Belgian copyright society wants royalties for library volunteers who read to small groups of children

Robin Wauters writes in The Next Web about the bizarre, cartoon-villain move from Belgian copyright collecting society SABAM, who are demanding that public libraries pay royalties when volunteers read to groups of ten or so small children. SABAM is demanding €250 per year from each cash-strapped library. The technical term for this is "eating your seed corn" (a less technical term might be "acting like a titanic asshole"). If kids are read to, they grow up to be readers, and they buy books. If kids don't get the reading habit, they won't grow up to buy books and writers will starve.

Twice a month, the library in Dilbeek welcomes about 10 children to introduce them to the magical world of books. A representative of the library in question is quoted in the De Morgen report as saying there’s no budget to compensate people who read to the kids, relying instead on volunteers (bless them)...

The De Morgen reporter then contacted SABAM (probably to check if this wasn’t an elaborate hoax or some grave error in judgment) and received a formal statement from the organization asserting that, indeed, public libraries need to pay up for the right to – once again – READ BOOKS TO KIDS.

Belgian rightsholders group wants to charge libraries for READING BOOKS TO KIDS