Thursday, October 22, 2009

(Whistle) while you work

Anyone who thinks we already live in a socialist state should take comfort in knowing that at least we aren't Britain, where apparently one needs a license to sing in public:

The village store where Mrs Burt works was contacted by the PRS earlier this year to warn them that a licence was needed to play a radio within earshot of customers.

When the shop owner decided to get rid of the radio as a result, Mrs Burt said she began singing as she worked.

She told the BBC news website: "I would start to sing to myself when I was stacking the shelves just to keep me happy because it was very quiet without the radio.

"When I heard that the PRS said I would be prosecuted for not having a performance licence, I thought it was a joke and started laughing.

"I was then told I could be fined thousands of pounds. But I couldn't stop myself singing.

"They would need to put a plaster over my mouth to get me to stop, I can't help it."

Deanna Durbin, call your office:

Luckily, the story of the singing shop-worker has a happy ending; the Performing Right Society (PRS) sent Mrs. Burt an apology, a bouquet of flowers, and their best wishes on her singing. Still, can you imagine the nanny-statism of needing a special license to play a radio in one's business where customers can hear it, let alone being threatened with a fine for singing?

Of course, if businesses here had to pay a special license in order to blare inappropriate music or mount dozens of large screen TVs featuring anything from glorified advertising to the cesspool of daytime television, it might be a good thing. I'd rather listen to a cheery amateur like Mrs. Burt singing her heart out that have to put up with any of that--but as an American, I'd rather convince businesses to switch off the noise the good old American way, by complaining to management and threatening to shop elsewhere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One might be inclined to believe that a complaint was lodged by an unhappy customer that because she was enwrapt in singing whilst ignoring the customer. With the recourse a 'legal' way to effect a speedy resolve (or retaliatory measure) to resort to antiquated law on the books. Anyway, that would be reason for such silly nonsense in the USA (or would it?)

Then, the worker's response should have to include infringement on rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as 'harassment' of the staff in disallowing harmless self-amusement on the job. Or, in light of Balloon Miscreant, a media stunt?