Citing Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, BMI insists the creators and owners of music are entitled to money each time their songs are played publicly.Regular readers of my blog know that I am a friend of legitimate copyright protection. I even hold the unpopular opinion that the RIAA is well within its rights on many of the things it is trying to do. Regular readers also know that I am against some of the crazy directions that copyright-related issues are going -- I think it's time for Mr. Disney's copyright on Micky Mouse to expire, e.g. The things that this article talks about squarly falls into the crazy direction of copyright-related issues. The pizza shop owner bought a CD and the people responsible for the creative effort behind that CD were compensated at the time of sale. I don't think the Constitution requires that they be compensated every time that the pizza shop owner plays the CD as background music.
I was mightily taken aback when I got to the end of the article and saw that they are applying this same (misguided) logic to live performances:
As a treat during last year's bicycle race in downtown Beaver, Fratangeli hired mandolin player Egidio Faiella, a friend from Aliquippa.What's next? Is my mandolin teacher going to have to start paying a licensing fee every time he teaches me a new song? Will I have to pay one every time I practice it?
A BMI spokesman told Fratangeli that without a license, his pizza shop no longer will be permitted to hire local musicians, even for such special occasions. Fratangeli said the BMI representative told him it doesn't matter if a hired musician performs only his own music, "because sooner or later, he's going to play a copyrighted song."