Cafe and restaurant owners have categorically rejected the Moroccan Copyright Office (BMDA) royalty notices by taking legal action to enforce their rights. Indeed, professionals in cafes and restaurants have decided to take legal action, judging the opinions received from the Moroccan Copyright Office or Bureau (BMDA) to be unjustified and without any legal basis.
The latter effectively summon them to pay royalties due to copyrights for the production of musical extracts and TV programs broadcast in their cafes and restaurants. Also the owners of cafes and restaurants filed a complaint with the Court of First Instance of Rabat against the BMDA, claiming that the complaint made by the office against them ” finds no basis in law, nor is it founded on any basis whatsoever”.
They believe that it is the radio stations and channels which present their products to the public who remain the only ones concerned and it is therefore up to them to pay the copyright, and not to the owners of the cafes and restaurants. The amount of royalties can reach up to 7,000 DH and sometimes more. Already they are in conflict at least for those of Rabat against the taxes of the public spaces which the Commune rents to them, that does not care it badly.
So they refuse to be this famous “little wall” (Moroccan expression meaning easy prey), of the BMDA, which sets itself up as the defender of lobbies instead of turning directly to the cafes which have not finished suffering the repercussions of Dame Covid. Those concerned also call on the BMDA to reconsider these tax decisions imposed after its officials found that their establishments were broadcasting programs from channels, some of which are sports. In their eyes it is a grotesque injustice. They also say they are ready for any challenges to assert their right.
In this regard, the President of the National Federation of Associations of Cafés, Restaurants and Tourist Units At Morocco (FNACRU™), mohamed bouzit, asserted that ” the BMDA remains unable to derive rights from radio and television channels and telecommunications companies that provide these artistic productions, while standing up as a defender of rights holders“.
Bouzit further pointed out that, “cafe and restaurant professionals have taken legal action to stop the extraction notices“, noting that“a decision had previously been rendered by the Superior Council of the Judiciary under No. 274 on May 21, 1975, with Decision No. 625 of November 28, 1979 which stipulated that the exploitation of television programs in public places (cafes and restaurants ) is not considered an exploitation of the rights of artists and authors“.
To support the statement of the Minister of Culture, the president of FNACRUTM indicated that “the report of the General Inspectorate of Finance which also confirms that the sums collected are not correctly managed legally “. Also the speaker expressed his rejection of what he called “the domination of the BMDA over the bosses of the cafes and restaurants sector. The Bureau considers them as prey to compensate for its inability to extort rights from authors or artists affiliated with it“.
In this context Bouzit mentioned “the emergence of smartphones, mobile screens to have access to all the programs that use the paid Internet to watch them, like those of YouTube and other digital platforms that make them available to millions of subscribers. There are also telecommunications companies that provide music connections in telephone and other communications“.
And Bouzit to specify: “Copyrights, if they are rights to be paid, it is in the electricity bill in the audiovisual section that they must be extracted, especially since they are already paid in the general income tax (IGR)”.