Music ban for Brassington pub

THE landlord of a Brassington pub was today banned by a High Court judge from playing recorded music there without a licence. He also faces a legal costs bill of more than £1,600.

Mr Justice Sales, sitting in London, banned John Gowdy, proprietor of the Miners Arms pub at Miners Hill, Brassington, Derbyshire, from playing recorded music there after hearing he had been caught playing copyrighted tracks on the premises without a music licence.

Gowdy, who was not present or represented in court, now faces the prospect of a heavy fine or even prison if he disobeys the order, which also applies to any other premises he runs.

And, as a result of the proceedings, he can also expect a legal bill for £1,637, which must be paid within 14 days.

The judge ordered him not to play any more music at any premises he runs until he brings his music licence up to date. Failure to obey the order and turn any premises he runs into a music-free zone until all licence fees are brought up to date would be regarded as contempt of court, the penalties for which can be fines of up to £10,000 and up to six months in prison.

The pay-up or shut-up order was imposed after the judge heard that he was caught playing music on the premises when he did not hold a licence from music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).

One of PPL’s inspectors attended the premises on September 24 last year and heard Tracy Chapman tracks being played including ‘Wedding Song’, ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Fast Car’.

Fiona Clark, counsel for PPL, said that solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing Gowdy of the nature and extent of PPL’s repertoire and the fact that the playing in public of sound recordings without PPL’s licence or permission constitutes infringement of its copyright, and inviting him to acquire a licence.

Today’s ban applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL’s repertoire, which covers 97 per cent of all music. Music licences can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the venue and the audiences involved.

PPL spokesperson Clare Goldie said: “PPL is the UK-based music licensing company which licenses recorded music for broadcast, online and public performance use. Established in 1934, PPL carries out this role on behalf of thousands of record company and performer members.

“Public performance licences are issued by PPL to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations from all sectors across the UK who play recorded music to their staff or customers and who therefore require a licence by law. These can range from bars, nightclubs, shops and hotels to offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and local authorities.

“After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all revenue collected is distributed to members. PPL does not retain a profit for its services.

“With over 6,500 members who are record companies or other recorded music rights holders and 50,000 performer members, PPL has a large and diverse membership. Members include major record labels and globally successful performers, as well as many independent labels, sole traders and session musicians ranging from orchestral players to percussionists and singers – all of whom are entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances.

“PPL’s role and remit increases year on year. The company receives details electronically on a weekly basis for an average of 6,500 new recordings.

“Once this data has been fed into PPL’s databases, it is then passed on to PRS for Music for it to administer the relevant copying rights on behalf of the songwriters, composers and publishers.”