“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.”