British Performing Rights Society Wants to Outlaw 'Making Hearable'

Here you were, thinking the execs in the music industry couldn't get any more offensively idiotic, when some Brits come along and set a new standard for hubris. Yes, the UK-based Performing Rights Society — the Brit equivalent of ASCAP or BMI — wants to make listening to music loud enough for anyone else to hear an offense punishable by hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Sound like an Onion article? Oh, how I wish it were.

The chumps at PRS are suing Kwik-Fit, a car repair chain, for copyright infringement, claiming that they play their music too loudly and that people can hear it. Yep, that's the offense. They claim that if you play music loud enough for others to hear, it counts as "performance." Of course, if Kwik-Fit had a license to play their music, everything would be dandy. The price of said license? A mere $61,000 a year.

Are they insane? Seriously, this blows my mind. By their logic, you would need to pay the labels to listen to music in your car with your windows rolled down at a stop light if you were delivering pizzas or to listen to music at your desk at your office. Those all count as "performances" now, and if you're at a place of business, they'd better pay up. Seriously, will someone burn this industry to the ground and built it anew with people who have souls? [Ars Technica]