Here in Spain, our so-loved SGAE (the RIAA’s equivalent), is used to get money for everything they can, i.e.: blank CD-Rs you buy for storing your summer pics or your shinny new GNU/Linux ISO, the mobile phone you bought that is able to reproduce those MP3 files you converted from your jamendo downloaded OGG, … and so on.
One of they primary sources of income is the “tax” they receive from the bars and pubs owners who have the radio powered on or play some music: they are doing public broadcasting.
That, put into the context of copyrighted works, can be understood, the author didn’t want to release it as free, so … nothing to say.
The problem arise when the bar is playing free music or a mix, sometimes free but sometimes non-free music. In all both situations, the SGAE was suing bar owners to pay for all the music they played. The ones playing only free music, had already been considered by judges and had favorable court resolutions. On the other hand, those places where a mix of free/non-free music was played had not the choice to pay only for the copyrighted music they played.
This week, however, we were surprised by good news. A musical pub from Madrid, went to court because they were requested to pay for all the music they played as copyrighted music. They showed the authors list to the judge and the SGAE and SGAE said that only 14 of the 82 authors on the list had the rights managed by them. The court then resolved that they have to pay only for the copyrighted played music, not for the whole repertory. The important point here is that it’s possible to pay only for the copyrighted music, something that was impossible to do until now.
The following steps are to change the SGAE’s presumption of innocence and make them to show the facts about the played copyrighted music and not the people playing free music to demonstrate it, because as of now, just for having a CD player on your bar, you are eligible for pay the SGAE taxes. Fun uh?