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First Canadian Dentists, Now Hairdressers Threatened for Playing Music for Free

Copyright group says they must pay an annual license to “use” music or risk legal action.

Just when you though that copyright organizations couldn’t get any crazier, they prove you wrong with a flash of “creativity” that stuns even the most hardened skeptics.

SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers that’s responsible for the “…communication and performing rights of virtually the world’s entire repertoire of copyright protected music, when it’s used in Canada,” is reported to have sent out letters of notice to hair solons across Canada reminding them to pay a music licensing fee or risk getting sued.

“Hairdressers happen to utilize music quite frequently, and so currently, we are targeting hairdressing salons to educate them on the fact that they do require a licence if they are using music,” he told CBC News.

According to Serge Boutros, a SOCAN customer representative, Canadian copyright law has always required that barbers and hairdressers pay a licensing fee to play music in public. I’m sure that this is the case in the US as well but, Canadians are usually the last bastion of reason in this hemisphere and so events like this make it particularly painful to hear of.

SOCAN apparently sent out similar notices to dentist offices throughout Canada last year who I’m sure simply decided to switch over to even more painfully bland music.

Now, what I’m sure started out as a meager attempt to get music artists their fair due has in my opinion turned into a systematic pattern of extortion targeting all businesses who dare to play music in the workplace, which SOCAN oddly refers to as the “public.”

Furthermore, the cost of the licensing fee, which varies according to the size of an establishment and costs $94 at a minimum, is passed along to consumers as a sort of hidden music tax that one may otherwise never have known existed.

How is this fair to consumers and won’t it have a detrimental effect on purchased music? Why would businesses bother buying music and paying a licensing fee to play it for customers if all they have to do is switch on the FREE RADIO, avoid all the hassle, and thereby lower the prices they have to charge?

Copyright collection organizations are another method by which the record industry is experiencing a slow and painful death.

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