Italian law establishes that those who organise a private event, show or any entertainment where copyrighted works are performed, live music or recorded, should ask the Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori (aka SIAE or Italian Society of Authors and Publishers) for a licence to hold this event.
Payment of the license from SIAE is due for any wedding party where live or recorded music is performed. The requirement also applies to other types of private events, such as baptisms, garden parties, birthday parties and corporate events.
Who is responsible for payment?
The general rule is that the event "organiser" is responsible for paying the SIAE fee. For weddings, this will usually be the couple getting married. For corporate events, it's likely to be the company.
So if you're getting married in Italy and have hired a live band or DJ, you'll need to ensure you pay the SIAE fee before your wedding date.
What happens if I don't pay the SIAE tax?
SIAE inspectors will apply onerous penalties and most importantly, the arrival of the Inspectors will cause disruption to the ceremony or wedding reception, especially if the SIAE fees have not been paid beforehand. It is the Event Planner's responsibility to pay these fees.
Why does this matter?
SIAE inspectors have been known to shut down parties that don't have the relevant fees paid.
How much is the SIAE tax?
For weddings in Italy, the SIAE permit usually costs between 250 Euros to 350 Euros. The exact cost will depend on a few factors, such as the number of guests at your event, whether you have just a DJ playing recorded music or musicians playing live music, and the area of Italy your event is taking place in.
Where can I get help with paying the SIAE tax?
Your local wedding planner or venue can often help advise on how to pay the relevant fees. Our wedding bands also have experience of dealing with this, so feel free to ask them about it when you enquire and they will be happy to help.
If you don't have a wedding planner, some of our bands are happy to apply for the SIAE licence themselves and handle the relevant paperwork, provided the client then reimburses them for the costs afterwards. This can often be done just a couple of days before the date of your wedding. Although it's not the band's responsibility to organise or pay for the SIAE permit, most will be willing to offer some support.
For more information, please visit SIAE's official website.
— Adam is a co-founder of FixTheMusic and works on everything from copywriting and marketing to design and user experience. He studied Music at Cambridge University. Adam is a keen pianist, and also learned cello and trumpet from an early age.