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.