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Listening To The Radio At Work? Prepare To Be Sued

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the we-live-in-an-age-of-wonders dept.

The Courts 486

MLCT writes "The Performing Rights Society, one of the UK's royalties collecting societies, has taken a Scottish car servicing company to court because the employees are alleged to have been listening to the radio at work, allowing the music to be 'heard by colleagues and customers'. The PRS is seeking £200,000 in damages for the 'performances of the music' which they claim equates to copyright infringement. The judge, Lord Emslie, has ruled that the case can continue to hearing evidence, commenting that the key point to note was that music was 'audibly blaring from employee's radios'. Where do the extents of a 'public performance' end? Radios on in cabs?"

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Somebody please, stop the madness (5, Insightful)

j0e_average (611151) | about 7 years ago | (#20892891)

It is completely unreasonable to expect compensation for second-hand radio.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (1)

cindysthongs (1168367) | about 7 years ago | (#20892927)

In other news, I'll sue you for copyright infringement for when you quote me on slashdot Or, if you repeat something said on the simpsons Or, if you whistle at work

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (2, Funny)

f2x (1168695) | about 7 years ago | (#20893115)

And lo- the absurdities continue. How much more of this legalism must we endure before their system implodes? It seems that the implementation of the myriad of laws is shifting around faster than the rules in a game of "Calvin Ball". You would expect that at sooner or later, these smirking litigators will eventually take a bite of their own poison, but time after time it seems they get away with their asinine behavior, and move on to plot another ludicrous litigation against people who just don't want to have anything to do with them.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (5, Funny)

xjimhb (234034) | about 7 years ago | (#20893147)

What's next? Perhaps the newspaper will sue you if you hold a copy so somebody can read over your shoulder?

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (5, Funny)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | about 7 years ago | (#20893243)

In other news, I'll sue you for copyright infringement for when you quote me on slashdot Or, if you repeat something said on the simpsons
In Soviet Russia, Yakov Smirnoff sues YOU!

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (1)

BZWingZero (1119881) | about 7 years ago | (#20892965)

Don't give the RIAA any ideas. Even though this is occurring in another country, this may give them some sort of precedent (in their eyes) to try and pull it off here.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (1)

empaler (130732) | about 7 years ago | (#20893107)

You mean the same RIAA that has sued car manufacturers for installing radios in cars and not paying license fees for passengers? I think they're already there.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (2, Informative)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 7 years ago | (#20893193)

Even though this is occurring in another country, this may give them some sort of precedent ...

Here in Australia, this is already long the established (APRA v Tolbush [1986]), I'm surprised that it is not already so in the UK. In Tolbush an agent from the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) asked for a car radio to be demonstrated in a shop, and when the shop keeper turned the radio on he got sued for making an infringing public performance (how that was not authorisation I don't know).

It's seems a little odd that the RIAA hasn't set this up in the US yet. Maybe they are waiting to get one of their congressmen/senators to enact it legislatively rather throwing the dice in court?

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (1)

tepples (727027) | about 7 years ago | (#20893225)

It's seems a little odd that the RIAA hasn't set this up in the US yet.
I know why: musical performance rights that do not involve transmitting the work digitally are licensed through ASCAP/SESAC/BMI, not RIAA or its member labels.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 7 years ago | (#20893289)

I know why: musical performance rights that do not involve transmitting the work digitally are licensed through ASCAP/SESAC/BMI, not RIAA or its member labels.

Really? So before digital transmission the RIAA didn't have any rights over recorded music? Given the name I had assumed that the RIAA dealt with the rights (including perfomance) rights to sound recordings, as opposed to say the right related to published music (eg. the right to perform a cover).

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (1)

Taco Meat (1104291) | about 7 years ago | (#20893011)

These guys are the UK's equivalent of the RIAA. Is anyone surprised?

These guys can take the meat suppository. Really.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (5, Funny)

Duhavid (677874) | about 7 years ago | (#20893103)

What about second hand smoke?

I think the tobacco companies should sue
everyone for enjoying their products at
second ( or even third ) hand.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (1, Flamebait)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 7 years ago | (#20893231)

I think the tobacco companies should sue everyone for enjoying their products at second ( or even third ) hand.

They don't own the smoke. There is no IP issue here, the sale of cigarettes is a simple assignment of chattel. The smoke belongs to the people who burn the cigarettes but since they are (facially) comitting a tresspass to the person, they aren't in a position to complain either.

In other words, your analogy sucks!

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (5, Insightful)

ediron2 (246908) | about 7 years ago | (#20893251)

Heh... second-hand got me to thinking: imagine a second-hand-smoke victim receiving a countersuit by tobacco companies because they were able to inhale cigarette smoke they hadn't paid for.

This is about that absurd.

Theatrical broadcast implies a desire for an audience to hear the performance leading them to the venue. Charging admission shows enrichment. Venue must reimburse the artists in such a case. Sensible so far.

Muzak (or elevator music or bland background music, for those that don't know the slang) creates mood for a particular commercial location (restaurant, store, elevator, or even music-on-hold). This mood is carefully cultivated for whatever commercial goal by the vendor, so the vendor should be reimbursing artists for their help in making the store/restaurant mood.

But music played by workers at a construction site or a repair shop... that's for the benefit of the employees and usually at the expense of the customer. I'd no sooner wander down to the mechanic's to listen to his boom box than I'd want to eavesdrop off most strangers' ipods. Hell, I thought that was the greatest part of ipods: boomboxes became anachronistic jokes.

Charging royalties for unwanted intrusions of music is the most absurd damn thing I've ever heard of, and tries to claim economic value where none exists. It'd be like demanding royalties from the owners of all those noisy damn cars driving around with mega stereos in their trunks rattling my windows...

Hmm... on the other hand, maybe I'm in *favor* of this, if another wave of unwanted noiseboxes are silenced. Dumbass argument, desirable side effect.

Re:Somebody please, stop the madness (5, Funny)

Your Pal Dave (33229) | about 7 years ago | (#20893253)

Somebody should compensate me for having to listen to the idiotic station that the jerk in the next cubicle listens to!

How can they prove that customers were listening? (1)

yog (19073) | about 7 years ago | (#20893307)

Bottom line, it's not the "broadcasting" of the music but the "reception" of the music by the auditory nerves of customers.

It seems to me it's the burden of proof of the copyright claimant that the customers were taking in this music and deriving substantial enjoyment from it. Suppose that 99% of customers either did not hear the music or heard it but disliked it. Then 99% of the claim should be thrown out, i.e. reduce the claim to L2000.

They sure are greedy (5, Interesting)

slashqwerty (1099091) | about 7 years ago | (#20892895)

Don't the radio stations already pay royalties? Why should the artists collect twice?

Re:They sure are greedy (2, Insightful)

adona1 (1078711) | about 7 years ago | (#20893031)

I would be surprised if the artists collected anything from a lawsuit like this, except maybe a tarnished reputation.

Re:They sure are greedy (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#20893055)

Why should the artists collect twice?

      This has nothing to do with the artists. In fact, the artists will never see a penny of this.

Re:They sure are greedy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893057)

The artists collect twice??? What world do you live in? The artists get pocket change, everyone else involved with getting the music from the mouth/instrument of the artist to the ears of the audience gets most of it. It's the RIAA/ASCAP/BMI that wants you to pay, pay again, and then to change things up a bit, pay some more.

Re:They sure are greedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893069)

The artists collect? Very funny.

Good thing I hate listening to radio! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20892907)

Although it's hard to boycott what you don't use.

Re:Good thing I hate listening to radio! (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 7 years ago | (#20893235)

Although it's hard to boycott what you don't use.
You use proprietary music every time you walk into a grocery store that plays music.

sigh (4, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 7 years ago | (#20892909)

you know what is next, it'll become illegal for anyone to have only one copy of a cd because other people can hear it.

Re:sigh (3, Funny)

CompuGeek (11377) | about 7 years ago | (#20892989)

Or have to pay because a person can smell baking bread at the bakery.

Re:sigh (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893035)

This is already illegal.

I buy at least 4 copies of each CD, with a separate player and headphones for each. When friends come over, we synchronize playback with the familiar 3-2-1 countdown. Are you saying you don't follow the procedure?

Re:sigh (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#20893091)

Nah, I just download my music from some torrent site and burn my friends a copy. Are you saying you don't follow the procedure?

Re:sigh (3, Interesting)

Ashlocke (1094519) | about 7 years ago | (#20893127)

Perhaps they should put a warning on the portable radio box:

"Using the radio/CD/Casset player for anyone other than the owner is AGAINST THE LAW, AND MAY LEAD TO HARSH FINES."

Disturbing.

Re:sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893301)

yep, a family of 4 would be "stealing" if they didn't buy 4 copies of each and every one of their music. never mind that it is the stupidest, unenforcable law with no grounding in reality, THEY WANT THEIR MONEY NOW

seriously??? (5, Funny)

WwWonka (545303) | about 7 years ago | (#20892911)

seriously?...um...seriously? SERIOUSLY? hold on, let me think about this one a little more...............seriously????

Re:seriously??? (5, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#20893321)

It could only happen in America. The Us has a broken legal system. Thank goodness nothing that stupid could ever happen in the EU...
Oh never mind.

Must be quite a performance.... (2, Funny)

btavshan (699524) | about 7 years ago | (#20892913)

I never knew watching the guys wash your car counted as a performance. I suppose I'm more of a performing arts snob than I thought....

This isn't *all* bad... (5, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | about 7 years ago | (#20892915)

If they lose, sanity prevails.

But if they win, it provides precedent to sue anyone driving by with their car stereo too loud, so at least we get something out of the mess.

That really is stupid (4, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 7 years ago | (#20892917)

I mean, holy shit, that's possibly the stupidest thing I ever heard.

Re:That really is stupid (1)

Puff of Logic (895805) | about 7 years ago | (#20893133)

I'm really quite flabbergasted by stories such as these. It increasingly seems that being bat-shit insane is a prerequisite to do business in the entertainment industry. I can accept this for artists, but such a characteristic in the paper-pushers has become rather annoying of late. I can only wish that they are soon visited by the ghosts of Music -Past, -Present, and -Future respectively, and instructed on the error of their ways.

Re:That really is stupid (1)

empaler (130732) | about 7 years ago | (#20893159)

I mean, holy shit, that's possibly the stupidest thing I ever heard.
You must be new here. Let me show you the cafeteria.

Thumpmobiles (5, Funny)

anagama (611277) | about 7 years ago | (#20892925)

When the hell is someone going to sue the idiots with the car stereos I can hear a mile away?!!!

Damn right -- get the hell off my lawn.

Re:Thumpmobiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893245)

At first I thougt the subject was 'thumpophile'..

End to elevator music? (1)

ShadowHywind (1028398) | about 7 years ago | (#20892933)

Will this put an end to bad elevator music??
        But seriously are people crazy?! its a radio..

uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20892935)

I wonder if lawyers for Karen Carpenter's estate are busy preparing nastygrams for the American Dental Association.

Re:uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893261)

Actually, the administrators of Karen Carpenter's estate have been actively trying to squash this. [imdb.com] . They stopped legal distribution, but they haven't stopped the bootleggers.

The irony is that it is one of the most touching films which I have ever seen. I'm a a cynic, and I attended a screening of this film so that I could hoot and jeer Karen Carpenter and her untimely death. However, this movie will whack you like a 2 by 4. It is what might be termed an "art house" movie. It lures you in, thinking that it is going to dish up some wicked satire. But after you are lured in, it gobsmacks you.

I left the theater practically in tears, and ashamed of myself for my lack of charity. Now when I hear a Karen Carpenter song I actually hear and appreciate the melancholy in her lovely, crystalline voice. This film caused me to do a full 180 in the way I viewed this fated girl.

How ironic that her estate is on a jihad against the producers of perhaps the only honest and charitable portrayal of the late Miss Carpenter.

It's the law (4, Insightful)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20892937)

Oddly enough, it is the law. This law may make no sense, but if you want it changed, you have to contect your elected representatives and convince them to change it.

On the flip side, this is what happens when record companies get desperate. That is a good thing, it means they're losing.

I'm all for people getting compensated for their hard work, but by any standard, this is ridiculous.

(Are the headphone makers sponsoring this?)

Re:It's the law (1, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#20893037)

you have to contect your elected representatives

      I have no idea how to contect them, but hopefully it's a process that involves a lot of pain on their part.

Re:It's the law (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893075)

contact, smart-aleck. :)

I guess spelling nazis do have their place, besides, that was kinda funny.

Re:It's the law (3, Funny)

GaryPatterson (852699) | about 7 years ago | (#20893153)

First the ignored us.
Then they laughed at us.
Then then fought us (costing many of us fines of several thousand, and some people were fined everything and live in squalid bankrupcy to this day)
Then we win (except for everyone sued or taken to court and/or the cleaners by the system that supported the big companies)

Um... Yay?

Re:It's the law (2, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | about 7 years ago | (#20893157)

Gotta disagree with you.

Radio is typically a non-paid-for commodity. It's paid for by ads, but the users do not support it, they listen in for free.

The legal precedents against the sharing of media like this (at least in the US) are for cable TV, HBO fights, etc. Things people are supposed to pay for individually, but then display for others in large groups.

The only way I could see this holding would be if it was XM or Sirius satellite radio, where the user is supposed to be paying a subscription to listen.

Re:It's the law (2, Informative)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893197)

That's why laws like that don't make sense. But they do exist in some forms and in some jurisdictions.

Not Surprising (5, Informative)

mashade (912744) | about 7 years ago | (#20892947)

As a former restaurant manager, this isn't news to me - though the setting is different.

I was once approached by a BMI agent about the music playing in the kitchen for this same reason. ASCAP and BMI will go after restaurants for royalties from jukeboxes, or bands playing cover songs -- and even your kitchen crew playing their favorite tunes while they work, if it's audible to the customers. That was the stipulation, it had to be quiet enough not to beard from the dining room. Of course, we wanted it that way anyway so as not to interfere with the house music, but on lulls sometimes sound travels.

I thought it had gone too far at that point, without the madness from the RIAA and their relatively recent infringement suits. They've been out of line for a while, folks!

How about a counter suit, just for fun? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893139)

After reading about the lawsuit against target.com [arstechnica.com] , under the ADA, for the web site not being friendly to the blind, I was thinking - about a lawsuit against the RIAA for not making music accessible to the deaf? Make them publish all the lyrics or something.

Re:Not Surprising (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 7 years ago | (#20893141)

As for the jukeboxes can you just say what other places with pinball and video games say "They are not our games" you have to talk with the people who own the games.

Re:Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893319)

Of course, we wanted it that way anyway so as not to interfere with the house music, but on lulls sometimes sound travels.

You guys played house music in a restaurant? Thumping bass is the last thing I want to hear when I eat. And it's good to know that sound only travels sometimes.

On hold (5, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 7 years ago | (#20892951)

Back when I worked for the state government road authority we ran a small call centre for breakdowns, etc. The audio switcher had an input for an on hold message and for a long time we fed in a signal from a commercial radio station.

The theory is that they are broadcasting N copies of their signal anyway, and a few extra listeners are also going to be hearing the advertisements which pay for the broadcast. It scales, so what is the problem?

More to the point, if I listen alone in my car and an advert comes on then I will change to a different station. If I am listening to somebody else's radio then I have to listen to the advert, so by that argument they should be encouraging people to share radios.

Re:On hold (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about 7 years ago | (#20893221)

The record companies don't get paid extra when you listen tom advertisements.

Trust me, the desires of the radio stations and the desires of the record companies DO NOT agree in this area. If it were up to the radio stations they would happily have you blaring their tunes (and ads) to high heaven.

Missing the point of the social contract (5, Insightful)

Endymion (12816) | about 7 years ago | (#20892955)

They can collect on "public performances" of the radio when they start paying me for trespassing on my property with all that RF.

This is not a copyright violation as it's "publicly performing" things that were already sent out over public airways. Really, it's almost equivalent to the idiots suing because people used the "hacking technology" of HTTP to get the files they publicly offered.

Re:Missing the point of the social contract (1)

cindysthongs (1168367) | about 7 years ago | (#20893267)

I would like to tax all roaming electromagnetic signals going through my property, HOW DARE THEY!

It has been like this for a long time.. (4, Informative)

Boap (559344) | about 7 years ago | (#20892961)

That is why most stores use Muzak so they do not get sued for royalties. I worked for a store in 1986 that had to move in this direction as they were sued by the recording industry and they went to Muzak.

Re:It has been like this for a long time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893135)

That is why most stores use Muzak so they do not get sued for royalties. I worked for a store in 1986 that had to move in this direction as they were sued by the recording industry and they went to Muzak.

And what makes you think that Muzak doesn't have an author & copyright holder? Probably harder to figure out who though, since Muzak is so indistinguishable, but someone wrote that crap, and they are looking to get paid like all the others.

Re:It has been like this for a long time.. (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893183)

I think the difference is that muzak is explicitly licensed for that kind of use.

Advertising? (4, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | about 7 years ago | (#20892963)

Isn't the point of radio to be listened to by as many people as possible. If your song gets airplay then people might buy your album. Wasn't that the whole point of payola? Plus, they get royalties each time the song is played.

This way they can cannibalize the radio audience for a few bucks and keep charging the same royalties. I think I should patent a business model.

I bet their next action is to sue people selling CDs. They'll go after a big offender like Virgin.

Re:Advertising? (1)

cindysthongs (1168367) | about 7 years ago | (#20892983)

I think I should patent a business model. I cite prior art on /.! What about ringtones that people listen to, that's pratically distributing music - and what if you're in a closed elevator with a lot of people, that's pratically like a performance

Re:Advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893083)

No one is buying music just pirating obviously from the RIAA pov, so they might as well make money where you can.

Unfuckingbelievable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20892977)

At first it sounded like Slashdot put its usual spin on this article, but then I read it: the situation is exactly as the submission describes it. These people are unfuckingbelievable.

Re:Unfuckingbelievable. (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893015)

You are witnessing a practical application of reducto ad absurdum.

The problem is, that kind of exercise is not supposed to have a practical application - it's supposed to be fleshed out before the bill is signed into law.

That's really where the system is breaking down - strong lobbies and stupid lawmakers.

Re:Unfuckingbelievable. (1)

trukai (807753) | about 7 years ago | (#20893113)

I used to work on a dairy farm.. When milking the cows we always had the radio playing, as it relaxed them (They preferred middle-of-the-road, light rock or C&W). We milked about 120 cows twice a day. Does this qualify as a public performance? It certainly was a moosical performance, udderwise....

Re:Unfuckingbelievable. (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893169)

Probably. You know the RIAA will milk it for all it's worth.

Re:Unfuckingbelievable. (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | about 7 years ago | (#20893331)

And of course, once they've churned this issue into a froth of absurdity and skimmed every last bit of cream off the top, all that will be left is a lot of sour, spilled milk. Nothing worth crying over in any case.

Personally, I find the whole enterprise rather cheesy, but that's just me.

Wow (3, Interesting)

olddotter (638430) | about 7 years ago | (#20892997)

As an American I am both saddened and happy to see this case is in the UK. It is sad that the stupidity is everywhere. It is nice to see our society isn't the only one about to implode under the weight of insane lawsuits.

IANAL -- My understanding in the US, is that it would be ok to listen to the RADIO in this setting, but not to bring in your own CDs and blast them out. The difference being that the Radio station is paying the royalties for a public performance. Any lawyers want to comment?

Re:Wow (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893053)

As another poster remarked, try doing that in a restaurant and watch the bills come in.

It's no better here.

Re:Wow -ACTUALLY, NOT EXACTLY (2, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 7 years ago | (#20893257)

The difference being that the Radio station is paying the royalties for a public performance.

Actually, not exactly. While radio does pay royalties to the song writer, it is the only major country that DOESN'T pay royalties to the record company and/or performers. Why? Because it's considered free advertising for the sale of that song and the concert performances for the artists.

In fact, to borrow the In The Soviet Union line...

In the United States, Payola goes to the radio station.

Re:Wow (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 7 years ago | (#20893335)

It is nice to see our society isn't the only one about to implode under the weight of insane lawsuits.
personally I'd rather this insanity stay isolated and die out on its own. no need to bring the rest of the world into this.

that is the point of radio (1)

socsoc (1116769) | about 7 years ago | (#20893021)

The point of radio is to share the music. The artists have already been compensated and the stations want as many listeners as possible, if you have the station playing in a business, that's even more people whom the advertisers reach. This seems like such a basic function of radio (the only other time people listen is while in the car) that I can't believe they don't see the light. If you can't play commercial radio at work, businesses will end up playing freely available music and everyone will think they are are either on hold or in an elevator...

HEY! Performing Rights Society.. (3, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 7 years ago | (#20893023)

Kiss
My
Ass

Seriously. WTF do you want? Payment for each and every set of ears that might be in close proximity to a set of speakers that is playing stuff you've already been paid for.

Let me reiterate...
Kiss. My. Ass.

Re:HEY! Performing Rights Society.. (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893033)

Hey, it ain't anything new. You know they already get a tax on all of your blank media, yet you're still not allowed to copy stuff to it.

The recording industry is simply a racket with the full support of lawmakers.

Re:HEY! Performing Rights Society.. (1)

I don't want to spen (638810) | about 7 years ago | (#20893219)

I've heard of Kiss, but not the other two groups ...

Re:HEY! Performing Rights Society.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893275)

Kiss
My
Ass

Now listen here sonny, you're on a story about England now. It's:

Kiss
My
Arse

Move along.

Speaker Manufacturers? (1)

mauthbaux (652274) | about 7 years ago | (#20893039)

Perhaps they're attempting to set a precedent that will allow them to sue virtually everyone (though I'm honestly unsure if the UK law works that way).

Why not use the old RIAA trick and just sue speaker manufacturers for "making available" the copyrighted material? Deeper pockets there anyhow.

British obstinacy (1)

lysse (516445) | about 7 years ago | (#20893061)

Remember, there's a fine tradition in the UK of enforcing ridiculous laws to the letter in order to demonstrate how offensive they truly are... and also that at the moment all the judge in question has said is that there is a case to be heard - he explicitly stated that this didn't necessarily mean the PRS was sure to prevail.

And looking at it, that might be quite a good thing. Kwik-Fit's position is that they have a decade-long ban on playing radios in the workplace. In insisting that management must have tacitly permitted playing the radio in the workplace, Lord Emslie would seem to have forced the issue of whether playing a radio is in fact copyright infringement to be tried. If that means a jury trial, it's not inconceivable that the jury could dig their heels in and find for the defendant regardless of the law - the publicity surrounding which would make future trials on such grounds somewhat difficult to win, even if it wouldn't set a precedent.

Internet Radio (1)

deniable (76198) | about 7 years ago | (#20893071)

What are these tools going to do when they find out that people can get radio over the Internet? Open branch offices in other countries?

What?! (2, Funny)

morari (1080535) | about 7 years ago | (#20893079)

I've called the police several times because I could hear the music of the tenant in the downstairs apartment! Nothing ever happens. I was hoping for a noise violation, but this seems much sweeter...

Re:What?! (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893105)

Did you call them during the day, or in the middle of the night? If you called during the day, they probably just figured *you* are being the agitator. Frankly, I'd probably agree with that. (as long as it wasn't rattling your windows, etc.)

But that does call to mind a good strategy. Rat them out to the RIAA. :P

Re:What?! (1)

sc0ob5 (836562) | about 7 years ago | (#20893259)

I'd be careful, you might get sued for listening to music you haven't paid for.

Call the cops and they send the SWAT team to your house instead. You dirty pirate!

Not new ... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 7 years ago | (#20893099)

I knew of this problem at my own work years ago.

I worked at a newspaper back in 2000-2002. We wanted to just use local radio music for our hold music, but our attorney informed us that we couldn't do that with "just any station". I, of course, am not a lawyer, so I don't know how the decision was made from that point. But in the end, it turned out that a local station owned by clear channel was OK to use for hold music. We didn't have to pay them for it, AFAIK.

What was ironic was that this was a "progressive rock" station. Granted, they never played anything explicit, but still, I'm sure there are some people who might be bothered by listening to it while on hold. We would have expected it would be kinder to the customers to chose an easy listening station or something, but that station wasn't allowed legally.

So in the end, there's nothing special about this case, just that for some reason it happens to be getting attention right now. Without reading the article I'd guess that someone just wasn't familiar with how the copyright laws work for this.

Jurisdiction - no worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893101)

>Oddly enough, it is the law. This law may make no sense, but if you want it changed, you have to
> contect your elected representatives and convince them to change it.

UK case, has no precedential value in the US or Canada. So it is interesting to watch for many of us, but not relevant. If you are on the other side of the pond: HA--ha!

Re:Jurisdiction - no worries (1)

JustShootMe (122551) | about 7 years ago | (#20893119)

It's the law in the US too. It may not be precedential here, but it's still a concern.

Tesco (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about 7 years ago | (#20893125)

My local 24hour Tesco plays local radio over the tannoy system during the middle of the night, the music makes shopping a bit more pleasant (that and no crowds of absent minded shoppers getting in the way), so does that mean Tesco have paid royalties or are they due for a big sue?

I'm all for it! (3, Insightful)

Cleon (471197) | about 7 years ago | (#20893137)

Between this and the RIAA's campaign of suing grandmothers and 12-year-olds, I say--more power to 'em!

The more the recording industry engages in these batshit-crazy pursuits of extra money, the more people will come to realize that the entire "intellectual property" legal system needs to be completely rethought. The EFF can only dream of being able to this kind of support; these bozos manage to do the job well enough on their own.

Re:I'm all for it! (1)

handelaar (65505) | about 7 years ago | (#20893217)

It doesn't have anything at all to do with the recording industry.

PRS represents the composer, not the recording artist or the label.

Any attractive nuisance laws in the UK? (1)

Mabonus (185893) | about 7 years ago | (#20893143)

I just want to point out, that they are BROADCASTING it on the RADIO. They are 'making available' as the phrase goes. In the US I'd be tempted to call it an attractive nuisance except I think that applies to things that cause injuries, but hey, I'm not a lawyer. Still counts as distribution though.

Simple (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#20893171)

A radio with a tape or CD in it does violate the rules on public performances. A radio pulling broadcast off an antenna does not, because the royalties are already paid by the radio station. And are being played on public airwaves for anyone to receive.

There are no damages when a radio is played in public, the advertising gets sent out to even more people, and the radio station makes money and the recording company makes money. There can be no damages due to loss, only the Chinese company that makes the radios can claim there was some sort of damage, and that is outside the scope of copyright laws.

I am not a lawyer, nor am I familiar with UK case precedence, so like most people on Slashdot, my opinion counts for diddlysquat.

Public Performance (1)

partowel (469956) | about 7 years ago | (#20893211)

okay. So if I play a radio in my store and my customers hear the music, I have to pay royalties.

Radio : Device that receives radio waves and decodes them into signals that the human ear can receive.

Radio waves come from a radio transmitter. Radio transmitters may or may not have a legal permit to do so.

Therefore, the music is NOT coming from my radio. The music is coming from a radio transmitter.

The radio transmitter is making a public performance. THEY are the guilty party, my honour.

THEY are "making available" the music. THEY are guilty of copyright infringement.

Copyright Infringement (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 7 years ago | (#20893215)

Copyright Infringement this! Copyright Infringement that! Making Available == Copyright Infringement. Letting someone overhear your radio == Public Performance == Copyright Infringement. Copyrights that run until the heat death of the Universe!

ENOUGH FUCKING ALREADY!!!

dear slashdot posters (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 7 years ago | (#20893233)

over the last few months, while reading slashdot at work, my fellow employees have been walking by my cubicle, perhaps seeing your comments without me first asking your permission

please don't sue me

The king is dying... (1)

maird (699535) | about 7 years ago | (#20893241)

Until now I had suspected the music industry was just run by stupid people. This just makes it look like those running it are deliberately trying to destroy the "music industry". Guy Hands (EMI boss) admitted today that artists don't need the labels for distribution so what are they good for then...

I can only hope that the defense representatives in this case take the court out for a walk around the block to count the number of radios that can be overheard. Someone mentioned suing speaker manufacturers and others mentioned overhearing the radio playing in someone else's car. Anyone with a 200W sub-woofer in their car has a primary goal of "public performance". Someone repairing a car has a radio on to help pass the time and they have it loud because some of the equipment used is loud. So, god help someone that is hard of hearing and turns their radio up to be able to hear it.

Don't you just wish you could go kick these guys in the nuts and tell them to get a life... In the interests of full disclosure I wouldn't be here if I had a life or knew what one was like.

I run a service (1)

popo (107611) | about 7 years ago | (#20893249)

I run a "music listening service". I will, for a fee of $100 per song, agree to listen and form opinions of any track of any CD. Playing a song for me constitutes acceptance of this agreement.

As I see it, I am owed almost a billion dollars.

Here's Listening to You, Kid (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#20893263)

Where do the extents of a 'public performance' end?

They end wherever the "market" ceases to bear the charges.

I expect that sometime soon, the copyright industry will convince courts to let them silently activate (or tap) your mobile phone randomly for several seconds, to tell whether you're hearing (or, eventually, seeing) some autoidentified copyrighted content that your database lookup shows you're not licensed to consume at that time (because you haven't paid for that content for that timeslot). And then automatically charge you damages, or cut off your phone or have you arrested (or just sued and subpoenaed).

The tech will allow it: only the autoidentify is still waiting, and they'll start using that on us well before it's reliable. And then of course they'll do it; rights or other impediments to consumer abuse will never stand in their way. Killing the culture by stifling the free exchange of popular content which underwrites all cultural activity, doing most of the work perpetuating it, won't matter to them until it's well too late.

Major Unanswered Question Here (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 7 years ago | (#20893283)

The major unanswered question here is: How are two people standing next to each other listening to the same radio different than two people standing next to each other each listening to their own radio?

Unless it's a question of paying a radio tax like the British now pay a television tax, there should be no difference at all. It's not like the performing society is getting a cut of every radio sale because it's used to infringe their copyrights or anything.

These people are all just asstunnels!

Now, it's even more true.... (1)

Trelane (16124) | about 7 years ago | (#20893297)

I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she's filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I'm collating so I don't see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.

blatantly ripped from the IMDB [imdb.com]

Solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20893299)

I think it's time we just cut all the pretense of outrage and give the big business (hereafter the Companies) what we all know in our hearts they need and deserve, which is our total dollar value. Here's my simple four step plan for restoring justice:
  1. Liquidate all of our assets and give the Companies the money.
  2. Building and moving into sleeping/feeding farms.
  3. Arranging that, upon death, our bodies are disassembled and recycled as efficiently as possible (in terms of gross profit).
  4. Depending on which yields the most profit, either continue working, with our earnings being forward directly to the Companies, or submitting to a Matrix-like bio-energy extraction sac.


If anyone can suggest any improvements to my scheme, please reply ASAP. The Companies are losing every millisecond you hesitate.

Scum sucking leeches! (1)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | about 7 years ago | (#20893309)

Clearly, this means that I am going to be required to demand periodic payments from the people in my office who are leeching off the sounds emitted by my radio. Either that, or I'm going to have to install plugs in their sonic receptors.
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