“Sure, you may get yourself a ticket from local police if you roll around with that in-car stereo cranked, but at least you’re not being sued for £200,000 ($407,680). Unfortunately for the Edinburgh-based Kwik-Fit automotive repair center, it actually is being taken to court for that astronomical amount by the Performing Rights Society, which ‘collects royalties for songwriters and performers.’ The PRS alleges that ‘Kwik-Fit mechanics routinely used personal radios while working at locales across the UK and that music, protected by copyright, could be heard by colleagues and customers.’ Astoundingly, Lord Emslie ruled that the case could actually be heard, so we guess we’ll be relying exclusively on headphones from here on out.”
1. Performance rights aren’t the same as copyright although (like lots of laws) I suppose they rely on their existence.
2. The amount isn’t “astronomical” for a company which turns over £1 billion a year.
3. If you bothered to read any background to this, instead of just reposting crap from Slashdot, you might know that this is actually a pretty clear case of a large corporation seeking to avoid paying something which every other shop has to pay by claiming “it was the employees wot dun it”.
The law is clear – businesses have to have a license to play music, whether that’s to their employees only or to employees and the public. The money is collected by a non-profit body, and goes directly to writers and composers. Who has to pay and what they have to pay is clear – there’s a comprehensive list of licenses on the PRS web site. This isn’t any kind of new issue, it’s simply a company trying to avoid the law.
Even if Kwik-Fit were completely closed to the public, it would still count as an Office or Factory and thus have to pay for a PRS license. The “oh, it’s the employee’s radios, we’re not responsible” is an obvious scam simply designed to avoid spending the cash.