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Hotel should not pay copyrights for making television and radio available in guest’s rooms

The 11th Civil Chamber of the Court of Rio de Janeiro held1 that hotels should not pay copyrights due to the use of television and radio in its rooms.

The Central Office for Collection and Distribution of Royalties (ECAD) filed a lawsuit against A.M.S. EMPREENDIMENTOS HOTELEIROS LTDA-ME (“Pousada Suarez”), arguing that the hotel has not paid copyrights due to the public performance of music resulting from its transmission in television sets installed in common areas of the hotel and guest rooms.

The Reporter Judge Luiz Henrique Oliveira Marques recognized that Precedent No. 63 of the Superior Court of Justice provided that any commercial premises shall pay copyrights due to the radio retransmission of music, but revised this understanding due to the entry into force of Law No. 11,771 of 2008. According to article 23 of this law, “accommodation services” means, among other services, the provision of temporary accommodation in units of individual frequency and for the exclusive use of the guest. Therefore, hotel rooms should no longer be considered a place of collective frequency and, consequently, making television or radio available in such rooms would not characterize public performance of musical works.

Based on this understanding, the Judge dismissed ECAD’s appeal and granted Pousada Suarez’s appeal. This decision is appealable.

1 Appeal No. 0004192-39.2011.8.19.0081