IP, Technology & Data

Last week the government announced changes to the exemptions allowing charities to play music in the workplace without paying royalites.This serves as a useful reminder that if you play music in your place of work, whether it is by way of CDs behind a bar, or because the radio is on in the garage, or because the aerobics class uses dodgy disco re-mix of AC/DC (yes this happened to me during Body Pump one day) then technically you are infringing intellectual property rights. The IPRs in question are both copyright in the composition, and a fairly strange right called “performance right” which protects musicians and recordings.

These rights are enforced by the Performing Rights Society (PRS) for the composition, and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) for the recording. These organisations will sell you a licence to allow you to use the music, and then distribute the licence fees to the composers and performers (there is a reference in the Beautiful South’s uber-cynical “Song for Whoever” about loving a “PRS cheque”).

Of course if PRS/PPL they catch you using music without a licence then not only will they insist that you buy a licence for future use, but they will also ping you for past use. So for example a couple of years ago PRS dragged Kwik Fit throught the Courts in relation to music played on radios brought in by the mechanics (as opposed to “a company radio”).

Just something to bear in mind!

IP and Technology