Letters: Hedge fund, BP, retail music

Letters in a computer with red mailbox flag

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: We figured we'd start letters today with a little laugh. A couple of weeks ago, we heard from the Hot Mess sketch group from the Upright Citizens Brigade theater.

They came by the studios for the first, and, probably the last installment of "Ask a Hedge Fund Manager."

Josh: I don't have a boat.

Dan: Get a boat.

Josh: I just got laid off.

Dan: You're killing me here. A boat is only like $2 or $3 million. He doesn't have a boat?! What does he jump his motorcycle onto?

Sarah Forde: I keep coming back to listen to this. It's so funny. From now on when someone comes to me with some kind of problem, my first question is going to be "Well, how big is your boat?"

Sarah Forde there from Worchester, Mass. Don't know what size her boat is or whether she has one.

Moving on to something not amusing at all, now, the Gulf oil leak. Back on day 58 of the spill -- that'd be six days ago -- we asked our man in London, Stephen Beard, what people over there are saying about President Obama's tough talk about the company formerly know as British Petroleum. Some have called it anti-British rhetoric.

Michael Mullen wrote from Santa Clara, Calif. to put the shoe on the other foot.

Michael Mullen: Suppose that the BP oil leak had been in the English Channel. The coast of France from Calais to Normandy would be under oil. By comparison to what Mr. Sarkozy of France would say, I believe President Obama's language is positively complimentary.

Penelope Livingston of Tampa, Fla. wrote about our story last week from Canada, where a business district in Toronto hooked an iPod to a PA system and played some really bad music in the hopes it would get people to shop.

"Living Together" by the Bee Gees

Penelope Livingston: This sounds like just the kind of horrible, obnoxious, loud invasion of personal peace idea my city would latch onto.

We got a lot of letters wondering about licensing, whether the businesses could legally play that music for the public without some sort of permission.

So we called Vincent Candilora from ASCAP -- that's the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers -- and asked him to shed some light.

Vincent Candilora: Playing an iPod in a public space is really no different than someone playing a CD or a tape or any other recorded copyrighted music. Under the federal copyright law, it requires permission from the copyright owner in order to publicly perform that song.

Doesn't matter, Mr. Candilora said, whether they are here or abroad, big or small, they've gotta pay the piper.

Candilora: It's a very small percentage of establishments that try and get away with it, if you will, and ultimately, we catch up with them.

Whether you've got a license for music, a license to drive or no license at all, we'd still like to hear from you.

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