In order to play music at work and other public places, employers need to receive a license for playing music in public, said Inara Dombrovska, head of the Copyright and Communication Consulting Agency/Latvian Authors Association (AKKA/LAA), and public relations specialist of AKKA/LAA Reinis Brigis.
Dombrovska said that the requirement to obtain a license for playing music in public is based in the definition of implementation of the Copyright Law which states that every playing of music outside the family needs a license. “Therefore, law provides an obligation for music users to obtain a license, because AKKA/LAA is not a production unit which chooses whom to offer its products. On the contrary – everyone who wants to play music in public is our potential partner,” Dombrovska said.
Dombrovska explained that since the European Union court decision of 2006 a hotel room is also considered a place for playing music in public. Consequently, license is needed to play music in hotel rooms, its price is 40 santims for one room per quarter or 1.60 lats for one room per year.
For its part, in workplaces the cost depends on the number of employees. If it is from one to five people then the costs is five lats per year. To compare, if there are 600 to 1000 employees in the company, the cost is 70 lats per year. For an average regular office with 21 to 30 employees, the annual cost is 20 lats.
In case the company fails to obtain a license for playing music in public, AKKA/LAA is entitled to address the police which registers an administrative offense. “Since the last year the administrative penalty has been changed, and now it is not less than 500 lats for a legal entity for playing music without a license. The fine is from 500 to 5000 lats,” Dombrovska said.
Head of the Music Department of AKKA/LAA said that each year more and more employers obtain a license without reminding. Employers’ knowledge has improved.
Speaking about the initiative of the National Alliance which has suggested amending the Copyright Law providing that radio playing should not be considered public, Brigis pointed out that the Alliance probably lacks information about the fact that author’s rights to receive a reward both for playing in public and radio broadcasting have been adopted in the Copyright Law from the Bern Convention. Amending the Copyright Law in such a way would contravene the Bern Convention, and Latvia should then suggest amending the convention itself or leave it. Leaving the Bern Convention would mean leaving the civilized world.
Music Department of AKKA/LAA last year collected 1.17 million lats for playing music in public. It is 37 000 lats more than in 2010, Dombrovska said. Brigis added that last year was more successful for AKKA/LAA than previous years. There is a feeling of economic recovery, therefore 2011 had better results, and in general it was the fourth best year.