Skip to main content
Pay Per View

Forget ID cards for a moment; you might have more to worry about in future from the creeping advance of copyright and patent legislation which may give you sleepless nights, just in case your teenage son or daughter downloads the latest jingle or music track from their PC without a license.

It’s not just file-sharing you have to think about if you happen to run a business these days. I’ve just had a bizarre conversation with the so-called “Copyright Protection Office” (CPO) which if would make a fine Ben Elton, “Blackadder” sketch.

A local "Mom and Dad" business handed me a letter they received last week, a “Notice of Proposed Case Registration” from the CPO, warning them of the risk of civil or criminal action if they didn’t purchase a Music License within fourteen days.

From what I can gather, the CPO has sent thousands of these letters to registered businesses, just in case they might have music or radio playing in the workplace. I should tell you , that the CPO are unable to reveal what percentage of UK businesses actually hold a music license but listening to Radio 4 at work on your PC is no excuse, just in case your colleagues overhear “any music” that might find it’s way into the air around you.

“So let me see if I understand this correctly”, I said to the young lady in the CPO office in Glasgow. “I’m listening to Radio 4 or Radio 5 at work, in a florist maybe and because my colleagues or customers “might overhear”, I need a license from you?”

“That’s correct”, she said, “any business with more than four people present on the premises.”

“But when I listen to the BBC, they already have a license don’t they?” “Yes”, she replied “but only to broadcast to you but nobody else in your workplace.”

So it appears that I handsomely fund the BBC to deliver an exclusive television and radio service to me only and if you happen to overhear it in my office, then I could be in trouble and like my daughter, could find myself targeted as an exemplary victim of the full wrath of the music industry, if I don’t pay up, just in case the Radio 4 jingle “leaks” into the office environment and is overheard by my daughter’s Hamster or my wife.

I’ve summarised a rather long conversation recorded on my PC – I wonder if I need a recording license? Actually, I’m told I don’t because working from home may not constitute a business premises and anyway, The Performing Rights Society tell me that they very rarely prosecute small businesses and prefer to argue the benefits of buying a music license instead but if you happen to be streaming any kind of content in your office that might involve music, then watch out!.

Music, followed by software is very obviously where the publishing industry is seen to be most aggressive and we are fast arriving at a moment in time where we will find ourselves “taxed” on broadcast content of any kind if we happen to live in the G7 nations. If you happen to live in Mongolia and listen to the BBC World Service from your Yurt tent, you’re safe for now because the PRO doesn’t have an office there but the writing is on the wall for content of any kind, music, sports broadcasting, software, you name it, digital rights management and aggressive legislation driven from the United States, marks the end of what we have come to understand as “free listening” or watching and yet I suspect that only the big media interests will benefit, the rest of us will discover that the “rip, mix and burn” message is the predecessor of the arrival of a more universal pay per view existence.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Matter of Drones - Simon Moores for The Guardian

I have a drone on my airfield” – a statement that welcomes passengers to the latest dimension in air-travel disruption. Words of despair from the chief operating officer of Gatwick airport in the busiest travel week of the year. Elsewhere, many thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers turned in frustration to social media in an expression of crowd-sourced outrage.

How could this happen? Why is it still happening over 12 hours after Gatwick’s runways were closed to aircraft, why is an intruder drone – or even two of them – suspended in the bright blue sky above the airport, apparently visible to security staff and police who remain quite unable to locate its source of radio control?

Meanwhile, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, overtaken by both the technology and events, is reduced to sending out desperate tweets warning that an airport incursion is a criminal offence and that drone users should follow their new code of conduct. Yet this is not an unforeseen event. It was i…
A Christmas Tale

It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.



I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…

An Ockham of Gatwick

The 13th century theologian and philosopher, William of Ockham, who once lived in his small Surrey village, not so very far from what is today, the wide concrete expanse of Gatwick airport is a frequently referenced source of intellectual reason. His contribution to modern culture was Ockham’s Razor, which cautions us when problem solving, that “The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct;” sound advice which constantly proves to be true.

A week further-on since Britain’s second busiest airport was bought to a complete standstill by two or perhaps two hundred different drone sightings, it is perhaps time to revisit William of Ockham’s maxim, rather than be led astray by an increasingly bizarre narrative, one which has led Surrey police up several blind alleys with little or nothing in the way of measurable results.

 Exploring the possibilities with a little help in reasoning from our medieval friar, we appear to have a choice of two different account…