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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Belgium Forbade Reading To Kids

This story shows how in touch the creative industry is with reality: one of the Belgian copyright organizations has decided that if someone read a story to kids they automatically were a pirate

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In other words, even if you read them aloud some great children’s classics like The World of Poo, by Terry Pratchet, you can well expect the entertainment industry to slap you with a huge damages lawsuit. That’s how SABAM sees the situation – a pro-copyright outfit from Belgium, engaged in collecting money for music royalties.

It turned out that SABAM has written to local libraries all over the country, notifying them that they are starting to charge fees, as the libraries engage volunteers to read books to children. De Morgen, one of the local libraries in Dilbeek, like plenty of other libraries throughout the country, has confirmed that they already been contacted by SABAM. The latter appeared to be outraged that once a fortnight the library invites a volunteer to read stories to ten kids. The representative of the library admitted that they have no money to pay people for reading to children.

Well, volunteers work for free. But SABAM demands around 250 Euro annually to let the library read the books to children. Weird as it may appear, SABAM did confirm that this move was true and it wasn’t just an early April Fool’s joke.

According to the local media, the copyright outfit is already facing court trial for the accusations of falsifying accounts to cover up bribe payments, embezzlement, abuse of trust, and copyright fraud. In other words, the entity seems like simply looking for more ways to raise cash. Nevertheless, this does show the sort of mentality that the creative industry has in hunting people accused of online piracy.

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