American in Spain

Taxed for listening to the radio

January 27, 2010

thumbThere's a big hubbub lately in Spain because the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE), the Spanish equivalent of the RIAA, are beginning to enforce a silly law that has existed for a while: that it's illegal to play the radio in a hair salon without paying royalties for the songs. Not CDs, THE RADIO!! This is quite possibly the most ridiculous Intellectual Property argument I've heard, and there are some doozies! The radio station is already paying for the rights to broadcast the music. And any one barber shop client is allowed to have a personal radio with them to receive and consume the broadcast. But when a business plays the radio for their clients – music that has already been paid for and that the clients are legally allowed to consume – the business owner is breaking the law? C'mon! Really?

The SGAE is charging the hair salons (and all businesses, I suppose) 70€/year to have a radio playing. Ludicrous!

This is the same organization that has already placed a tax on blank media (cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, etc.) with the logic that they will surely be used to violate artists' intellectual property rights, so the artists deserve some money from the blank media purchase.