• Italy's news in English
Barber told to pay copyright over Donna Summer 'ringtone'
An Italian barber has been sanctioned for having a song as his ringtone at work. Photo: Highways England

Barber told to pay copyright over Donna Summer 'ringtone'

The Local · 26 Feb 2016, 11:12

Published: 26 Feb 2016 11:12 GMT+01:00

Unfortunately for Giuseppe Laiso, who owns a barber shop in Fiorano Modenese, a town near Bologna, an inspector from Italy's copyright agency, Siae, was in the shop when the phone went off, playing Summer's 'Love to Love You Baby'.
Such visits are not uncommon: any shop owner wanting to play copyrighted music to their customers must pay an annual fee to Siae to cover royalty costs.
And it just so happens that Laiso decided that he wouldn't pay the fee this year, because he would no longer treat his customers to background music as he snipped away at their hair.
At least that's what he told the Italian media.
Story continues below…
“I've paid Siae for the last 35 years, but this year the annual cost rose to €71 and I didn't think it was worth it so I unplugged the radio,” Laiso told La Repubblica.

“The Siae inspector came in to check that I wasn't playing music on the premises and when my phone rang his eyes lit up."

The inspector then asked him if he was using his phone to play music in the shop.

Laiso claimed that it was just his ringtone, but according to the Italian media reports, the inspector refused to believe him, issuing the barber with a sanction that would see him forced to pay the annual fee in full for diffusing copyrighted music in public.

Laiso's story soon went viral and Siae took to its Facebook to defend itself from the barber's claims - revealing that Laiso's phone had been playing the 'ringtone' through a speaker system.

"Press articles widely shared on social media saying Siae fined a barber for a ringtone are false and highly damaging,” they wrote.

“There was a telephone, yes, but it was hooked up to speakers and playing music on the premises...music which adds value to Laiso's service, which he refused to pay for.

"The only thing he should have done was pay the annual €71 fee. That's less than €0.20 a day, less than half the price of a cup of coffee.”

Speakers or no speakers, Laiso is adamant it was just a ringtone and said he has no intention of paying.

“It's a good job my wife's phone didn't ring – otherwise the inspector would have heard The 'A Fistfull of Dollars' theme song. I won't even whistle while I work anymore.”

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italy quake: homeless to leave tent camps next month
Some 2,700 people lost their homes in the quake. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

Those left homeless after Wednesday's devastating earthquake in central Italy will be moved out of their tent camps by the end of September.

Facebook CEO in Rome for chat with staff...and a jog
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Rome on Monday for a Q&A with employees. Photo: Drew Angerer/AFP

The billionaire arrived in the Italian capital after spending a week in Lake Como, where he attended the wedding of Sofia and Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify.

Gene makes coffee-lovers full of beans: Italian study
How much coffee you drink could come down to your genetic make-up. Photo: McPig/Flickr

A groundbreaking study carried out in coffee-mad Italy has helped identify a gene scientists say could regulate our appetite for espressos and cappuccinos.

The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

For 40 minutes before an earthquake struck central Italy in the early hours of last Wednesday, a pet dog, living with its family in Poggio Castellano, a hamlet near Amatrice, kept barking.

Drawing out children's trauma in quake-hit Italy
Following the quake, a play area for affected children has been set up in Amatrice. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Inside a shady tent in the middle of quake-hit Amatrice, a little girl hunches over a table drawing a picture of the soaring mountains overlooking this small Italian town.

Pope wants to visit quake-hit villages
’I hope to come and see you,’ the pope said. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto /AFP

Pope Francis said Sunday he wanted to visit some of the central Italian villages devastated in this week's earthquake, as survivors and rescue workers dug in for the long haul with winter approaching.

Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
Amatrice had been due to host its Amatriciana pasta festival this weekend. Photo: Angela Giuffrida

The Lazio town of Amatrice was the hardist-hit by Wednesday's devastating earthquake. The Local's Angela Giuffrida visited what is left of the town on Friday.

Italian flags at half mast for quake victims
More than 280 people were killed in the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck on August 24. Photo: Andreas Solaro /AFP

Flags flew at half mast across Italy on Saturday as the country observed a day of mourning for the victims of an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people.

Italy earthquake
Italy prepares to mourn earthquake dead
Collapsed buildings in Amatrice. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

No survivors have been found since Thursday.

Italy earthquake
Rescuers search for 15 still missing in Amatrice
A suitcase in the rubble of a collapsed home in Amatrice. Photo: Angela Giuffrida/The Local

A team of specialist rescue workers from Shanghai is searching for 15 people unaccounted for in Amatrice, the Lazio town torn apart by Wednesday's devastating earthquake.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
jobs available