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Old 09 April 2009, 16:15   #1
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Do you need a music licence

I have fitted to the RIBs a CD/ Radio system that can be used to play music for customers and also to listen to broadcasts of events we are attending. I have heard that maybe we need some form of music licence, is this correct? and if so what does it cover?
It appears the Performing Rights Society can claim if no licence is obtained. Is this also correct as all web searches have confused this ol sea dog.
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Old 09 April 2009, 16:19   #2
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I've had letters off them telling me I need a licence because my staff listen to a radio at work.

It's all here www.prs.co.uk
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Old 09 April 2009, 16:22   #3
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Do you need a music licence

I believe that if you play music in a shop for example you need one. I think it hinges on if your party have paid to be on your rib.
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Old 10 April 2009, 05:23   #4
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I think it hinges on if your party have paid to be on your rib.
When we checked about playing music when people were arriving for training courses, or during breaks, the answer we got was that we needed a licence even for the music clips (just a few seconds) that we had in some of our presentations. It didn't matter if people had paid to be there or not. If I had the radio on in the office, or a CD playing, and someone called in, I was supposed to turn the music off. I can respect peoples' rights to earn money for what they've created ... but not when it gets unreasonable.

The licence wasn't desperately expensive, but we decided to just do without the music
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Old 10 April 2009, 15:14   #5
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I don't think this applies to radio? If I was in your situation I'd carry on until someone brought it up and they claim ignorance and blame poor information.
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Old 10 April 2009, 15:53   #6
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I don't think this applies to radio? If I was in your situation I'd carry on until someone brought it up and they claim ignorance and blame poor information.
My understanding was it did apply to radio if you are "publicly performing" it (which C2 would be). Also I believe that the PRS license if you come to them voluntarily is about 1/2 the rate they charge if they are actively pursuing a complaint against you.

My "gripe" with the PRS is they almost present themselves as being a government or regulatory body when in fact they are a private (not for profit) company that collects royalties for the artists. So what they are doing is threatening you with civil prosecution for breach of copyright. They present it as clear black and white that you need a license from them in all the circumstances they present but actually because it is cheaper to pay them than fight them there is little case law that tests what is breach of the standard license granted when you buy ordinary music, so there is no cast iron test for when something becomes "public performance" e.g. if it is for your own benefit and the public can overhear it? In C2's case - is it public performance if the client provides the music and only he and his own friends/family can hear it?

They also come across as a little bit threatening when they get in touch and didn't believe me that we don't have music in our office. They pointed out that I would be in "more trouble" if they came out to visit and found out we did have music. I pointed out that our offices are not open to the public and they would therefore have no access in any case. I believe they have no powers of entry - and as a civil matter the police won't help them gather evidence.

In C2's case it is very unlikely that anyone from the PRS would be able to gather evidence on board one of your charters (unless they were a client) so long as you don't play music in marinas or close to the shore - in which case you would deserve what you get for being antisocial anyway!
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Old 10 April 2009, 16:00   #7
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Polwart you have a great approach to this, I can do without civil arguements by the PRS. One area I am still unsure of is the radio used for listening to commentry of say a powerboat race which the clients are out on the water to see, but as usual music comes with it, Agree also that if I wake everyone up out enjoying a good day on the water or the shore I deserve the bashing. Still might make a call to PRS and leave my name off the conversation to see their angle
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Old 10 April 2009, 16:32   #8
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Still might make a call to PRS and leave my name off the conversation to see their angle
In my experience its a bit like calling HMRC - unless you give them your name and organisation they tell you bugger all! They'll probably argue that you do: http://www.prsformusic.com/playingbr...ges/FAQ.aspx#4
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Old 10 April 2009, 17:04   #9
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In my experience its a bit like calling HMRC - unless you give them your name and organisation they tell you bugger all! They'll probably argue that you do: http://www.prsformusic.com/playingbr...ges/FAQ.aspx#4
Reading that, it looks more like a wheelclampers website-not 100% legal but we'll act as though we're DVLA or TV licencing.If in doubt pay us some money and we'll stop hassling you and sendng semi-official letters that use a threatening tone.
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Old 10 April 2009, 17:19   #10
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Reading that, it looks more like a wheelclampers website-not 100% legal but we'll act as though we're DVLA or TV licencing.If in doubt pay us some money and we'll stop hassling you and sendng semi-official letters that use a threatening tone.
Not far off! And the "otherside" of the argument is similar too - don't park there and you don't get fined, and don't use music in your business and you won't have a problem - and so there is a body of people who "support the cause". Its more the way they do business that upsets people.

There is some case law I believe they built their argument on ,which dates back to days when nobody had personal radios etc, and whole factories were getting music "piped" in - so its still not clear what the courts would consider public performance. I think there is a case involving Kwik Fit going on at the moment.
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