Supreme Court rules that employees can listen to music without paying royalties

Koda vs. Marius Pedersen A/S, the Supreme Court

Pedersen, a waste disposal company, in 2001 employed 925 people, 838 of which had the opportunity to listen to music via TV, radio and CD players in of¬fices and in workshops with room for not more than 21 employees, in work-out rooms with room for not more than 3-4 employees and in trucks with room for not more than 2-3 employees.

From 1989 to 2000 the Pedersen paid royalties to the Danish collecting society, Koda, for public performance of music, but in 2001 the defendant refused to pay royalties.

The Court stated that the playing of music via TV, radio and CD players as was the case with Pedersen is not to be considered public performance of music, as according to practice transmission of music to less than 40 persons is not considered “public performance”, and in all of the rooms and in the trucks, where the employees can listen to music, less than 40 persons together can listen to the same music at the same time. Pedersen was therefore not ordered to pay royalties for public transmission of music.


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