Now everyone's a criminal

If you've ever listened to the radio at work, beware:

A car repair firm has been taken to court accused of infringing musical copyright because its employees listen to radios at work.

The action against the Kwik-Fit Group has been brought by the Performing Rights Society which collects royalties for songwriters and performers.

At a procedural hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh a judge refused to dismiss the £200,000 damages claim.

Kwik-Fit wanted the case brought against it thrown out.

Lord Emslie ruled that the action can go ahead with evidence being heard.

The PRS claimed that Kwik-Fit mechanics routinely use personal radios while working at service centres across the UK and that music, protected by copyright, could be heard by colleagues and customers.

It is maintained that amounts to the "playing" or "performance" of the music in public and renders the firm guilty of infringing copyright.

There are plenty of people who defend laws that produce cases like these, saying cases that this is an overreach or that the law needs to be applied with common sense.  This leaves out a critical real-world aspect of legislation: after it's made by humans, it's applied by humans in the executive and judiciary processes, and what they think they can do they usually try (and succeed).  So you have to be extra careful with the legislation that gets made.

The kicker here is that this is probably exactly what the law's boosters wanted.

Link via ASC Forum

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Reminds me of the recent McDonald's case

The McDonald's case is not a case of copyright infringement and it's not a case where nobody has really done anything wrong. But it is a case in which a deep-pockets company is held liable for the behavior of its employees.

The McDonald's case involved several employees and non-employees, all of them of questionable mental capacity including both the perps and the victim. A telephone hoaxer posing as police was able to persuade the manager of a McDonald's to strip her employee, which employee remained naked for hours during which the employee performed fellatio on the manager's fiancee, also at the demand of the telephone hoaxer.

This bizarre incident resulted in a multi-million dollar judgment against McDonald's for the crime of failing to have firmly enough held the hands of this collection of morons. To top it off, the idiot manager who was the biggest moron of the pack and the one ultimately responsible for the bad situation (aside from the hoaxer) was able to win about 1 million dollars from McDonald's.