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Music Licence Holders are warned They Could End up in High Court If Music Licences Are Not Current

Written by Fozia Cheychi on 16 November 2015

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Phonographic Performance Ltd (‘PPL’) the UK based music licensing company and performance rights organisation has recently warned: “Businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence may face legal action and possibly hefty financial and other consequences as a result.”

The warning comes following a recent case in which one of the top judges in the country imposed a music ban on Harrison Inns Ltd (‘Harrison’) - the owner of Pirana. Harrison were caught playing recorded tracks that were subject to copyright at the Pirana located in Lincolnshire without a valid PPL licence. The ban applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL’s repertoire.

A PPL inspector visited the premises on 6 June 2015, despite there being no valid PPL licence in place; music was being played on the premises. Tracks such as “Let Me Think About It” by Ida Corr featuring Fedde Le Grand were heard by the inspector during his visit.

Harrison who had no legal representation were banned from playing recorded music at all premises that their licence was brought up to date. The company were also ordered to pay £1,727 in legal costs that were incurred by PPL in taking the matter to court.

If this court order is not complied with, then penalties as a result of contempt of court include fines of up to £10,000 and further up to six months prison for the individuals that are responsible.

Fiona Clark, counsel for PPL told Mr Justice Warren that the owners of the premise had been sent letters from solicitors informing them of the nature and extent of PPL’s repertoire and the fact that playing in public, sound recordings without PPL’s licence or permission constitutes copyright infringement. They were invited to acquire a valid licence.

Christine Geissmar, Operations Director, PPl stated “There is an intrinsic value that recorded music adds to businesses, and this judgement acknowledges that the performers of the music and records companies should be fairly rewarded.” She continued “Businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence may face legal action and financial and other consequences as a result. Legal action is only ever sought as a last resort where a business continues to play music following repeated attempts from PPL to get the correct licensing. PPL issues licences to hundreds of thousands businesses and organisations across the UK when they play recorded music to their staff or customers. Licensees include bars, nightclubs, shops, hotels, offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and public sector organisations up and down the country. She further stated “After the deduction of PPl’s running costs, all licence fee income is distributed to PPL’s records company and performer members. The majority are small businesses, all of whom are legally entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances. PPL does not retain a profit for its service.”








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