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Bar Performer Arrested For Copyright Violations

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the sieze-his-harmonica dept.

282

Edis Krad writes, "An elderly Japanese bar manager and performer has been arrested for playing copyrighted songs on his harmonica. From the article: 'Investigators accuse Toyoda of illegally performing 33 songs such as the Beatles' songs "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Yesterday," whose copyrights are managed by the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers. He allegedly performed the songs on the harmonica with a female pianist at the bar he operated between August and September this year.' This is for all those kids who are learning chords on their guitars — be ready to pay fees for practicing 'Smoke On The Water.' This story seems to be legit, though it reads like an Onion piece. It's only being reported in the Mainichi Daily News via MSN.

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282 comments

Fixme: Slashdot threading is broken (3, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784363)


It appears as though the threading code has broken since the comments went over id 16777215 (ie limit of 24bit numbers)

The comments themselves are being added, but the internal link back to its parent has gone up the swanny.

Is a 24bit value an acceptable database field length or is this a code problem?

RIAA lovin' it (4, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784379)

Now that there's international precedence, expect to see the RIAA lobbying for similarly harsh enforcement of copyright law around here (OK, maybe not this bad). The trouble with copyright infringement cases like these is where to draw the line. Logically a band covering another song in a large venue for a paying crowd should pay some type of usage fees, while little Johnny shouldn't need to pay anything for playing the Star Wars theme at his small piano recital. But everywhere between those two extremes it gets pretty murky.

omg (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784393)

You mean, the Beatles songs have copyright on them! How very shocking!!!

Serves him right (5, Insightful)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784407)


Stealing from poor, hardworking, underpaid, struggling artists like mulit-multi-millionaire Sir Paul.

Not quite kids with guitars (5, Insightful)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784417)

The difference here is that this guy plays the tunes in his business establishment. One could reasonably argue that he does derive financial benefit from having music as a perk for his patrong.

Unless the guitar-playing kids are imposing a cover charge when playing for Aunt Sally, I think they are free from worry...

...for now.

Not all bad... (5, Funny)

tomknight (190939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784427)

"This is for all those kids who are learning chords on their guitars - be ready to pay fees for practicing 'Smoke On The Water.'"

Every cloud has a silver lining....

No "Stairway!" (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784443)

Denied!

I'm highlyl skeptical (5, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784453)

This story seems to be legit, though it reads like an Onion piece. It's only being reported in the Mainichi Daily News via MSN.

This sounds too much like a joke. In theory, this is supposed to be impossible. In the USA, and one would presume Japan as well, bars/nightclubs are responsible for paying fees to composer societies (this includes ASCAP and BMI in the USA) to cover exactly this sort of thing - a performer performing copywritten material. In the USA I've heard of ASCAP and BMI going after bars and nightclubs who didn't pay them money, but never performers. Again, I can't speak for Japanese law, but in the USA it is clear that it is the owner of the performance venue, not the artist, who has to pay this fee.

Stop humming that song. (0, Redundant)

anandsr (148302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784463)

That is the next step.
After that profit.

Nothing new (5, Interesting)

rwhamann (598229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784469)

Bars in the United States pay either ASCAP or RIAA (I think it's ASCAP) a flat rate for playing songs in their establishments. The association actually has undecover monitors that check out bars and other venues and then sue if the establishment isn't paying royalties. I really don't have a problem with this part ... but arrests seem to go overboard.

Parody? (4, Funny)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784475)

Apparently parody is not protected under Japanese law.

An old geezer on harmonica and a underage Japanese school girl on piano? ;)

Re:Serves him right (1)

Rixel (131146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784477)

I was going to correct your spelling of that adjective, but then realized it is mostly correct.... ....and I didn't want to get sued by Sir Paul

Paranoid Slashdot Readership: Totally offtopic (2, Insightful)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784491)

I have noticed (to much LOLing this morning) that nearly every article on /. is tagged with "itsatrap"... what gives? Doesn't this kinda defeat the purpose of the tagging system in the first place? At the very least, it was highly amusing to see every article tagged with "itsatrap." Maybe we should lobby slashdot to legitimize it with an admiral ackbar icon.

Re:omg (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784493)

Yes and the copyright owner [straightdope.com] needs the money!

hrm (1)

thejrwr (1024073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784501)

Well, go figure something like this would happen, i bet the RIAA is eating this up

Crazy... (4, Insightful)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784513)

What exactly was he 'stealing' here? An idea?

It's not like if he recorded what he's playing and then sell it on it would risk losing sales to the original artists.

His actions had zero impact on sales for those artists/labels in the unlikely event it had any impact at all it would have been slightly positive (e.g. someone gets tune stuck in their head and seeks out the original).

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784531)

I take it he'll be dis-barred?

Okay now this seems silly (5, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784533)

If the story is true, even if this guy didn't pay his licensing fees, does he really need to be arrested? The last time I checked copyright infringement was not a criminal offense but a civil offense. Large scale bootleggers are usually charged with something more substantial like fraud, mail fraud, etc which make their actions criminal. IANAL. Somebody inform me on this.

So what does this mean for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784537)

cover bands?

HOAX! (3, Interesting)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784543)

This story shows up at least once a month. It's a hoax. Last time, it was a bar being sued into bankruptcy for letting a local band play covers.

C'mon, Slashdot should know better than to fall for these things...

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784559)

It sounds like this guy was also the bar owner, though. And he already had an injunction from 2001 for doing the same thing.

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784567)

Yep - if you perform music for a fee -then in the US you are expected to have paid for the right to perform the music to the copyright holders. There are some caveats to that from my understanding, but generally that is the standard.

Any band that performs a number written by someone else is expected to have paid a use fee to the writter.

Now the obvious difference between someone practicing and someone performing for pay is - no money involved in the first instance. So I buy a piece of sheet music - this gives me all the rights I need to practice it, readying it for a performance.

As soon as I receive renumeration - I've stepped into a different payment schedule.

I think the big difference between the example in the article and the normal world is that it would usually be a civil suit to collect the monies, not a felony!

Ditto for me (1)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784569)

Let's see if this comment actually sticks. Perhaps it's been fixed now? (I have no idea why you were marked "Troll", either.)

Re:So... (1)

rwhamann (598229) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784573)

No, he just can't play in any pub-lic places anymore without paying royalties.

bars in the US have to pay (5, Interesting)

jmyers (208878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784575)

This happens all the time. ASCAP & BMI have reps that go around to bars and start billing the owners for public performance. I have been told that they rarely approach bands but almost every bar that has live or even recorded music, juke box etc get hit by bills from the song publishing companies.

Next step is... (1)

Wooloomooloo (902011) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784581)

...arresting people for whistling unlicensed songs.

Seriously now, AFAIK a few music labels have special licences for bars and whatnot, but do they even apply to live performances?

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784589)

I don't know if there were guitars involved in the french case I heard of, but definitely was not a for-benefit infrigement.
A few monthes ago, some children sang for the retirement celebration of a teacher (so nothing business-related), and the SACEM (french RIAA) sued the school in the name of the protection of the autors. In the end, the song author himself paid the fine to put an end to that BS (and avoid sharing the bad press). Of course, it was never planned that he may get a single cent from the fine.

Never mind the music... (1, Funny)

@madeus (24818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784591)

Never mind the music, have you seen the guys name? "Mr Toyoda [toyota.com] " indeed! He should be up for trademark infringement!

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784597)

My guess is:

1) The performer in this case is also the owner.

2) He wasn't paying his Japanese-ASCAP-equivalent tab at all, not just violating some Beatles-specific issue.

The whole thing sounds like a straightforward copyright violation case with the added comedy value of "elderly Japanese man". (Apparently the equivalent of our "single mothers", who are also presumed to be above copyright law.)

Re:Parody? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784603)

It's Japan we're talking about here. That's perfectly normal.

I'm having the same problem as LiquidCooled (1, Informative)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784605)

I tried posting a reply to his comment (just to see if it had been fixed), but apparently it has not. Judging by the fact that there are no replies on this thread, I'm guessing it's become somewhat universal.

Re:Fixme: Slashdot threading is broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784613)

It's a MySQL "feature". These Swedish asshats sure know how to fuck up a trivial toy-database.

sounds nuts (1)

DMorritt (923396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784615)

but i guess to be playing in his establishment he would have to have some form of entertainment license?

if your not paying then you really shouldnt be playing music to patrons, sucks to be a street busker then, think of all those people you are entertaining, the donations probably dont outweigh the royalties! expect mugging to go up as all the buskers look for alternative ways of getting your change.

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

jmyers (208878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784621)

This guy was the bar manager, not just a performer...

"A 73-year-old bar manager who illegally performed copyrighted tunes"

Re:Paranoid Slashdot Readership: Totally offtopic (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784625)

admiral ackbar, lol. now i'll picture him every time i see that stupid tag. hopefully soon everyone will start putting "yes no maybe fud notfud" on every single article so that this broken tagging system that everyone uses to state their opinion will have to be retired.

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (0, Offtopic)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784631)

I don't think copyrights even come into play in a public performance (as no "copy" is being produced). You can probably even get away with recording a cover so long as you don't use the lyrics. (And if you do record a cover all you have to pay is statutory licensing.)

I haven't any idea how similar or different the laws are in Japan.

-Peter

Sue or sue not. There is no try. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784643)

"while little Johnny shouldn't need to pay anything for playing the Star Wars theme at his small piano recital."

Don't let Lucasfilm know. They'll sue the harmonica player over his name. If that won't get him, the car company will. Followed by the sewing machine company.

Re:Paranoid Slashdot Readership: Totally offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784645)

My guess is that some kind soul who can't tag /. itself as itsatrap is going for the next best option. Still, it looks like the rest of us are not getting the message - after all, we're still here.

Re:Serves him right (1)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784665)

Actually, I believe Michael Jackson owns all the Beatles songs, so he ain't stealing anything from Sir Paul.

Re:So what does this mean for... (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784669)

I play guitar in a gigging cover band. It's the bars responsibility to pay the licensing fees for the songs we play. I believe they pay a flat annual rate or something, which allows them to have cover bands play and also play recorded music over the PA.

Re:Crazy... (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784685)

"What exactly was he 'stealing' here? An idea?"

Did you find any references to theft or stealing in the article? I didn't. Looks like nobody is even accusing him of stealing.

ATTN: Benhocking (2, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784687)

My god I haven't seen threadless articles in slash since I last delved into the real archives.

I think people aren't noticing it, but they will.
Damn annoying when a technical fault occurs, and no I don't know why its marked as troll either.

Re:Serves him right (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784695)

Michael Jackson, actually. In an amusing bit of irony Sir Paul does not own Yesterday . . . but he does own Tomorrow.

KFG

Re:Nothing new (1)

M-G (44998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784699)

RIAA doesn't have anything to do with that. It's ASCAP and BMI that are the big players in this sort of thing. They represent the composers and collect royalties on their behalf for public performance of their works. Most venues pay an annual fee to those two organizations that covers this. Most composers are members of either ASCAP or BMI, so paying both organizations covers nearly anything that would be performed.

Re:RIAA lovin' it (1)

DerGeist (956018) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784713)

Interestingly enough, it's illegal to perform "the birthday song" [snopes.com] publicly as it is copyrighted material. This is why all the restaurants sing their own home-made birthday songs when they embarrass you needlessly. So, while it may seem absurd, there is already precedent in the US for this type of thing.

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784721)


Quite simple really. He was the bar manager and the performer.

He was both (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784729)

"at the bar he operated between "

the owner of the venue and the performer..

maybe they sued his 'operator' hat, not his 'performer' hat.

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784735)

He *was* the owner of the venue. The guy owned the bar and performed in it himself, as well as employed other people to perform there.
What wasn't expressed very well in the English article was that he'd been doing this for the last 25 years, and JASRAC (the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers) had been after him for the last five years to pay up or shut up.

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784759)

Also note that John Cage is suing anyone who doesn't talk for a few minutes, so be sure to keep taliking.

Good news, everyone! (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784761)

As the conviction rate in Japan exceeds 99% [repec.org] , we can be almost certain that this dangerous international economic terrorist is going to be kept off the streets for a long time. At last, Japanese listeners can be assured of hearing only 100% approved covers by the latest Pop Puppet of the Hour!

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784769)

"He allegedly performed the songs on the harmonica with a female pianist at the bar he operated between August and September this year." Reading is fun.

Is this what /. has become? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784773)

I haven't logged in for some time, then over the last few weeks or so, I see a large portion of stories like this?!?! Has this site has become some gossipy news rag? I am a little surprised to say the least....

Re:No "Stairway!" (1)

cryocide (947909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784777)

Funny that you mention that--I saw the movie on opening night and the first three notes he played were, in fact, the first three notes of Stairway. Those three notes were subsequently changed for TV and home video releases. Their own joke got denied!

Re:Serves him right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784779)

Actually it was probably Sony/Michael Jackson that are responsible as they own the publishing rights to Mcartney-Lennon Songs. Another interesting one is Happy Birthday is protected although rarely prosecuted. Usually it is changed though when you go to a restaraunt so that the tune is not the same.

Re:hrm (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784789)

All you people making posts in this story regarding the RIAA - do you actually know what the last character in that acronym stands for?

Re:Paranoid Slashdot Readership: Totally offtopic (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784809)

The tag system is basically worthless they way it is being abused now. They should delete all tags such as "itsatrap" "yes" "no" "maybe" "fud" "notfud" since they are meaningless. Maybe we need a meta-moderation system for tagging.

Classical music (2, Funny)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784811)

Simple solution: stop listening to this newfangled "rock and roll" stuff and just focus on classical. Haydn and Mozart's copyrights ran out long ago, so you can practice and perform their work for free. (Granted, some of the newer classical stuff is still under copyright, but it mostly sucks anyway.)

Re:Parody? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784823)

Incidentally, I can set you up with some of divxen of old geezers having their harmonicas blown by underage Japanese school girls.

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784829)

"The difference here is that this guy plays the tunes in his business establishment. One could reasonably argue that he does derive financial benefit from having music as a perk for his patrong."

Right, I think the issue is not his playing, but his owning an establishment where protected music is played. This little "trick" is why more musicians are not up in arms over how copyrights are operated. Musicians are generally not responsible for paying royalties on songs they cover live.

Now if the musicians were responsible and had to build the costs into their rates, more might have something to say.

I am not sure how this works for private parties. Can anyone enlighten us?

Also, I wonder what the situation is for buskers?

all the best,

drew
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/262954 [ourmedia.org]
Sayings - Deterred Bahamian Novel

Re:No "Stairway!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784831)

That's a UNIX book. Cool!

Free Culture (5, Interesting)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784839)

As has been pointed out, this particular case is covered by bars paying ASCAP fees.
But this brings up an excellent point. In a culture where all intellectual "property" is owned, can we be far from though crimes by just humming a song?

The irony is thick here. George Harrison, a member of the Beatles, was sued and lost for unintentionally copying "My Sweet Lord" from the Chiffons' song "He's So Fine" [wikipedia.org] . It was a major blow to Harrison.

The problem is that the record companies that own the copyrights own monopolies on rights, and can conceivably charge as much as they want for these rights. The arms race has already started for movie licenses for songs. In the commentary for the Blues Brother's, John Landis comments that a movie of this type will probably never be made again, because the astronomical cost of music licensing.

The only conceivable long term solution is free culture. Society will still find ways to reward authors for their contributions without the current licensing nightmare. That is the only way culture will be able to keep evolving. The mix-ups, mash-downs, movies and cultural references in the future depend on having unencumbered source material. And the more the copyrights holders squeeze, the quicker this will happen.

What's the big deal? (3, Informative)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784841)

Pretend you're a composer and you have just written the piece that is the pinnacle of your career. The New York Times says that your piece is the most musically perfect piece of classical music every played. Orchestras around the world want to perform your work. Do you have a right to charge them for it?

Of course you do. If you didn't, then why would you write the music?

"Copyright" is not a monolithic right -- it is a bundle of individual rights that includes the right to copy, the right to prepare derivative works and, important here, the right to perform the work publicly. Non-public "performances", like playing in your garage or humming, are excluded.

There was a post questioning whether the performer or the bar should be liable. In general, the performer is directly liable for the infringement -- he's performing it publicly. But, because the bar owner could have prevented the infringement, but didn't and instead profited from it, the bar owner is probably liable as well. (It's called 'vicarious infringement.') Mainly for convenience, ASCAP and others typically deal with the bar owners rather than the performers.

Re:Okay now this seems silly (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784851)

WHAT FUCKING PART OF THE WORD "JAPAN" DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!?

This is in Japan. It is another country. It does not have the same laws as the USA (yes, I know this is hard to grasp for some of you).
In Japan, copyright infringement can be both a civil and a criminal offense. In this case, he had refused to pay fees to the appropriate organisation for the last five years, and thus they submitted a request to the police to enforce the criminal law associated with copyright infringement.

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

iamnafets (828439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784853)

"An elderly Japanese bar manager and performer" I'm assuming he qualifies as both.

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784855)

Then every single bar band and just starting indy band is not done for. That is ALL they play is other people's tunes. (A buddy of mine even covers Neutral Milk Hotel to the horror of bar patrons)

Personally, I hope the RIIA clamps onto this and tries even more draconian BS... maybe then the public will wake up or look away from their tv's long enough to be slightly outraged.

Re:Paranoid Slashdot Readership: Totally offtopic (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784859)

It's the latest slashdot meme

By tomorrow every article will also be tagged "crywolf"

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784865)

Um for the pure enjoyment of writing music???

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

Steve Cowan (525271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784871)

In this case the bar owner is also the performer.

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784883)

not quite, but almost [guitartab.cc] (Guitartab.cc used to be the place to go for guitar tabs until it was taken down for copyright infringment)

is this reply there? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784885)

I have two comments that show up in my messages, but not in this news item because it looks like the ones I responded to have vanished. At least when I click on "parent", I get a sort of null message.

NOT! (2, Interesting)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784889)

Nice one, dipshit. It's genuine. The original Japanese article has his full name and address, and it's been on all the major Japanese news services since this afternoon (he was arrested this morning).

Re:RIAA lovin' it (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784909)

everywhere between those two extremes it gets pretty murky.

Unfortunately, it takes a judge to work out which case is fair use and which case isn't. If the song was performed for financial gain, for example, a judge might look at it as infringement rather than fair use. On the other hand, if Johnny "cutely" puts out a tip hat for his recital, a judge might still view that as fair use. In the end, it's all up to the common sense of the judge.

Of course, this entire story might still turn up to be another Onion story picked up by the mainstream press. (Because they check their facts so well.)

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784917)

Well, given that it's the bar manager that was doing the performing, they're one and the same ;P

Aside from that, Japan's copyright law is actually a bit more draconian than the US, so its entirely possible they expect performers to pay up too.

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

jeremy_dot (734236) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784923)

Quoth the article:
A 73-year-old bar manager who illegally performed copyrighted tunes by the Beatles and other artists on the harmonica was arrested...

They're going after the manager, who just happens to be the performer as well. The parent's point is valid, however the article doesn't go into enough detail regarding exactly what Toyoda was arrested for. Despite the assumption that Japanese law is similar to US law in the ways the parent has mentioned, the arrest can still be construed as legitimate.

This Is Not The First Time Either.... (4, Funny)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784927)

...George Michael was arrested for playing "Come Together" on a pink oboe in a public lavatory.

Re:Fixme: Slashdot threading is broken (1)

aetherworld (970863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784929)

No really, where are all the threads? oO

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

theguitarizt (773106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784935)

but what happens when those guitar playing kids start playing in bars? Will the performer get in trouble or will it be the bar owner who is deriving the financial benefit but has no real control over what is played?

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784945)

a perk for his patrong

That's my phrase of the day!

Re:Serves him right (1)

LoP_XTC (312463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784947)

Yeah but after the divorce he will most likely be just multi-millionaire Sir. Paul. His ex getting the other multi half :)

aaron

Trademark (3, Funny)

Peyna (14792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784949)

Well, with a name like "Toyoda," he's lucky they didn't add a charge for Trademark Dilution.

Boy scouts (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784951)

Investigators accuse Toyoda of illegally performing 33 songs
It was a boy scout who raised the issue with the Japanese branch of the RIAA. He received enough brownie points to last a lifetime.

The Long Arm of the RIAA (3, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784961)

In the US, bars and other venues for live and recorded music "performance" (playing in public) usually pay a blanket subscription fee to ASCAP and BMI, which each collect royalties for the different artists they represent. They record a random setlist, either one day a month or so, or one hour a day for several days, depending on the royalty agency, to send to the royalty agencies. Then the agency sends fractions of the subscription for the whole month to the artists in the random playlist. The artist's pay has the royalties already deducted before being paid.

Of course, that's the way it's supposed to work. In practice, many venues, especially smaller ones, don't even bother sending in their royalty subscriptions. And BMI/ASCAP don't represent all artists - SOCAN represents lots of Canadian artists, there are other even tinier agencies with their own exclusive artist list, and of course many smaller-producing artists don't register with any agency. The venues that do report usually don't report the random samples. When they do, they often just make them up. And of course those samples are not really random, or represent their total performance lists, except in venues which play the same 5 songs over and again (there are certainly too many of those). But artists with fewer repeats get left out of the sample, and the biggest artists obviously get even more favoritism, and therefore much more royalties - the little ones get some random trickle, if anything. And then the agencies often don't pay their artists, who have no way to know how much they're being cheated, while the agencies keep a much larger percentage of the collected royalties than necessary, for supporting their fat, lazy, lying, cheating, stealing corporations and shareholders. And then there are the gangs that blackmail venues by threatening them with "royalty enforcement" (which can stop their music activities), no matter what their compliance, if the venue doesn't pay the gang the extra bribes - while the gang pockets any legit payments instead of sending it to the agencies.

I've worked in and with the music industry for over 20 years. Including some of the biggest promoters/producers in the US. Some of my best friends still make their living in the criminal music industry, mostly musicians, but some venue owners/operators and some even label execs. They prefer the European model, which is mostly the same, but which at least requires the venue to report every song played. Which at least starts with a more fair requirement, but which is abused about as much as in the US.

The industry wants everyone moved to a blanket license - covering everyone, even if not a "bulk rate". Their holy grail is music recognition software, which reports every person/place's performance for network royalty payments. When they can, they will make everyone's phones monitor everyone all the time, reporting any music we perform and taxing us. That includes playing recordings, pianos, singing in the shower, "Happy Birthday"©, gospel in church, probably even air guitar. All tracked, charged, stored, datamined, and used to micromarket everything to you, along with your favorite songs.

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784967)

However, one much wonder what financial and social benefit is achieved by the enforcement agency, who are using their special "Spy-Kids" branded spy equipment to hunt down and prosecute these obvious law-breakers.

I could also argue that by learning to play guitar by learning Beatles songs, a kid is learning a life skill that he/she may be able to eventually monetize. Playing others' songs in your bedroom may also enhance ones creativity or inspire others to write - and hello, that shit shouldn't be free, ya know.

You can always round-about argue this or that, but the guy was playing a harmonica for God's sake.

Re:Paranoid Slashdot Readership: Totally offtopic (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784971)

Does anybody use the tagging system to search stories anyway?

Re:Paranoid Slashdot Readership: Totally offtopic (1)

sdaemon (25357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784973)

just because all the articles are tagged with "itsatrap" doesn't mean they aren't all really traps. :)

Re:RIAA lovin' it (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784977)

. . . little Johnny shouldn't need to pay anything for playing the Star Wars theme at his small piano recital.

That is correct. Little Johnny's music teacher, as the promoter, is responsible for paying the fee.

That is why Little Johnny is actually playing a Bach minuet.

KFG

Probably arrested as manager, not performer (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784979)

The article seems quite clear, the guy was the MANAGER of the place, that he was the performer too was probably inconsequential; it just makes for a better fear-inducing story...

Re:Never mind the music... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16784991)

No kidding! It's just like here in the states, man! I saw a performance by some bastard names Bob Smith, he was so totally ripping off Smith & Wesson, he should have been shot! it's a trap!

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

ExE122 (954104) | more than 7 years ago | (#16784993)

The Waffle House has a jukebox that plays music. They make up to $0.25 per song for their financial benefit.

And what about a Karaoke bar? Isn't that a business establishment that attracts customers by having people sing songs?

I've also been to a piano bar where a couple of guys play just about any song by request... Putting down a couple bucks with your request gets them to play it sooner.

Should I call the police?

--
"A man is asked if he is wise or not. He replies that he is otherwise" ~Mao Zedong

RE: Slash bug -ATTN LiquidCooled & Benhocking (0, Offtopic)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785003)

I too am having this problem, and I suspect everyone else is, but hasn't noticed or doesn't care. What's really fun is that if this is fixed soon, all of the redundant comments will show up and be moderated down (I posted the same CNN link that you posted LiquidCooled in response to the Vista RTM because I didn't realize that you'd posted it 10 minutes before I did). Bring on the negative moderation! I don't see how this is trolling (although offtopic and redundant do apply).. It should at least be left in the top level for people to see.

Re:Fixme: Slashdot threading is broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16785005)

Why has this been modded as troll? Slashdot IS broken for the moment!
No replies are visible in threaded mode.

Where is the news here? (0, Offtopic)

CerealSam (642129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785013)

A new low in "news" coverage.

Since... (5, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785019)

...there's a lot of stupid replies saying "it must be a hoax", "copyright infringement isn't a criminal offense", "why should he be arrested for playing a couple of songs", etc., and since replies seem to be broken...

- The guy arrested had been running the bar and doing live performances there since 1981.
- JASRAC had approached him repeatedly since 2001 to cough up the required fees for his performances (just like every other bar, club, pub and watering hole in Japan).
- He had continually refused to pay those fees.
- In Japan, copyright infringement is covered by both civil and criminal law.
- JASRAC went to the police and asked them to enforce the law.

That's about it. He knew what the law is, and he kept on breaking it, so he got arrested.

I can almost hear that poor guy singing... (5, Funny)

ColdCoffee (664886) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785025)

"Yesterday, Rife was such an easy game to Pray..."

Car Company Gets on Board For Trademark Violation (2, Funny)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785029)

Investigators accuse Toyoda of illegally performing 33 songs such as the Beatles

Toyota motor company sued as well, claiming that playing bad harmonica under the name "Toyoda" qualifies as defamation of character and slander.

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16785033)

One could reasonably argue that he does derive financial benefit

One could also argue that financial benefit is irrelevant, and that government's law is arbitrary. Come on, is "financial benefit" really the boogyman you make it out to be?

Re:I'm highlyl skeptical (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785035)

This sounds too much like a joke. In theory, this is supposed to be impossible. In the USA, and one would presume Japan as well, bars/nightclubs are responsible for paying fees to composer societies (this includes ASCAP and BMI in the USA) to cover exactly this sort of thing - a performer performing copywritten material. In the USA I've heard of ASCAP and BMI going after bars and nightclubs who didn't pay them money, but never performers. Again, I can't speak for Japanese law, but in the USA it is clear that it is the owner of the performance venue, not the artist, who has to pay this fee.

Maybe they wanted money from the bar and performers?

Re:Not quite kids with guitars (1)

CyberSnyder (8122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785043)

Don't be so sure. If I give someone a copy of an MP3, I'm not making money off that but the artist (and the mega corp record companies) have been cheated of their fair profit. Same thing with Johnny playing "Smoke on the Water". Does he have a license to play that creative work of art or is he stealing from the industry.

Maybe guitars will be sold with ASCAP licenses that are renewable annually.

(Please read with appropriate sarcasm.)

Re:ATTN: Benhocking (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 7 years ago | (#16785045)

seems to work now
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