American Military Could Owe Royalties for Music Used as Torture Device

Most people can think of a few songs that simply drive them crazy. The U.S. military is reported to use music as a method of torture against prisoners in the Guantánamo Bay prison. The point of the music, according to the Guardian, is to induce sleep deprivation and drown out screams.

The Guardian has also posted a list of songs it says are used by the U.S. military as torture devices. The list includes songs like Enter Sandman by Metallica, Bodies by Drowning Pool, White America by Eminem, and the Barney Theme Song.

One song is specifically singled out by the Guardian as being used in the so called “torture playlist.” The track is called Babylon by U.K. artist David Gray. Howard Knopf, a Canadian lawyer specializing in intellectual property, says that the U.S. military may owe Gray royalties for playing his music in a public space.

Knopf wrote in his blog, “Certain collectives are quick to collect money from those in nursing homes, hospitals, prisons etc, on the basis that these are ‘public’ places. Never mind that the audience is captive and it’s their home, like it or not.”

Gray told the BBC, “That is torture. It doesn’t matter what the music is – it could be Tchaikovsky’s finest or it could be Barney the Dinosaur. It really doesn’t matter; it’s going to drive you completely nuts.”

In Europe, artists can veto where their music is played in public spaces. The catch here is the inability for Gray to veto the use of his music in an America territory when it is being used by the military. It would also be next to impossible for any music publisher to pursue the military for royalties.

Many may wonder if RIAA will tire of endlessly filing suits against Americans — and on occasion losing them — and start looking to get money out of the much deeper pockets of the U.S. military.