Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why should hairdressers have to pay royalties to SOCAN?

There's no question we need to stamp out piracy in the movies, music and theatrical arts. But I have to wonder whether this is trying to squat a fruitfly with a sledge hammer.

Incredibly the group that represents music composers in Canada, SOCAN, is demanding dentists and hairdressers pay a license fee; if they play CDs, or radio (whether off-the-air or satellite). What's next? We'll be facing criminal charges if we don't pay such fees to play our own radios in our private homes or driving in our cars?

This isn't the UK. We don't pay a government-mandated fee as a condition to use signals off the airwaves. And professionals aren't pirating anything when they play freely available music because radio and TV stations are already paying reverse payola back to the record labels.

SOCAN should just bugger off unless they are actually suggesting, seriously, we adopt the UK model. Problem is, they don't have the guts to say it because there would be a revolt in Canada against that even if it is the most practical way to save vital institutions like the CBC and the Canada Council.

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