October 15, 2007
A Kwik-Fit car repair centre in Scotland is being taken to court by the Performing Rights Society (PRS), who claim that music broadcast on the radio that the mechanics listen to whilst working constitutes broadcasting said music to other staff and customers. The PRS are after £200,000 damages. Not surprisingly, Kwik Fit want the case thrown out, but so far it hasn’t been so.
I’m not a lawyer, and there may well prove to be a legal case to answer. However, I find this quite staggering. As I understand it, the staff were playing the radios for their own benefit, not broadcasting the music to customers. It would seem to be somewhat akin to the cigarette companies coming after me for ‘enjoying’ somebody else’s smoke after they exhaled it!
I like this little parable, found on Slashdot, which sums the situation up perfectly:
‘Nasrudin was walking down the street one day, and came upon a man arguing with a merchant who was selling stew out of a street stall. According to the merchant, the man spent all day hanging around next to the stall, inhaling the aroma of the stew, but not buying anything; the merchant was demanding compensation for the service that he provided.
Nasrudin, hearing this, took the man’s money purse, held it near the merchant’s head, and shook it gently for a few moments. Then he said: “Now you’re even. He’s smelled your food, and you’ve heard his money jingle.”‘