Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Commercial Establishments to pay for background Music (Copyright Royalty)

It is very common in our country to visit a grocery store, a shop of any kind, a barbershop, beauty salon, etc. and find an athmosphere loaded with popular music. But it would be difficult to imagine that same grocery store or beauty salon paying royalty for the use of the music placed for the enjoyment of its clients; however,
such payment has been contemplated in the Dominican Law since year 2000, when law 65-00 on copyright was enacted.

Said law entitles authors of scientific, literary or artistic creations the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the reproduction of their work; in like manner, the reproduction, distribution, public Communications, or in any way, use of the creation, is illegal without the consent of the creador or his/her representative.

All commercial establishments shall pay for royalty upon the public reproduction of any music, expressly authorized by its creator or owner.

Many of you might have heard about SGACEDOM (Sociedad de Autores, Compositores y Editores Dominicanos de Música, Inc.), copyright collection agent. Its objective is to collect, administrate and distribuye royalty generated by the explotation of such artistic creations protected under Law 65-00.

Copyright collection entities are authorized by law to defend the economic rights of its members (the authors) and the members of those foreign entibies of the same nature; provided such entity has been authorized by the Executive Power and its fees approved by the Copyright Agency.

SGACEDOM has been authorized by the Executive Power to act as copyright collector according to Presidenctial Decree 166-96, published within the Official Gazette 9924 and its fees have been approved by the Copyright Agency.

However, they have the right to require indemnities for over 50% of the established fees when a commercial establishment has violated the law, calculated according to the duration of such illegal explotation.

Now, we could question whether the payments made to SGACEDOM are regularly distributed among the authors of the artistic creations reproduced in this or that establishment, or whether such authors and such foreign copyright collecting agencies have granted SGACEDOM the authority to collect; anyways, the law establishes a presumption, unless proved otherwise, that the rights executed by that entity han been duly authorized, directly or indirectly, by their respective holders; consequently, with no evidence to challenge its capacity and authority, it would be unlikely to be successful in challenging SGACEDOM’s right to claim copyright royalty payments and indemnities relaetd thereto, on behalf of third parties.

Finally, SGACEDOM has executed agreements with ASONAHORES (Dominican Association of Hotels and Restaurants) and ADORA (Dominican Association of Radio Stations) to establish fixed monthly fees for its members. In like manner, SGACEDOM is a member of the International Confederation of Associations of Authors and Composers (CISAC) and, as a member, has executed agreements that authorized it to represent CISAC’s members in the Dominican Republic.

So if you own a business and provide background music for your customers, keep an eye on this so you can avoid the risks herein explained.

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