Recently, the Korea Music Copyright Association announced that noise and energy regulations are the main reason carol music is not heard on the streets at the end of the year. The association explained that all music, including carols, can be used legally indoors.
According to the current Noise and Vibration Management Act, a fine is imposed if the noise generated by installing speakers or loudspeakers outside a store exceeds the standard value (less than 65 dB during the day and 60 dB at night). Since the sound of everyday conversations is around 60 dB and a smartphone ringing is around 70 dB, it is difficult to play music so passers-by can hear it.
In addition, playing music inside a store and opening the door so that it can be heard on the street may also be subject to crackdown under energy regulation policies. This is because there is a problem of reduced heating efficiency.
There are still many citizens who misunderstand that carol music has disappeared from the streets due to copyright issues. Copyright fees are not set separately only for carol music. According to the copyright law, most stores play music regardless of copyright. It can be used freely.
He added, “Certain industries (cafes, large supermarkets, fitness centers, etc.) that are required to pay copyright fees can use carol music without worrying about copyright if they pay the copyright fees as before.”
Current copyright law considers the act of using music in a public place as a “performance.” However, the majority of stores that are not in businesses that are required to pay copyright fees by relevant laws (coffee shops, other non-alcoholic beverage shops, draft beer shops, other bars, large-scale stores – excluding traditional markets, fitness centers, etc., see Article 11 of the Enforcement Decree of the Copyright Act) do not pay copyright fees. There is no obligation to pay. Accordingly, various types of music, including carols, can be used without paying copyright fees.
Even in the case of business premises subject to copyright fee payment, such as cafes and bars, small stores of less than 50㎡, are “exempted” from paying copyright fees. Small business owners who run such businesses have no restrictions on using music. Stores with an area of 50 to 100 ㎡ or more pay a copyright fee.
In addition, stores of up to 1,000 ㎡ can freely use music by paying a monthly fee of 10,000 KRW (~$7.58 USD).
Most business establishments are not required to pay copyright fees under the current copyright law, so we hope that they will actively use indoor carol music as long as it does not conflict with noise regulations and government energy policies. I hope that everyone can find a little comfort through music during difficult times and that citizens have a warm end-of-the-year.