and reasonable way to enable them to protect their monopolies.

Yeah, but remember people (4, Funny)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832283)

She's an old f'*k that sings, hence disturbing my personal belief of finding my true love while grocery-shopping.

In the fuits section.

While testing melons.

Juicy... melons ... garrrr ...

Re:Yeah, but remember people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832357)

If you're looking for a section for fruits with juicy melons, I'm sure we can one over at adultfriendfinder.com.

I disagree... (1, Redundant)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832287)

"We have entered an era where music is no longer an art for all to enjoy"

It is if you make it yourself.

Use an acoustic instrument and its "Green" too.

Brainwashing (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832291)

I guess it is time to sue the music industry for putting songs in our head.

Re:Brainwashing (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832687)

It's not a music industry group. It's a "society" which shakes down performers on behalf of songwriters. The music publisher actually pays the PRS too, who hand the cash over to the musician who wrote the song in the first place.

Pay Royalties Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832293)

A pround member of the MAFIAA family I suppose...

America! (in a palin voice) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832299)

There's so much anti-US sentent on this site that I just can't resist. This shit doesn't and can't happen in the US.

Maybe a lttle too patriotic but damn I love my country and yes I've been drinking

Re:America! (in a palin voice) (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832617)

This shit doesn't and can't happen in the US.

I've been drinking

That was obvious.

The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832311)

Everyone here is going to talk about how outrageous it is for a supermarket to be charged for playing the radio, but the fact of the matter is that they use the radio to create a pleasant environment for their customers, which makes it a tool of commerce. Songwriters are the ones who get compensated for this, and rightfully so: people are using the fruits of their labor (music) to help sell merchandise. The supermarket is a business, and licensing the music is part of the cost of doing business. It has been this way for many, many years; we are not entering a new age of PRS thuggery. Without due diligence on this and other fronts, professional songwriters (who are not, by the by, a particularly wealthy lot) would not have an income. And please don't make the claim that songwriters get paid for years for 5 minutes of work, because they write far more songs that get rejected or fail commercially than are successful. It's a job, and not an easy one.

As for the woman being asked to get a license, yes, that is absurd. Probably the representative of the PRS who made the request was new and overeager to please his or her boss, or was maybe just a douchebag. Who knows. It was a truly boneheaded maneuver.

Full disclosure: I'm a songwriter and a member of a PRS. The money I make a year on songwriting could maybe buy a nice dinner. Without someone looking out for my interests, I'd make nothing.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832365)

Full disclosure: I'm a songwriter and a member of a PRS. The money I make a year on songwriting could maybe buy a nice dinner.

So, you're not really a professional "song writer" as much as someone who foists their really bad "music" off on friends who are too polite to tell you the truth?

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832367)

Everyone here is going to talk about how outrageous it is for a supermarket to be charged for playing the radio, but the fact of the matter is that they use the radio to create a pleasant environment for their customers, which makes it a tool of commerce.

Sounded to me like they'd use a radio in the back that just happened to be in earshot of the front. This is opposed to the full speaker array across the store that keeps the place from being too quiet.

That's more akin to being charged a performance licence for your car radio while your windows are rolled down.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832605)

But who is out the back listening to the radio whilst they work?

Thats right, it's creating a pleasant environment for their worker(s). As such they are gaining a business benefit from it and they should really pay for that privilege.

Trying to fine some woman for singing is beyond reasonable though, I think.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (2, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832661)

They're getting a business benefit from heat, light and gravity, too. Shouldn't they be taxed on them? Oh, wait, they are. They're a business that's acting as a tax-collector for HMG as they charge their customers VAT.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (1)

lordandmaker (960504) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832697)

Thats right, it's creating a pleasant environment for their worker(s). As such they are gaining a business benefit from it and they should really pay for that privilege.

Ah, as they do for the light fittings! Though light fittings are probably more important as a means of creating a pleasant working environment than the radio.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (2, Insightful)

Andorin (1624303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832371)

Full disclosure: I'm a songwriter and a member of a PRS. The money I make a year on songwriting could maybe buy a nice dinner. Without someone looking out for my interests, I'd make nothing.

So you'll tolerate the existence of these bloodsucking organizations in exchange for a few (and I mean a few) bucks for yourself?

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832373)

I hope that one nice dinner a year is worth it.

I hate you.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832429)

The thing is, the songwriters have already been paid - by the radio station. If it's BBC radio, we've already paid for that music out of our annual licence fee, or it's a commercial station with adverts. Every person in that store has the right to listen to that station already as the broadcast fees have already been paid.

Now that it's suddenly being able to be listened to while on a store premises, it's a 'new' public performance and more money needs to be paid. It's double dipping for the same performance.

You want to charge stores that play personal CDs through to customers? Fine. But leave my goddamn radio at my desk alone.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832433)

I've worked in the past as a musician and songwriter, and I was in radio for most of a decade. I am a published author and editor, and currently make my living as a writer.

And I say this is utter horseshit.

People do not go to grocery stores to hear Muzak. They go there to buy food.

The radio stations and music services already pay royalties in any case, and places that play recorded music in-house have already paid for those recordings. And that's where it should end.

To take your model to its logical conclusion is to suggest that, because I can hear some kid's iPod on the train because he's got it cranked up loud enough to turn his brains into jelly, either he or I should pay royalties, which is preposterous. You may claim otherwise, but this is *exactly* where it leads.

Next, you'll be telling me I should pay a performance fee whenever I read to my daughter from a copyrighted book.

Disclaimer: 'Muzak' and 'iPod' are registered trademarks of their respective owners, and they are completely welcome to them.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832683)

You are a no-talent hack.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Insightful)

s-whs (959229) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832473)

> Everyone here is going to talk about how outrageous it is for a supermarket
> to be charged for playing the radio, but the fact of the matter is that they
> use the radio to create a pleasant environment for their customers, which
> makes it a tool of commerce.

Yes, and so is the building itself, the paint to make the walls look nice, and much more.

Should the builders, paint manufacturers, etc. get 'royalties' because you use their products commercially?

I don't think so. So "used as a tool of commerce" is just not a valid argument.

Just as with the building/paint/what's in the building, the radio has already been paid for. Via tax (as in NL) and/or the radio stations which pay to transmit. Everyone can freely listen to the radio privately, so why should anyone have to pay to use it in a store?

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Interesting)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832475)

Back in college, I worked in a restaurant where initially we played the radio in the kitchen for employees during slow hours. At some point, we received a warning letter, so we got rid of the radio, which only employees could hear, and replaced it with a speaker system that played throughout the restaurant. We then changed the policy so that only cds brought in by employees could be played over the speakers. As far as I know (havent worked there in 3 years), they still don't pay anything for doing so.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832485)

The money I make a year on songwriting could maybe buy a nice dinner. Without someone looking out for my interests, I'd make nothing.

Let me repeat myself from other posts I've made in the past: the fact that you write stuff down on a piece of paper and send it to somebody does not entitle you to a check. Since this is a tech site, I'll compare this to writing software: just because you wrote some software doesn't mean that you're entitled to receive money. I don't care what the size is of the check is. Software writers are at least ahead of the curve and trying various methods to entice people to pay them directly. What I see from song writers instead is "I wrote some stuff that's used somewhere, pay me forever. And I deserve to be paid enough to not have to do anything else."

To that I can only say one thing: fuck off. I write a ton of crap. Some of it is good, some of it isn't, but I know it makes a difference. Some of it is specific to the situation and the client, some of it is generic and useful to everyone in the field. I do not expect to get paid in perpetuity for my writing, and I don't expect some third party entity to hunt down documents that kinda look like mine, or people who have something that looks like my document without proof they paid for it.

That's how it ought to be. You do work, you get paid. Wanna get paid again? Do more work. Which, by the way, is how art used to be compensated. And plenty of awesome work was created through that system - work that is arguably better than about 99.99% of the crap that came out in the last 10 years, when copyright enforcement truly started to get nuts.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832553)

Why should we have special laws just so you make that money?

We had songs (and good ones) before copyright.

Re:The radio makes senes, but not the singer (5, Insightful)

Oneiris (1206688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832607)

I'm a musician too (albeit not a professional one), and I think it ludicrous to expect to be paid in perpetuity for one piece of work created. As many others have replied, music on the radio is already licensed and songwriters/producers/artists are already compensated by their various royalty collection bodies.

If you're not getting enough money from your work, find another job. As a software engineer, I'm not paid every time code I wrote 2 years ago is used. Builders aren't paid every time a building they've worked on is sold or let. The current practice of rewarding artists every time their music is played is unsustainable, and more and more people are becoming aware of this fact.

It's amazing what people accept... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832699)

To people outside the UK, charging you for playing the radio makes no damn sense. After all, the radio station already pays for the music (if it's a standard broadcast) or *you* already pay for the music if it's satellite or CD.

The only reason people like the OP can rationalize the PRS is because they're looking at it through the lens of a culture in which it's the status quo. You see this all the time - people rationalizing or even praising elements of their particular culture that MAKE NO GODDAMN SENSE. I'm not sure whether it's done out of a sort of misplaced nationalism, a lack of imagination, or something else. But it's the only explanation I can think of for the defense of the indefensible, whether it's the PRS, the American health care system, or any other country's unique psychosis.

The irony is that for the vast majority of musicians in the UK, the burden the PRS puts on people is vastly disproportionate to the benefit received. Again, take the original poster - would s/he give up that one dinner a year in order to save business owners the incredible hassle of dealing with the PRS? Not to mention the massive amount of money the PRS must spend on enforcement, which reduces the artists' cut. If the PRS moved to a system where royalties for recording sales and broadcast were higher, and eliminated the tax on playing music in public, how much more profitable would they be?

And the birds hired copy write lawyers (2, Interesting)

RickyG (1009867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832321)

First they took music out of the schools, Then they took the music off the radio, Now they are trying to take the music out of the mouths. I guess the only music the future kids will know is the Televison commericals, and video game music. And it is not from the Evil Big Brother, it is our rich lawyers (pronouced "Li-ars") twisting every penny out every pocket.

Re:And the birds hired copy write lawyers (3, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832645)

First they took music out of the schools, Then they took the music off the radio, Now they are trying to take the music out of the mouths.

Hmmmm, sounds familiar... Oh yes! That's what the Taliban did to a whole country.

bastards!! (5, Funny)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832339)

Just for this, I'm gonna download TWICE as many mp3 tonight to show those corporate FAT CATS they can't push around the little guy!

Re:bastards!! (5, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832383)

Don't forget to delete the songs so you can download them again. Each pirated song is worth $80000, and piracy is stealing, so download enough and you can bankrupt these guys once and for all!

Re:bastards!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832631)

best short description of the copyfight I've ever read.

Oh, you noticed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832353)

I don't listen to radio anymore, as it has become nothing more than a single wholeday ad for music.

cb

The company apologized (5, Informative)

thomasinx (643997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832361)

Yes, she was ordered to pay royalties. However, shortly afterward, the company sent her flowers, and issued a formal apology (ie, they realized they went *way* too far).

and I quote the article...
"In a note attached to a large bouquet of flowers they said: "We're very sorry we made a big mistake. We hear you have a lovely singing voice and we wish you good luck." "

Re:The company apologized (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832437)

But this isn't just one isolated incident with a very large deviation from the mean. Yes, they apologized, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised if something like this happened again sometime soon, with no apologies to follow, and that's the real alarming part.

Re:The company apologized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832525)

Because you have more examples, am I right?

Re:The company apologized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832449)

The question is... why doesn't this type of idiot realize "they've gone too far" *before* they go and document their cretinism for the rest of us? These dolts seem endemic to the human race. We should not have locked up the tigers....

Re:The company apologized (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832451)

The company didn't realize anything. They were cowed into submission by an understandably outraged public.

Re:The company apologized (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832499)

They are testing the waters.

Re:The company apologized (2, Insightful)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832503)

We're very sorry we made a big mistake. We hear you have a lovely singing voice and we wish you good luck.

Which is lawyer-speak for "Our next target will be someone with a lot less public exposure, and much less ability to defend against our accusations in court."

Cunts (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832531)

The cunts should be get to experience the lovely vigilantism the British are so famous for.

How much detail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29832397)

It would be difficult to craft laws that would specifically allow singing to yourself, but allow payment for a real performance. One trusts a sense of fairness and common sense to fill in the details. HOWEVER, corporations (and the people who run them, and their lawyers) have lost any shreds of those two things they ever had.

Let's face it - the chief way to obtain money in the US is rapidly becoming simply to sue someone who has it. Very little new, tangible wealth is being produced. How much money is enough? No amount. So we have silliness like this.

simple solution (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832469)

Well obviously all she has to do is make up a freestyle rap remix of each song and sing that instead and she might get away with it. I'd like to see someone at my grocery store bagging groceries while singing a rap or techno/happy hardcore remix of a They Might be Giants song :P

Honestly, this needs to stop, NOW. (0, Redundant)

theolein (316044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832545)

I simply cannot believe this. This insanity needs to be stopped right now. My next vote will go to the Pirate Party.

Guessing what happened... (0, Flamebait)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29832649)

The PRS sent her a letter saying that she wasn't allowed the radio on in the store front. She sent a letter back saying "I'll just sing instead". PRS took this to mean "I'll sing to the customers" rather than "I'll sing to myself when working".

I'd be willing to bet she sent an inflammatory letter back to the PRS that helped cause the misunderstanding. In general there's a certain type of people who send these "nanny state gone mad!" stories to tabloids and you never hear the full chain of events.
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