Friday, November 13, 2009

What About Singing In The Shower?

A while ago I blogged about an auto-body shop in Britain that turned up their radio loud enough to be heard by the public. They were sued for copyright infringement.

I thought, and still think, that's ridiculous for the following reasons:
  • The very nature of radio broadcasts are public, not private. This is not a fuzzy statement, as one commenter said. Radio waves are fluctuations in the electro-magnetic spectrum which exists all around us.
  • Radio signals are easy to convert into sound signals. Spock can do this with egg cartons and tin foil.
  • Radio signals aren't encrypted.
  • If you own a radio station that plays music, you've (presumably) paid for the right to play that music over the airwaves on your frequency. The rights to the music have been purchased.
  • Playing music over the radio is a promotion device. It promotes the album, the band, and any concerts, etc.
  • If you own a radio station, you likely want as many people listening as possible, not as few as possible.
  • If you're a band trying to sell albums and concert tickets, you likely want as many people listening to your music on the radio.
  • As a radio listener, I don't buy the right to listen to the radio.  The right to listen to any station it can pick up is implied. By not encrypting the radio signals, it's implied that if I own a radio, the radio station wants me to listen to their station.
  • At the risk of beating a dead horse: if you own a radio station, concerning what goes over the air, you have NO expectation of privacy.

Anyway. Suffice it to say, I think they went too far with that.

Then I read Today's Article! This time, the British equivalent of the RIAA told a shop to turn down their radio because it could be heard by the public. *spits on floor* So the store did. But one of the shop workers liked music. If she couldn't listen to the radio, she'd make her own music, Gosh Golly Darn it! So she sang to herself as she stocked the shelves.

She was then contacted by the PRS and told she needed a performer's licnese to do that! A performer's license for singing to yourself while you work! Well, you'd better fine me too! I listen to my iPod at work, and sometimes, I hum along with the song I'm listening to.

I shouldn't have to explain why this is ridiculous, but after the last time, I think probably will.

At least in this case, the PRS realized they were being donkeys, and sent her an apology, along with a bouqet of flowers.  How nice.

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