Copyright battle leaves Bulgarian radio stuck in the past

Copyright battle leaves Bulgarian radio stuck in the past

5 January 2017

Since the beginning of this year, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) has been locked in battle with copyright organisation Musicautor, forcing the station to only play music produced before 1945.

During celebrations at 00.01am on 1 January 2017, radio listeners were not greeted with the version of the Bulgarian national anthem usually used to usher in the new year. Instead, they heard an alternative version performed by BNR’s own choir and orchestra.

Since it has been barred from playing more than 14,000,000 musical pieces from around the world, BNR has treated listeners mostly to classical music, jazz and folk music.

The current dispute is due to BNR’s refusal to agree to a gradual threefold increase in its payments to Musicautor, bringing payments more in line with those of other European public radio broadcasters. Until the end of 2016, BNR paid just 1% of its subsidy as royalties to Musicautor, with neighbouring Romania’s public station paying 3.25%, and other European broadcasters contributing even greater proportions.

Source: Moscow Inquirer