July 26, 2004

Surprise [7:16 am]

The public performance right is only now being defended in Canada? How odd: Music industry drills dentists for royalties

The tranquil music that wafts through many dental offices to soothe patients and mask the sounds of the drill may soon be silenced. The music industry is putting the bite on dentists – demanding that they pay for the right to play it.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, which collects royalties for musicians, has targeted dental offices in its latest campaign. The group is asking them to cough up a yearly fee if they use copyrighted music to entertain patients.

The fee, a minimum charge of $100, has enraged some dentists.

“I just feel it’s a money grab,” said Vancouver dentist Kerstin Conn, who recently received a letter from SOCAN at her office. “We paid for our CD and we’re using it to listen to, and half the time my patients … don’t even hear the music.”

Of course, that defense has routinely failed in US courts, but the Canadian courts have tended to see some things differently. See also Dentists confused about music fees and the Slashdot discussion: Canadian Music Industry Drills Dentists

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