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Statement regarding PRS vs B4U 

29 October 2013

The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal by the broadcaster B4U against the summary judgment awarded to PRS in October 2012.  This was part of an infringement claim brought by PRS against B4U in respect of their unlicensed satellite TV stations and internet activities operating from the UK.

The summary judgment application concerned one particular musical work which had been selected on the basis that the composers had joined PRS some time before the work in question had been commissioned by the film producers.  B4U argued that an alleged assignment of the broadcast right to the film producer under the commissioning agreement took precedence over the prior assignment to PRS.

The hearing for the appeal took place in July 2013 and the judgment was published 25 October 2013.

B4U tried to argue that the wording of the PRS membership documents was insufficient to pass future copyrights (i.e. copyright in works not yet written at the time of joining PRS) to PRS and that the commissioning agreement between the producers and the writers had the effect of passing the copyright to the producers, bypassing PRS completely.

PRS argued that the wording of the PRS membership documents was not faulty in this regard and that the assignment of future copyrights was effective and, having taken place before the commissioning agreement was entered into, it defeated any claim by B4U that the producers owned the copyright in the work.

The Court of Appeal agreed with PRS’s position and the High Court judgment from last October.  Consequently, they rejected the appeal.

B4U will pay 75% of PRS’ legal costs relating to the appeal.

About PRS for Music

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 125,000 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 nearly 15m 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 £621.5m in 2016, 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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