- June 26, 2017
- Posted by: Josiah Hincks Solicitors
- Category: Business Law Updates
Owners of bars, restaurants and clubs are required to obtain copyright licences from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) before they can play recorded music to punters and a failure to do so can have extremely serious consequences. The point was underlined when the proprietors of two such venues were hit with High Court injunctions and swingeing legal costs.
PPL had launched proceedings against the owners of a restaurant and a cocktail bar after discovering that music created by its artist members was being played in public without licences. Faced with legal action, the owners had paid licence fees for a time but had continued with their infringing activities after those payments ceased.
The cases raised an important issue for PPL in that licence fees that were due at the time the proceedings were issued had been paid in full. The question therefore arose as to whether injunctions could be issued in respect of subsequent and future breaches.
In granting the orders, the Court noted that such injunctions look to the future as well as the past. The owners’ acts of infringement were continuing, and the fact that they had breached copyrights in the past was sufficient evidence that they threatened or intended to do so in the future. In taking a pragmatic approach, the Court found that to require PPL to issue fresh proceedings against the owners would be to elevate form over substance.