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Belgian Royalties-Collection Society to Charge Volunteers Who Read to Kids


I can’t say it any better than they did on thenextweb.com, so I’ll just link to the original blog post.

But in short, SABAM, a Belgian organization responsible for collecting royalties owed to music composers, authors and publishers has begun contacting libraries in Belgium, demanding they be paid royalty fees every time a volunteer reads books to children.

No, seriously. Read the whole article and be stunned.

What blows my mind is not only the colossal, almost cartoonish greed, eclipsing Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch (both fictional bogeymen, at that) put together, but also the astounding short-sightednesses of it all. When we read books to kids, we help instil a love of books in them, and thereby create a booklover. A booklover who will one day have money of their own, and buy books.

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Beth Carswell

About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

2 Responses to “Belgian Royalties-Collection Society to Charge Volunteers Who Read to Kids”

  1. This is absolutely insane. If it weren’t for the libraries helping to expand beyond the (admittedly many) books that we own, there are so many wonderful things that my boys would have missed out on.

    There’s another benefit beyond a love of books, though. Being read to helps a child *learn*, particularly in young children. They see the volunteer (or their parents) reading the same words in a story, or the same story time after time, and they start to recognize what those words are. And it makes them want to know what more words are. Reading to my eldest son is part of what made him a very early reader (by 2 or 2 1/2 – he’s now 6 and reading about 4 levels above his grade).

    And it’s not just the learning of words, but the learning of so many things. My youngest wants to learn everything he can about dinosaurs because of stories he heard at our local library. Dinosaurs are just the latest obsession. Before that were trucks and trains and teddy bears. And even when it’s not an obsession, bits of knowledge stay there, little facts that they heard in a story once that resonate and stay with them, to be pulled out at unexpected times.

    I think “short-sighted” is an understatement. Personally, I think it’s bordering on criminal.

  2. Beth Carswell

    Agreed, Amber. It’s really very shocking. But the story also seems to be getting traction, so it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.