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Venues in Bansko found violating copyright

Date: 24.03.2009

More than 30 venues in the Bulgarian winter resort of Bansko have been found in violation of the Law on Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights (LCNR) and have not paid due fees to collective rights organisation Muzkiautor.

Inspections were performed by the directorate of copyrights and neighbouring rights of the Ministry of Culture, together with police and in co-ordination with Muzikautor, a media statement from the collective rights organisation said.

Muzikautor estimated the total damages at around 120 000 leva a year for venues in Bansko alone.

Under the LCNR, every public performance or broadcast, including those in cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels, is subject to royalties, payable to the collective rights organisation. This organisation then redistributes the money to record companies, performers and song writers.

Fees were calculated based on the number of stars and the number of beds for hotels, or the number of seats for restaurants and bars.

One of the hotels that had not paid its due fees was a luxury complex with 160 rooms and suites, three restaurants and three bars, Muzikautor said. The organisation estimated the copyrights fees for the hotel at more than 10 000 leva a year.

Eight venues that had been sanctioned the year before, appeared not to have paid due fees this year either. Among the eight was a hotel that was part of an international chain, Muzikautor said.

Under the LCNR, not paying due fees for copyrights and neighbouring rights is punishable by 300 to 3000 leva fines.

"Inspections by the Ministry of Culture is one of the few mechanisms we have to deal with these violations. And it seems they do pay off, athough there are still venues that simply refuse to pay," said Tsenko Minkin, chair of the board of Muzikautor.

According to Muzikautor, due to the almost 380 inspections in 2008 and despite some places refusing to pay fees due, revenues from fees paid by commercial and tourist venues in Bulgaria were up by 200 per cent.

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