Several cafe and restaurant owners have recently faced warning notices from the Moroccan Copyright Office (BMDA) regarding the payment of royalties for the use of musical and television extracts broadcast in their spaces.
These professionals are required to pay a sum varying between 3,000 and 7,000 dirhams, according to a group of cafes in Casablanca. This situation has sparked outrage among industry players, especially since these payments come on top of the financial burden already accumulated since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Notifications, viewed by MoroccoLatestNewsrequire professionals to pay copyright royalties for broadcast music, folklore, movies, seasonal shows, and all television and theater-related content.
Although the Moroccan Copyright Office insists on the importance of paying financial royalties to cultural and musical players in Morocco, the owners of the establishments in question refuse to pay these amounts, arguing that they have no no direct link with this organization.
Nourredine Harrak, president of the National Association of Cafe and Restaurant Owners in Morocco, said in this regard that ” cafes have been receiving these notifications for years and have been embroiled in legal battles that ended in them being thrown out by the courts“.
In a statement to MoroccoLatestNewsHarrak pointed out that “ court rulings have consistently vindicated coffee professionals after the BMDA lost cases against them“.
” Cafes have again received warning notifications in several parts of the country” , he added.
For this professional in the sector, “che treatment is a real injustice to the owners of cafes, because these establishments have become a means for state institutions to fill their financial gaps, whether local authorities, financial funds or the Moroccan Copyright Office“.
Harrak similarly pointed out that ” cafes already pay annual financial dues for broadcasting football matches and turn on the television to watch news bulletins, which are not subject to copyright, as well as to listen to radio programs comprising various compositions musical“.
” These compositions are the responsibility of the radio stations and not of the cafes”, he argued, thus confirming that “the professionals have categorically refused to pay these financial royalties and remain determined to assert their right to resort to the courts for resolve this legal dispute“.
In conclusion, Harrak pointed out that ” cafe owners have offered to donate a symbolic amount of 200 dirhams per year to the institution, in accordance with the law governing the sector, in order to support Moroccan artists”. However, he said, this initiative was rejected and the professionals continue to refuse to pay the amounts claimed from them.