Monday

26th Jun 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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 approves rescue of Italian banks

The European Commission gave the green light to a €17-billion plan by the Italian government to save Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca.

News in Brief

  1. Seasoned finance minister takes over Dutch coalition talks
  2. British PM closes government deal with Northern Irish party
  3. Merkel on collision course with US at G20 summit
  4. Schulz outlines German election strategy, hits out at Merkel
  5. Berlusconi's party sees comeback in Italian local votes
  6. Low turnout in Albanian election set to mandate EU future
  7. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  8. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  3. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  4. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  5. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  6. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  7. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  8. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  9. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  10. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  11. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?