Friday

20th Jul 2018

Focus

EU court exempts dentists from paying music royalties

  • Dentists can breathe a sign of relief after the ECJ exempted them from royalty payments for playing background music (Photo: Douglas Heriot)

Dentists who play music in their surgeries can breathe a sigh of relief after they were officially exempted from paying music royalties according to a ruling announced last week (15 March) by the European Court of Justice.

However, in a separate judgement, the Luxembourg-based court, whose decisions on the application of EU law are binding across the 27 member states, said that hotels which play music in their rooms will be required to pay the fees.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

Italian collecting society Societa Consortie Fonografici (SCF) brought the action against Turin-based dentist Marco Del Corso, contending that by playing background music at his surgery he was liable to pay.

In its ruling, the ECJ stated that since "the patients of a dentist visit a dental practice with the sole objective of receiving treatment, as the broadcasting of phonograms is not a part of dental treatment."

European copyright law requires member states to ensure that royalties are paid to collecting societies when copyright-protected music is used "in communication with the public."

However, it defines that royalties do not need to be paid in the case of private use.

The ruling on hotel operators is the result of a separate case brought by Irish organisation Phonographic Performance Limited (PPI), a collecting society for Irish record companies, against the Irish government. PPI called on the Court to strike down the government's exemption for hotel operators from remaking royalty payments.

In a press statement, the Court said that since music in hotels is broadcast to an "indeterminate number of potential listeners" and is "of a profit-making nature" hoteliers are liable for royalty payments. It added that broadcasting music constitutes an "additional service which has an influence on the hotel's standing and, therefore, on the price of rooms."

The two rulings indicate that EU case-law on liability for royalty payments hinges on the "concept of public," which the court deems to constitute "an indeterminate number of potential listeners and a fairly large number of persons," alongside the question of a profit motive.

The hotel judgement is expected to lead to further action by musical collecting societies against businesses which play music.

EU to delay decision on Sony and Universal EMI take-over

The battle for the future of the music publishing industry is set to run until the summer after the European Commission revealed its plan to delay judgment on the take-over of British music publishing giant EMI until August.

No ban on second-hand software, says EU court

EU copyright law does not ban the re-sale of computer programme licences, according to a ruling on Wednesday by the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

EU urges no-deal Brexit preparation

The EU Commission urged companies, citizens, and member states to prepare in case the UK next March crashes out of the EU without a deal - on the day the new UK Brexit minister arrived in Brussels.

News in Brief

  1. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  2. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  3. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  4. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question
  5. May to tell EU to drop Irish border 'backstop' idea
  6. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  7. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  8. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us