Call it a Hail Mary effort.
With piracy accounting for 25% of Italy’s music market, the country’s recording industry copyright society has stepped up efforts to collect royalties from businesses and public establishments — including some 30,000 churches and other religious institutions.
The SCE and Italy’s Catholic Bishop’s Conference have inked an agreement whereby Italo parishes will shell out a $114 yearly fee for performing rights, enabling clergy to legally crank up the music during public occasions on church grounds, regardless of whether the event is for profit or not.
The pact — cheekily compared by local press to the 1929 Lateran Treaty that regularized Italo-Vatican relations — applies to recorded music played during fund-raisers such as bingo nights and dances, and even to masses, weddings and first communions.
SCE called the agreement “a key step in the gradual spread of a culture of legality” and praised the bishops for setting a “significant example.”
Earlier this year, the org won a landmark legal action against clothesmaker Benetton affirming its right to collect royalties for music played in its youth-targeted retail chain.
Next on the target list are the country’s countless hair salons and gyms.