Music License Guidelines
There are 21 music licensing companies listed on the Department of Intellectual Property’s (DIP) website. According to the list on the DIP website, annual licence fees range from 600 baht to 1,000 Baht for small bars & restaurants.
The companies listed do not focus on fines but on the licence fee and they try to avoid involving the police. If a police officer should accompanies a representative ask for the police officer for ID and the representative must have with them their company ID card and genuine documents that show they are authorised to collect fees on behalf of the songwriters and record labels.
Section 32 of the Copyright Act also contains what is in essence a fair use clause, interpreted by legal experts to cover bars & restaurants which do not profit directly from the playing of copyrighted music. As bars & restaurants do not directly collect revenue from playing music so they are not guilty of copyright infringement, because they make money from the sale of food and beverages.
It is suggested that the “fair use” principle that playing a song from YouTube at a bar or restaurant is legal, because the copyright owner has already given permission to communicate to the public by placing it on YouTube.
For responding to a visit by representatives from a music licensing company:
1. Do check whether or not the representative has an authorisation letter from the copyright owner, as well as the list of songs they can collect royalties for.
2. Don’t pay money to the police. They do not have the authority to impose a “fine” under the Copyright Act. Fines resulting in a civil or criminal charge can only be settled in court.
3. Do make sure that a settlement fee is necessary it is paid to the company. The fine needs to be recorded and the best way to do that is by bank transfer.
4. Do record the events on camera as evidence if possible.
5. Do file a complaint against the company or representative if you think they are operating improperly. The DIP is happy to provide legal advice their hotline is 1368.
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