A NIGHTCLUB owner in Kidderminster has been banned from playing recorded music at his premises after being caught playing it without a licence.
London’s High Court imposed the ban on Michael Emery, who trades as Home Nightclub in Kidderminster’s Dixon Street.
Judge Mr Justice Mann was told at the court that Emery was playing recorded copyrighted music there when he did not have a licence from music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).
In addition to the ban he also ordered Emery, who was not in court and not represented, to pay £1,560 in legal costs by March 21.
The ban also extends to any other premises he runs until he brings his licence up to date. If he does not comply he could end up behind bars.
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 prison.
The judge was told that he was caught after a PPL inspector visited the premises on November 30 last year and heard music being played when no licence was in force. The inspector heard tracks including What Love Is Made Of by Katy B and Real by Gorgon City featuring Yasmin.
PPL’s counsel Fiona Clark said solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing Emery 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 constituted infringement of its copyright and inviting him to acquire a licence.
The ban applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL's repertoire. Depending on the size of a venue and the audiences involved music licences can cost little but they can also run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
PPL's Nazneen Nawaz 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. Tariffs vary but a licence, issued on an annual basis, can cost as little as 18p a day.
"This licence is required to play recorded music in any business context and covers millions of different recordings. After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all revenue collected is distributed to members. PPL does not retain a profit for its services. In 2012 PPL collected revenue of £170.8 million.
"With over 10,000 members who are record companies or other recorded music rights holders and 65,000 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.”