Today's national media report that an Essex garage has been told to insist all customers turn their car radios off or risk legal action from the Performing Rights Society (PRS).
Apparently, Len Attwood should buy a £270 annual licence for his Motor Maintenance business in Witham if his customers' radios are left on while his technicians are working on them.
He's falling foul of copyright laws which class this as a public performance.
A phonecall from the PRS has led Attwood, who does not have his own radio at the business, to put up a sign telling customers to turn off their radios when they enter. Otherwise the copyright holder of the music could sue him for damages, apparently.
What total and utter stupidity.
I would love to see the Daily Mail headlines when some global superstar like Bono or Madonna starts a half-million pound lawsuit to bankrupt a little garage owner from Essex who's only focus is on where the next week's service bookings will come from.
I understand that musicians etc should be rewarded for their work. But in this economic crisis, when motor retailers and repairers are fighting to keep in business, isn't there enough to worry about?
Unless...maybe there's a lesson to be learned from the PRS. All car designs are copyrighted, right? And cars are used in public, agree? Maybe there's a few extra quid to be made by insisting all motorists buy an annual licence to 'perform' their car in public.
Bring on the Carmakers Rights Society...