Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

The Music Police

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

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Performing Rights Society Claims Its Unlawful To Sing

That is, until the obvious backlash comes.

Is there are clearer example of how anti-freedom copyright regulations have become? What bigger cornerstone of human freedom is there than to sing out loud to yourself?

The Performing Rights Society apologized to the woman, but what sort of twisted psychological conditioning was at work to make them even think that this was a problem in the first place?


Read it all here.


Nice post. It's simple things like this that make it difficult for me to fathom how this isn't and doesn't seem like a problem to others. I'm just hoping the situation falls out of hand and becomes even more draconian so that the issue becomes front and center. Maybe people will come to realize that they like their rights and liberties when they get taken.
What sort of twisted psychological conditioning drives a person to the point that he/she will not even consider the possiblity that people make mistakes?
Wow. I thought I'd heard everything.

IP has really gotten absurd.

MLS, I think the point is that this kind of "mistake" could only happen in our extreme copyright maximalist environment. Seriously, how do you make this mistake? How can you "accidentally" tell someone they may be fined thousands of pounds for singing while stocking shelves at a grocery store? No, I think the only mistake from the PRS perspective is that there was publicity and outrage about their attempted extortion.
Indoctrination begets indoctrination.

When you come to learn that singers and songwriters own their songs and performances as a fundamental right (rather than as an unethical commercial privilege) then to stamp even on non-commercial infringement must logically be the principled thing to do, rather than to be mercenary about it and only worry about commercial use.

For many, copyright has become religious dogma, and they will jealously guard it against sacrilegious acts.

So, when a brainwashed PRS cult member acts according to their tenets, then they should be forgiven and deprogrammed. It is those who have indoctrinated them who should be deprecated. Unfortunately, they too are often victims of others' indoctrination.

Abolish copyright.

MLS - Scott Carpenter did me the favor of summing up my own response in this thread.

I still actually suspect that the Preforming Rights Society doesn't really believe they made a "mistake" here. They only backtracked and apologized once the story became a news item and they realized how foolish they would look and what sort of a resentful backlash they would be in for.

Mistakes happen all the time, and to try and turn a rather insignificant incident into something you espouse as being "anti-freedom" does seem a bit over the top when all the information you have to work with is hearsay accounts.

Scream "freedom-hating rent seeker" long enough and you will be perceived as little more than just another Chicken Little.

Save your slings and arrows for real issues. This is not one of them.

I doubt that this was a "mistake" considering past performance (pun).

2009 article: Performance Rights Society Calls Small Businesses & Threatens Them Over Music Heard In The Background

A 2007 article: Oh Come On: British Performing Rights Society Wants to Outlaw ‘Making Hearable'

Steve R. is exactly right. The only reason they admitted to a "mistake" in this instance is because the public backlash grew so fierce that they knew they had no way to win - NOT because they honestly feel they made a mistake.

You will notice that they didn't apologize for telling the same singing worker not play the radio in her workplace.

MLS - Do you think the radio demand was a "mistake" on the part of the Performing Rights Society? Or is that also not a "real issue" in your book? After all, telling people they can't play the radio in public is the entire raison d'etre for this enforcement group. I take it you have no substantive response to Scott Carpenter's challenge to you?

For an individual having, at best, second hand information you certainly seem quite confident in your analysis. Things are seldom as clear cut as they may appear from reading the contents of a news report. Drawing firm and definite conclusions on the basis of mere hearsay is not in my view a wise approach.

Even when relying on hearsay it is useful to rely upon it accurately. The "singing lady" was not the one approached for playing a radio. It was her employer.

As for the prior "playing of a radio", there are no meaningful facts recited that allow for an intellectually honest analysis of the issue as it pertains to existing law.

Thus far, most comments seem to be of the "knee-jerk" variety. If an article makes something "look bad" then it "must be bad". Experience informs me that what "seems" and what "is" in most instances do not coincide.

@MLS, Where is the evidence that this was a valid "mistake"? Proof applies to both sides of a discussion.

Anecdotally, companies when exposed undertaking underhanded behavior love coming up with innovative excuses rather than admit they were wrong. Experience may not be 100% accurate, but it teaches us a lot.

MLS: I am confident that requiring a paid license to play the radio or sing in a workplace is bad social policy - regardless of the circumstances. If you disagree - fine, just say so and we will let the reading public decide for themselves.

Yes, the demand against the radio playing was against the lady's employer, not the lady herself. But that is irrelevant to the underlying issue: A paid license was demanded for playing a radio. Is that valid, or not?

"Drawing firm and definite conclusions on the basis of mere hearsay is not in my view a wise approach."

If we were to take this view of yours to its logical extreme, then nobody should be commenting on any news item whatsoever, since its all "hearsay". If you have reasons to believe the news account was false or unduly slanted, fine. If presented with such proof, I'll be happy to adjust my views accordingly. But to just come here and start declaring this a fake issue and calling people a bunch of "knee-jerk chicken littles" doesn't speak well to your point of view on this issue - whatever that might be. (Typical of anonymous commenters.)

Most of the other commenters seem to agree with me here. You haven't responded to any of the substantive challenges put forth by Steve R. or Scott Carpenter.

I suspect you will respond with another response of "You are just jumping to conclusions and why don't you move on to some 'real' issues". But I'll still be happy to let you have the last word - confident that those who come across this site and read each of our arguments will come to the appropriate conclusion concerning the worth of what we have to say.

Have at it my friend....

I stated no opinion on whether or not a mistake was made. I merely noted that the possibility of a mistake having been made should not be discounted absent more facts. To say "what they did was wrong" is necessarily based upon matters not in evidence, and in my view this is jumping the gun in order to promote a position.

That's significantly insane.

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