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CMA decides to release PRS undertakings 

24 May 2016

The CMA has decided to release undertakings given by the Performing Right Society (PRS) which date back to 1997.

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PRS statement

Debbie Stones, PRS General Counsel said:

“We are pleased to report that the CMA has decided to release the PRS undertakings following their provisional decision published in March. PRS is committed to meeting the high standard of governance, financial management, transparency and reporting under the new legislative framework established by the Collective Rights Management Directive”

CMA Press Release

CMA decides to release PRS undertakings

The CMA has decided to release undertakings given by the Performing Right Society (PRS) which date back to 1997.

This follows the provisional decision which was published in March.

The PRS is one of the two main collecting societies for music in the UK. It licenses musical works and administers the royalties when such works are played in public or broadcast, for example on the radio or television.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced in November 2015 that it would carry out a review of the undertakings which followed a 1996 Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) investigation. In 1997 the PRS gave undertakings allowing its members to administer their own live performing rights, as well as making other commitments over its corporate governance and the provision of information to the Office of Fair Trading (now the CMA).

The current review has been considering whether there has been a change of circumstance such that the undertakings are no longer appropriate and should be varied, released or retained. The review has not been examining performing rights in general or any wider issues.

After carefully considering responses to the provisional decision, the group of independent CMA panel members carrying out the review has decided that the EU Collective Rights Management Directive (the Directive), and the corresponding UK Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016 (the Regulations) will be effective in addressing the areas covered by the undertakings. The group has therefore decided that the undertakings are no longer required.

The UK Regulations came into force on 10 April 2016 having been laid in Parliament on 25 February 2016. The Regulations introduce a number of requirements that collective management organisations, such as the PRS, must meet – as well as various protections for their members. The requirements are intended to ‘ensure a high standard of governance, financial management, transparency and reporting.’ 2

The final decision and other information relating to the review can be found on the PRS case page.

[Ends]

Notes for Editors

1. The CMA is the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority. It is an independent non-ministerial government department with responsibility for carrying out investigations into mergers, markets and the regulated industries and enforcing competition and consumer law. From 1 April 2014 it took over the functions of the Competition Commission (CC) and the competition and certain consumer functions of the Office of Fair Trading.

2. The CMA has a statutory duty under the Fair Trading Act 1973 and the Enterprise Act 2002 to keep under review undertakings and orders. From time to time, the CMA must consider whether, by reason of any change of circumstances: undertakings are no longer appropriate and need to be varied, superseded or released; or an order is no longer appropriate and needs to be varied or revoked.

3. The CMA group reviewing the PRS undertakings comprised Simon Polito (Chair), Anne Lambert and Philip Marsden.

4. For information on the CMA see our homepage, or follow us on Twitter @CMAgovuk, Flickr and LinkedIn. Sign up to our email alerts to receive updates on markets cases.

5. Enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor on 0203 738 6798.

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 118,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK. As a membership organisation it ensures creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced, championing the importance of copyright to protect and support the UK music industry. The UK has a proud tradition of creating wonderful music that is enjoyed the world over and PRS for Music has been supporting the creators of that music since 1914.

PRS for Music provides business and community groups with easy access to over 10m songs through its music licences. In an industry worth over £4.1bn PRS for Music is uniquely placed to be a voice for music and music creators. Collecting £537.4m in 2015, PRS for Music is one of the world’s most efficient combined rights organisations. With over 100 representation agreements in place globally, PRS for Music's network represents over two million music creators.

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