Costa Rican bill threatens copyright payments to music workers

On April, 2023, Costa Rican Congress began the discussion of a bill that aims to further regulate copyright and related rights of musical artists, both national and foreign.
The bill, titled «Cost Relief for Commercial Establishments,» No. 23,702, aims to exempt any commercial establishment that uses music as a «non-essential» part of its business from paying the rights established by law.
The project is under debate and has been critized by the Association of Composers and Musical Authors (ACAM) of Costa Rica, a collective management organization that represents and manages the rights of music composers and authors in the country.
«Music is indeed essential to the economic life of our country. Would people go to a bar or gym that doesn’t play music? There is global recognition of these rights; in Costa Rica, it should not be any different. The economic rights of a group of people should not be infringed. The work of those of us who make music is as dignified as that of entrepreneurs and businesspeople in our country, as well as that of waitstaff, cooks, and shop assistants; we all work for our livelihood,» stated Edín Solís, President of ACAM.

The bill’s introduction is seen by collective management organizations as stemming from a lack of understanding of fundamental principles of copyright and related rights, as well as a misguided vision that fails to recognize the contribution of culture to a country’s economy and how individuals in the sector can monetize their work.
These organizations understand that education on these issues is a long-term process, and they will continue to make efforts to explain why those who use music in any type of commercial establishment do so because of the value it adds to their business and how recognition of copyright and related rights is the fair and equitable way to redistribute the benefits it generates.
The organizations have also stated that they will be taking the necessary actions, both at the political and technical-legal levels, to demonstrate that the bill lacks foundation and is driven by sectors with no interest in recognizing the contribution of art to society.