Feb 23, 2015

Rise in Licensing and Copyright Disputes

Research has revealed that the vast majority of claims issued in the High Court are in respect of licensing and copyright infringement disputes. The claims are typically in respect of nightclubs, bars, shops and restaurants which are playing music or screening television broadcasts without having appropriate licenses in place.

If recorded music is played in a public place, businesses may need to obtain a license from PRS for Music. PRS is a company that collects and then distributes money for the use of the musical compositions and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters, composers and publishers. It is also often that case that businesses will need a Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) licence to legally play recorded music in public. PPL collect and distribute royalties for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers.

Last year alone, PPL filed over 230 claims against establishments playing music without a licence whilst the Premier League filed 36 claims against those who had shown football matches.

The Copyright Designs and Patents Act states that it is an offence to perform or play a copyright work in a public place in the UK without the permission of the copyright owner and that to do so amounts to copyright infringement.

Under the Licensing Act, the penalty for carrying out a licensable activity such as playing recorded music or screening TV programmes could be a fine of up to £2,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment.

It is thought that the increase in copyright claims regarding licences could be due to the fact that it is easier to pursue those without licences in nightclubs, bars, pubs and shops than it is try and track and pursue culprits who are running illegal online file sharing websites.

in: Civil Procedure, Copyright, Legal News, News

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