• Sweden's news in English

Rights holders seek royalties for music in the workplace

David Landes · 7 Jul 2009, 17:43

Published: 07 Jul 2009 17:43 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“Perhaps someone has the radio on or is listening to a CD and if so, you need to have a permit that allows for music to be played the workplace,” said Susanne Bodin, a spokesperson for the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

“A workplace isn’t private and therefore you should have a licence for music to be played so that the copyright holders get paid.”

The issue of paying for music in the workplace came into sharp relief recently when the legal department at the Stockholm county administrative board submitted a written request with the Government Offices of Sweden (Regeringskansliet) to clarify the government's position on licence fees for music in the workplace.

The filing came after STIM demanded that the board pay a fee of 25,000 kronor per year in order to allow its 500 some employees the right to listen to music on computers and radios at work.

The Swedish Artists and Musicians Interest Organization (SAMI) had also requested a fee of 15,000 kronor per year.

According to its website, STIM was formed to “protect the economic rights” of its members - composers, arrangers, songwriters - “when their works are played publicly or recorded”.

The organization issues licences that entitle the holder customer to play music in a certain place, such as a restaurant or on a website.

Collected fees are distributed as royalties to copyright holders.

But the need to pay for music at work took officials with the Stockholm county board by surprise, prompting them to inquire as to whether or not higher governing authorities in Sweden abide by the practice.

“According to the legal investigation I carried out, it seems appropriate that these fees are paid, but we still want a response from the Government Offices as to whether you pay these fees yourself,” wrote administrative board lawyer Annika Kleen in a letter to the government.

Speaking to The Local on Monday, Kleen said she had not yet received a response.

"We've never come across this before and are looking for guidelines," she said.

A legal analyst with the Government Offices was unable to tell DN whether or not the offices paid the fee, but didn’t rule out legal action if an agreement regarding compensation could not be reached.

The request sent to the Stockholm board is part of a recently launched campaign by STIM targeting 2,900 companies and organizations around the country explaining that any workplace with more than 40 employees needs to pay a licence fee if workers listen to music via a computer or other type of device.

Story continues below…

“It’s our job to find these workplaces so that those who we answer to – the music publishers – get paid,” Bodin told DN.

She added that STIM has the right to demand that every workplace in Sweden with more than 40 employees pay the fees if employers allow workers to listen to music.

“Of course we can’t force anyone to pay if they say that they don’t listen to music,” said Bodin.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

18:26 July 7, 2009 by Rap43
Ha Ha Ha Ha... !!!


So, if I can hear someone's radio, or worse, mobile phone, playing music in a public place, I can report them to the royalties police?


Do these guys actually want anything like customer good will?

Don't the radio stations pay the fee for the music they broadcast to unknown numbers of listeners? Don't we pay a radio or broadcast fee when we buy computers, radios, TVs, CDs, etc?

If I had the technical know-how I would hack these greedy #"&@*¤ myself... oh, wait, I can go to jail for saying such things...

I guess I'll just have to go back to recording copies of music at home... like the good old days.

They can go suck if they think I'll buy new music any longer.
18:44 July 7, 2009 by bob3000
I'd be surprised if you were required to buy a license to listen to the radio at work - presuming that the company pays Radiotjänst.

Radio stations already pay STIM for every song played.

However, I guess they would be within their rights regarding playing CD's/cassettes/mp3 in a semi-public (non-personal environment)

- seems like a bit of a tight-ass approach, but I think this is one of the tangible results of the entertainment industry trying to claw back income, lost due to piracy (and dare I say a changing world).
18:47 July 7, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
I wonder if it also applies if people are listening to music in headphones on their own Ipod containing legally purchased music?

The wording of the article makes it sound like it.

They should go and f..k themselves regardless. I can understand bars paying the fees as the music can be part of the entertainment that entices people into the place, the same can't be said about government offices.

I like to buy CD's and rip them on to my Ipods as I like to support the artist and have th "hard" backup. If this sort of thing is going to happen I might as well use bittorrents in the future.
19:25 July 7, 2009 by Frobobbles
This is so dumb. I am a long-time member of Stim, but now I think it is time to leave. I am a private person, and my human rights do not disappear if I have a job. Why should a 'workplace' in a private company not be private?
19:32 July 7, 2009 by spy
There are a few flaws to the plan:

Radio stations already pay royalties; a proportion of the sale of a CD already goes back to the performer; And in most cases it is impossible to prove that music is not for personal use.

Susanne Bodin and the STIM are lunatics. They have as much chance of making money out of this than charging people for humming a tune.
19:54 July 7, 2009 by tigger007
i'm glad i don't listen to swedish music!

this is getting out of hand ever since pirate bay lost their case. people has been listening to music at work for yrs and how this crap!! so if my ipod plays my music to loud and someone hears it,i must pay royalties fees?
20:54 July 7, 2009 by chlinden
Ridiculous. They should pay people to listen to their music.
21:15 July 7, 2009 by stan dan deliver
lol the days of pop stars living like kings is over imho.

wtf..why should they earn millions every year aye? they had it good for many decades,

i read somewhere that paul mcartny has lost 400 million quid of his fortune
21:30 July 7, 2009 by Harding00
Wow...this is getting very, very ridiculous....
21:47 July 7, 2009 by Nicklouse
Nothing new it has been tried before in other countries.

the UK 2005

22:10 July 7, 2009 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
Truly ridonkulous, indeed.

I do recall working at a small country inn in my earlier years and the innkeeper's getting in trouble for playing show tunes on a cd player throughout the house.
22:16 July 7, 2009 by RosarioP
Absurd and ridiculous.

I'm looking forward to pay the money to them, ha ha ha..
22:19 July 7, 2009 by peropaco
This Susanne Bodin need to smoke some weed and get laid more often. She has too much free time on her hand. Oh wait; she is probably one of those frigid, dried up and desparate 40+ year old divorced broad with two kids that hangs out at Riche looking for some action to no avail.
22:20 July 7, 2009 by jack sprat
No surprise at all.

The unfairly biased pirate bay case was just the thin edge of the wedge and has likely opened the floodgates wide.

Having had a taste of blood, now the big corporations smell lots more blood bigtime, with the full backing of Swedish authorities.

They will not let up till they've bled everyone dry and left the poor without a penny to scratch their asses, while the fat cats wallow in their billions of dollars and get even fatter.
23:59 July 7, 2009 by Miss Kitten
Unfortunately (as an earlier poster mentioned) this is nothing new. The various copyright protection agencies will use any excuse to charge people more money.

In the UK, for example, any music under copyright played loud enough to be overheard by the public is considered to be a "public performance" for which royalties must be paid. This includes Christmas carols:

01:32 July 8, 2009 by Yendor
Who cares, who listens to swedish radio station anyway, there all the same and they all play the same songs over and over again day after day after day! Get smart at your office or business and listen to live streaming radio from anywhere in the world using your computer and its FREE and swedish laws dont apply, nice or what?
06:06 July 8, 2009 by Random Guy
silly swedes, you have to kiss the feet of your American overlords..... now give us your silly little krowns.

oh, please to jump to the euro so we can make even more dolloars! your silly kronwn is such a pain.

and stop yelling... or we will charge you for that too!
09:15 July 8, 2009 by Durai
This is really Stupid.
10:23 July 8, 2009 by Sago
C'mon People!

Look at it from the postive point of view, Now music in your workplace can be a benefit from your employer, unless you have a bad one and they take it off directly from your pay for playing your own CD's or Your spotify which you pay for! SO you will get less money! You end up paying less taxes that go and pay for useless things!

Either way, you win! or do you?
11:34 July 8, 2009 by Bigd
Seems you were right peropaca

16:17 July 8, 2009 by Thefall
Susanne Bodin = idiot.
Today's headlines
Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission-free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available