AfterDawn: Tech news

PRS apologizes to singing shop assistant

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 22 Oct 2009 16:08 User comments (20)

PRS apologizes to singing shop assistant Last week, A&T Food store shop assistant Sandra Burt was told by the Performing Right Society (PRS) that she needed to stop singing during work without a performance license or face a fine.
Today, Burt was given an apology letter as well as a bouquet of flowers by the royalty collection agency, a truce after facing extreme criticism around the UK for their move.

The situation started when Burt was playing a radio at work and the PRS sent a letter telling them they would need a license to continue to do so. After the radio was removed, Burt began singing on her own.

Says Burt to the BBC: "I would start to sing to myself when I was stacking the shelves just to keep me happy because it was very quiet without the radio. When I heard that the PRS said I would be prosecuted for not having a performance license, I thought it was a joke and started laughing. I was then told I could be fined thousands of pounds. But I couldn't stop myself singing. They would need to put a plaster over my mouth to get me to stop, I can't help it."

The apology letter reads:

"We're very sorry we made a big mistake. We hear you have a lovely singing voice and we wish you good luck."

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20 user comments

122.10.2009 16:28

This is unbelievable, seriously someone must have just made this article up.

222.10.2009 16:30

Well, we've heard ridiculous before...but this plain STUPID!!!
Does one need a license to sing in the shower now?
If someone tries to put a baby to sleep with a lullaby, maybe should check and make sure a license is not required...

322.10.2009 16:44

wow....loss for words

422.10.2009 17:34

This is pretty much why the media cartel only needs to be paid when they do something directly......

522.10.2009 18:40

me thinks you mean "singing" signing is what my deaf father does

622.10.2009 18:45

Maybe Burt should charge them for listening to the performance in future!

Can't believe this happened in the UK... the PRS are taking the PRISS!! ;)

722.10.2009 21:01

Just a matter of time until they start raiding birthday parties and passing out fines. Last time I looked, Happy Birthday was not in the Public Domain.

822.10.2009 22:57

Originally posted by Unfocused:
Just a matter of time until they start raiding birthday parties and passing out fines. Last time I looked, Happy Birthday was not in the Public Domain.
...An because of that, many resteraunts will not sing it to a child.

This proves yet again that these groups have no scruples, and will do anything that they think they might get away with. She should sue...she now has a letter admitting wrongdoing; it would be an easy case.

923.10.2009 2:46
maomao001
Inactive

SPAM removed

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Oct 2009 @ 5:25

1023.10.2009 9:20

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
Well, we've heard ridiculous before...but this plain STUPID!!!
Does one need a license to sing in the shower now?
If someone tries to put a baby to sleep with a lullaby, maybe should check and make sure a license is not required...
That has already happened in Finland I think. The baby care center was finned for it.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Oct 2009 @ 10:09

1123.10.2009 14:05

Well, i'm not singing in the shower anymore.
I don't want the PRS on my back.

But is simple humming an offense i wonder? I wouldn't mind humming a few bars instead.

1223.10.2009 14:24

Quote:
stop signing

just wanna be a jerk and point out the typo too. Although i knew it would come to the point where they want to sue you for singing a song.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Oct 2009 @ 14:25

1324.10.2009 0:04

Originally posted by gnovak1:
Well, i'm not singing in the shower anymore.
I don't want the PRS on my back.

But is simple humming an offense i wonder? I wouldn't mind humming a few bars instead.
I think they have ownership of every note that can be made by humans or any musical instrument...any sound that you make infringes on them as song writers.

1424.10.2009 6:41

If it wasnt for all the press coverage I am sure they would have taken her to court, their tactics always have been heavy handed, a bit like the music industry equivilant to wheel clampers!!
Stick with http://www.rfmradio.co.uk like we have and dont pay a penny in fees!!
RB

1524.10.2009 10:43
JGringo
Inactive

It's official. The world has gone completely F'n crazy.

1624.10.2009 23:31
cdxanti
Inactive

WTF!!

1729.10.2009 8:39

It maybe that im just the only yank here, but im surprised that nobody flagged that they first told her to stop playing a radio at work??? wtf?? at this point that does not fly here but hell.... how did you guys ever let them get that far? this one is getting passed around with the header, "It could happen here..."

1817.11.2009 21:43

Strictly speaking, PRS is correct. The various copyright laws offer copyright holders protection from "unauthorized copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting" of their material; the shop in which Ms Burt works is a public place and she was (in law at least) giving a performance. However, it only takes the tiniest amount of common sense to realise that this is a case where the letter of the law is best ignored. Glad that PRS did the right thing in the end, but I do hope that they will have a stern word with their clown who caused all the trouble.

So don't panic, all you purveyors of FUD, you can still sing in your shower ... unless, of course, you happen to take your showers in public.

Oh, and another thing. My understanding of the law is that having a radio on in a public place does NOT require a licence because such an act constitutes neither a 'public performance' (which requires a live performer) nor a 'broadcast' (that happens in the studio and at the transmitter). In any case the broadcaster has already paid for the rights by the time the material reaches the radio.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Nov 2009 @ 21:51

1917.11.2009 21:49

Originally posted by hablet:
Strictly speaking, PRS is correct. The various copyright laws offer copyright holders protection from "unauthorized copying, hiring, lending, public performance and broadcasting" of their material; the shop in which Ms Burt works is a public place and she was (in law at least) giving a performance. However, it only takes the tiniest amount of common sense to realise that this is a case where the letter of the law is best ignored. Glad that PRS did the right thing in the end, but I do hope that they will have a stern word with their clown who caused all the trouble.

So don't panic, all you purveyors of FUD, you can still sing in your shower ... unless, of course, you happen to take your showers in public.

I'm a wabbit swlayer.......

2017.11.2009 22:03

@retailbil

I deal with PRS every day of my working life. It is true that in the last couple of years they have become a great deal more hard-nosed and 'commercial', but AFAIK the only cases they have taken to court are the most extreme ones where they felt an example needed to be made e.g serial and large-scale offenders.

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