On 27 July 2010, the Belgrade Commercial Court issued a first instance decision in which it ordered the public broadcaster Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) to pay Serbian copyright organization SOKOJ the not insubstantial sum of EUR 1,293,739 (US$ 1,653,614) for broadcasting music without paying royalties to its composers.
This is apparently just a skirmish in a very long battle between SOKOJ and RTS, with the prospect of an appeal in the offing. According to SOKOJ, this is "the most important decision ever made in the field of copyright protection" [presumably in Serbia, at any rate] and that it makes it clear that the legislation in this area must be respected. There's plenty of money at stake as well as principle: if the decision becomes final. RTS will have to pay SOKOJ nearly EUR 2 million (US$ 2,556,334) after the addition of interest. These sums are very large if one takes into account the cost of living in Serbia.
The 1709 Blog hopes to find out more about this dispute and, in particular, about the grounds of any defences.
Source: PETOSEVIC newsletter here.