THE Court of Appeals (CA) absolved a business establishment from infringement of copyright for playing music aired over radio stations.
In a decision dated April 19, the appellate court affirmed the earlier decision by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 6 saying Anrey Inc., which operates Sizzling Plate restaurant in Baguio City, has not infringed upon the intellectual property rights of Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Inc., (Filscap).
“We are elated with the decision and we feel that the collection of such royalty fee is too oppressive for business establishment,” said restaurateur and sportsman Carlos Anton.
Filscap, back in 2009, accused Anrey Inc. of infringement of copyright for allowing one of its three branches to use radio with extended speakers that broadcast music played over a local radio station.
With this, Filscap through its agent, instructed Anrey Inc. to secure from them a public performance license and to pay license fees amounting to more or less P6,000 for one of its stores to legitimize the public performance of the musical works inside the restaurant.
Filscap derived its public performance rights over copyrighted musical works from the deeds of assignment executed by its member composers, lyricists, and publishers and the reciprocal agreements it entered into with its affiliate performing rights societies abroad.
Anrey refused the requests and demands of Filscap, prompting the private group to file an instant case and demand the payment of more or less P500,000 as nominal damages, compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees.
The court ruled Anrey Inc. cannot be said to have infringed upon the copyright law as it was not charging any admission fee in publicly playing songs through the radio and it does not charge any additional cost to the customers for the music played in its restaurants.
Lawyer Lauro Gacayan, meanwhile, said with the CA affirming an earlier decision by RTC Branch, they remain optimistic the Supreme Court will rule in their favor if Filscap decides to seek another appeal. (Roderick Osis)
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on May 24, 2017.
Latest issues of SunStar Baguio also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial.