Listen to radio, crank up the bill for the owner

Here's a fascinating story I heard today. You know those hearing protectors with built-in FM radios? Nice things if you have to work in a noisy environment a lot, and many companies have been providing them their workers to make them happier.

Well, no more. The Finnish copyright collection society, Teosto, has apparently slapped some companies (such as ABB) with bills of up to "several thousands of" € for providing workers with these useful hearing protectors. So obviously that puts an end to the practice, and is making for some fairly unhappy workers who have to shell out their own money if they want to listen to radio while working from now on.

Now, being a lazy blogger, I can't be arsed to actually check the facts to this story, but there should be enough data here for someone to actually do the journalism bit and make a few phone calls. If anyone cares, that is. Let me know how it turns out so I can admit my idiocy here publically. But if true, I have to admit that this story goes right in the same basket as "Teosto collecting money from kindergartens from singing songs" and "Teosto collecting copyright levy on external hard drives" - not exactly a PR win.

Just remember: It might be considered public performance if you loan your radio to someone else, and you might owe arbitrary sums of money to Teosto. So it's best if you don't listen to radio anymore, unless it is owned by an enemy of yours, as you might be incurring big costs to the owner… ;-)


On the other hand, there are those who seem to be very willing to pay something that resembles the old radio license by subscribing to Spotify.

--pni, 21-Jan-2011

I wonder, if your employer gave you access to Spotify, would they still be liable to pay extra to the collection societies?

--JanneJalkanen, 21-Jan-2011

I had a good laugh at this but obviously only taxing hard drives or radios doesn't really get to the heart of the problem. They should levy a tax on ears. Everyone with ears listens to music and is therefore liable for the tax. Anyone without ears shouldn't have to pay.

--lewism, 21-Jan-2011

No need to double pay if your employer pays for Spotify, or even merely send you a free link.

But taxis, they provide radio entertainment to just about anyone that just happens to step into the vehicle. And sometimes buses, too. So I wonder if those have been covered by Teosto yet!

--AnonymousHoward, 21-Jan-2011

My understanding is that buses and taxis have to pay.

--JanneJalkanen, 21-Jan-2011

What about company paid mobile phones which also can receive FM-radio? I think there isn't a phone model anymore which does NOT have the receiver. Maybe someone could tip off Teosto that there's one way collect payments they've been ignoring. :-)

--Risto, 25-Jan-2011

Good point!

--JanneJalkanen, 27-Jan-2011

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