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Personal Radios May Infringe on Copyright

Straight from the WTF Department, comes the latest from the music industry: Personal radios may infringe on copyright…

I saw this at Geek.com while I was at the office the other day, and came close to really saying it: WTF!  This one really takes the cake. Listening to the radio at work may be a violation of copyright law. 

Its seems that employees of a car repair firm based in Scotland found themselves the subject of a  copyright infringement lawsuit. The Performance Right Society (PRS) is charged with collecting royalties for "songwriters and performers;" and has  filed suit against Kwik-Fit.

PRS claims that the employee radios can be heard by “the public,” including customers, so the firm is must pay royalties on the music. The PRS is seeking US$407,000 in damages and has been successful in preventing the lawsuit from being thrown out so far. Kwik-Fit claims that it doesn’t allow employees to use personal radios.  However, the PRS claims it can site 250 occasions since 2005 that prove that the policy is ineffective.

The article goes on to say that, regardless of country and location, this case will cause employers to take a tougher hand with employees and their radios.  I’m not buying it… Radio waves are publicly available. Anyone with a receiver can pick them up and listen to the content played over them. Just because you overhear the music playing over my radio doesn’t mean that the copyright owner is entitled to additional revenue.  In The States, royalty fees are not paid to the RIAA or anyone else once a radio (or other receiver/player) is purchased; and radio stations don’t charge listeners to, well, listen.  Advertisers pay fees to support them (because radio stations sell audio advertising.

This issue is getting so blown out of proportion that if pressed, I’ll very likely refuse to watch or listen to any kind of media.  Music and movies are too expensive as it stands.  I’m not in support of any program or law that allows publishers to charge for something that for more than 50 years has been free.

Radio play leads to album sales; but I guess the RIAA and other like org’s have forgotten that consumers are the ones that pay for this stuff in the first place. If they want to make it more difficult for us to purchase legitimate content simply to make an additional buck, I think I can do without…

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