Friday, 12 December 2008

If you stand on the table and use these binoculars

If anyone needs further proof that the Performing Rights Society are running what amounts to an extortion racket then the case of a Dover business threatened with prosecution for having a radio on in a private office should be sufficient.

The PRS rep claimed that he could hear the music clearly as he passed underneath the open window. Quite apart from the rather dubious claim of an open window in this weather, anyone who knows London Road can testify it is often difficult to hear what the person standing next to you is saying, never mind music from an allegedly open window fifteen feet above the pavement.

Most of us are now familiar with the PRS’ increasingly bizarre interpretations of what constitutes a ‘Public Performance’, there’s certainly been enough media coverage of it recently. From a group of school children singing Christmas carols at a private function, to Kwik-Fit staff playing a radio too loud and a police canteen to which members of the public are rarely, if ever permitted access.

So what's next - my neighbour's summer barbecues? His son's birthday party? I'm fairly certain I will be able to 'hear the music clearly' from my side of the fence on both occasions.

Even more worrying, how long before we have to pay a license fee to listen to music in the privacy of our own homes? Will we have to switch it off before answering the door or pay an increased license fee because the caller can 'hear the music clearly' through the open door?

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