Apology for singing shop worker: The agency responsible for collecting copyright royalties in Scotland warned Sandra Burt, a food-store employee, to stop singing while she worked or face thousands of pounds in fines. First the Performing Rights Society notified the store it must have a license “to play a radio within earshot of customers.” The owner ditched the radio and Mrs. Burt broke into song “just to keep me happy because it was very quiet without the radio.” The PRS’s threat provoked a “furore” (love those U.K. spellings!) and the agency reversed course, sending Mrs. Burt flowers and apologizing for its “big mistake.”
It’s a silly little story with disturbing elements. That an organization involved in copyright enforcement believed Mrs. Burt’s singing warranted bullying and punishment makes copyright holders look foolish and obscures the real issues at stake in the copyright wars.