This is topic OMG: Music License - Will the Insanity Never Stop? in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by BlueWizard (Member # 9389) on :

Apparently some 'fascist' organization in the UK has tried to charge the Whiltshire police department a £32,000 (US$47,946) licensing fee for playing music in the police station.

"Officers in Wiltshire have been told they cannot listen to music played publicly from radios, televisions, websites and MP3 players."

"The ban follows a demand for payment of pounds 23,000 from the Performing Rights Society for Music."


Apparently it is illegal to play the radio at work if more than one person can hear it. And this includes TV as well; if the music on the TV can be heard by more than one person, you apparently need to purchase a very expensive license.

Excuse me, but haven't the TV and radio station already purchased a license or at least gotten permission to broadcast that music.

I'm sorry but this seems like bureaucracy run amok.

It give me little hope for the future of the world.

Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
They should just get a bunch of old radios, one for each person, and store them somewhere. Theoretically as long as there is a 1:1 radio:person ratio, they aren't breaking the law.

Seriously though, there HAS to be something hinkey with that. There's no way that's a legitimate charge.
Posted by The Pixiest (Member # 1863) on :

Expect it to get worse.


President Barack Obama is tapping another RIAA attorney into the Justice Department.

Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
It give me little hope for the future of the world.
A group makes an apparently stupid decision somewhere and that takes away your hope for the world? [Smile]

Seems pretty out there to me, too. Wonder what happens if some folks congregate around a radio or a TV on their own?
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
If they arrested everyone in America for watching TV or listening to music with friends and family, we'd all be in jail. Besides, how would they ever enforce it? It'd a ridiculous notion.

Actually, do jails have to pay a licensing fee for letting two cell mates watch the same TV?
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
They should just get a bunch of old radios, one for each person, and store them somewhere. Theoretically as long as there is a 1:1 radio:person ratio, they aren't breaking the law.
That's not true at all. The law isn't based on any ratio, just on it being a performance that qualifies for copyright protection and does not fall under fair use.

Also, this is a fairly common thing. Places of business that play music (including just having the radio on) around the US are routinely required to pay licensing fees. Here's a bunch that ASCAP went after a while back:
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
Just for my own selfish purposes, I would like it if public places had to stop playing music so much- I find it bothersome in the sense of being far too draconian and pointless, but on the other hand, I've been in my personal ipod world for years now, so what people play on a public system is almost always a nuisance to me.
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
fugu -

It was unclear if the music ban would extend to police cars. The force said the licence requirement applied to any music heard by more than one person in any office or vehicle.
What if five people all had their own radios listening to the same radio station?

I have a lot more sympathy for music that is played publicly where customers can hear it, but that doesn't really make as much sense for someone driving around in a car with passengers that might hear it, or a corner cubicle where the person next to you can hear it. I don't even know how royalties would work in that case. Do they just spread them out equally to every person in the world who could theoretically have a song on the radio?
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
If the radios were all broadcasting, then that would be five instances of public performance (edit: though licenses generally don't worry about counting radios, just number of people who might be listening and in what context).

Ratio doesn't matter, just number listening, and the context they're listening in.

And yes, distributing it to all those people is roughly how it works. I believe those royalties and procedures are set out by statute, even.
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
I don't have a problem with that for actual public presentations in a place of business.

For most other scenarios I can think of, that's utterly ridiculous.
Posted by Sterling (Member # 8096) on :
They're going after the police? What a bunch of idiots!

"Well, fair's fair; you got us on our unscrupulous radio-listening habits. Incidentally, sir, your car seems to be parked a good twenty inches from the curb, so I'm going to have to cite you..."

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