Bar owner’s anger at court’s music ban

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Music is set to become a missing ingredient at Blackpool’s Kraze Bar, after the High Court imposed a ban on playing songs on the premises and hit the owners with a legal bill of more than £1,800.

Mr Justice Henderson, sitting at London’s High Court, was told David Moseley and Ashley Sayers were discovered playing recorded copyrighted music at the bar, in Queen Street, when they did not have a licence from music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).

In addition to the ban, he also ordered the pair, who were not in court and not represented, to pay £1,803 in legal costs by March 25.

The ban also extends to any other premises they run until they bring their licence up to date.

Failure to obey the order, and turn any premises they run 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 the pair were caught after a PPL inspector visited the premises on September 6 last year and heard music being played when no licence.

The inspector heard tracks including Thinking About You by Calvin Harris, Running by Jessie Ware, and I Need Your Love by Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding.

PPL’s counsel Ben Longstaff said solicitors had sent letters to the premises, informing them of PPL’s repertoire, and the fact that the playing in public of recordings without PPL’s licence is infringement of its copyright, and inviting them to get 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 very little, but they can also run into hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.

But the bar’s managers today said they were unaware of the hearing, and the first they knew of the ruling was when The Gazette contacted them.

Miss Sayers said they had been in talks with PPL over getting a licence, but were originally sent a bill in the wrong name. She claimed Mr Moseley is the landlord and should never have been named.

She said: “The amount wasn’t right. They were billing us from before we moved into the building.

“As far as we were aware, we were waiting for a new bill to come in our name, and there would be no problem in paying it.”

She said the company would be getting in touch with the court to query the outcome.

A PPL spokesman said: “We can confirm that PPL was granted an Injunction against Kraze Bar Ltd by the High Court, which prohibits the playing of music at the premises.

“Following the granting of this injunction, the managers of the business are currently in negotiations with our solicitors to resolve the situation.

“It is usually a legal requirement for any business that plays recorded music in public, as part of what is known as a ‘public performance’ to have a PPL licence.

“This includes playing the radio. “