£20K penalty for Burnley nightclub owners who played music illegally

£20K penalty for Burnley nightclub owners who played music illegally

Owners of Burnley’s Vogue Nightclub have been hit for £20,000 after being arrested for playing music illegally.

Music licensing company PPL recently settled legal proceedings against the venue’s operators Jason and Rebecca McQuoid, who agreed to pay outstanding PPL licence fees of £7,893.98 and an additional £12,411 to cover PPL’s legal costs.

The settlement took place after the owners were arrested on May 23rd 2016 for failure to appear in court for Committal proceedings.

Christine Geissmar, operations director, PPL, said in a statement: “There is an intrinsic value that music adds to businesses, and this settlement acknowledges that the creators of the music should be fairly rewarded for this. PPL regards legal proceedings as very much a last resort but unfortunately they are sometimes necessary – failure to have the appropriate licence is a serious matter which may, if persistently left unresolved, lead to criminal sanctions being imposed by the courts. Those businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence will face legal action and possibly hefty financial and other consequences as a result.

“In this case, proceedings were brought in September 2014 after recorded music was played at both Vogue Nightclubs without a licence despite multiple efforts by PPL to work with the McQuoids to resolve this. The Court issued an injunction in PPL’s favour in November 2014, to prevent them playing PPL’s repertoire in public without a licence.

“We obtained evidence of copyright infringement and breach of the injunction to support a Committal application in January 2016 and Committal proceedings were started in March 2016. The defendants did not respond to PPL and also failed to attend the court hearing on the 10th May 2016, as a result a warrant for their arrest was issued by the court.

“After their arrest on 23rd May 2016 the defendants undertook they would not breach the injunction. They subsequently agreed to pay PPL their licence fees plus PPL’s legal costs. They also apologised for breaching the injunction made against them. Consequently, it was agreed that PPL would not pursue an application for the Committal of Jason and Rebecca McQuoid, having agreed the financial terms.”

PPL works on behalf of performers and record companies to license recorded music played in public. Licensees include bars, nightclubs, shops, hotels, offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and public sector organisations across country.

Whether playing music for staff or customers, the majority of businesses are usually legally required to hold a PPL licence. 

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