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Bahamas FAQs 

  1. What is copyright?
  2. What music does a PRS for Music licence cover?
  3. How long does copyright last?
  4. Is there any music which isn’t covered by a licence from PRS for Music?
  5. I wasn’t aware of the requirement for a licence.
  6. Is PRS for Music working on behalf of the Government?
  7. A PRS for Music licence wasn’t listed as a requirement on the Bahamas Government website so why does my business need a licence?
  8. Is everyone licensed or have you just approached me?
  9. Why am I charged at 1st year royalties and not standard?
  10. Why am I charged at the Higher Royalty Rate and not the Standard rate?
  11. But I only have a TV?
  12. I already pay the cable TV provider. Why do I also have to pay for a PRS for Music licence?
  13. Why do I need a licence if the radio station has already got one?
  14. I only listen to talk radio, why do I need a PRS for Music licence?
  15. What happens once I become a PRS for Music customer?
  16. What ways are there to pay for a licence?
  17. How can I tell you what music I’m using?
  18. What happens if I remove music from now on?
  19. I’ve paid to hire a band/singer. Why do I have to pay PRS for Music too?
  20. What if the event is for charity?
  21. Can I request to meet someone from PRS for Music face to face, rather than just contact you by phone or email?
  22. Is there anywhere else I can get more advice about music licensing requirements?
  23. Who is PRS for Music?
  24. How much will a Music Licence cost?
  25. Does PRS for Music have a local office in The Bahamas?
1. What is copyright?

Copyright protects original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (and other intellectual property). The Copyright Act 1998 (as amended) states that if you use copyright music in public (i.e. not for personal use), you must first obtain the permission of every writer or composer of the music you intend to play.

PRS for Music represents these copyright owners and so a music licence gives you the legal permission to play millions of songs controlled by us, saving you the time and money needed to gain permission from the music creators directly. A music licence from us is required regardless of whether you have bought any other type of licence.

2. What music does a PRS for Music licence cover?

PRS for Music licences cover the vast majority of music from around the world including The Bahamas. PRS for Music has a repertoire of over 10 million songs from every genre so if you’re using music it’s highly likely to be music within our repertoire.

When a music creator becomes a member of PRS for Music they give us exclusive permission to license the public performance of their works. A music licence grants you legal permission to use our music.

However, if you play music that is outside of PRS for Music’s control, you may need an additional licence from the copyright owner(s). You do not need a licence from PRS for Music in the unlikely event that all the music you play is out of copyright and not controlled by PRS for Music.

3. How long does copyright last?

In The Bahamas, copyright in musical works generally lasts for a period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies.

4. Is there any music which isn’t covered by a licence from PRS for Music?

A licence from PRS for Music covers the majority of copyright music being played, but there is some music which is not covered by your licence, or for which you do not require a licence from us. A licence from PRS for Music does not cover:

  • Music which is out of copyright. Copyright generally last for a period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies. Please note that music, where the original composition is out of copyright, may be performed in a copyright arrangement and, in this case, a licence may be required. Details about the arrangement are normally available on the musical score or with the music recording you have purchased.
  • Copyright music where the rights holders have not assigned or licensed the performing rights to PRS for Music or to one of our overseas affiliates whose rights we represent and control in The Bahamas. To use this music, you may need to get permission from the rights holder directly, or the rights holder may have given a licence to a music service provider.
  • ‘Copyright free’ music, where the music is in copyright but the rights holder does not require the user to obtain any additional licence. This is most common where copyright material is used for educational purposes.
  • Music which is specially written for dramatic performances, such as musicals, operas and ballets (also known as ‘grand right’ works). To use this music, you need to get permission from the rights holder directly, which is usually the music publisher.

If you believe you may be using music which does not require a licence from PRS for Music, you can call us for advice and information about the music which is covered by our licence. If you wish to use music which is advertised as not requiring a licence from PRS for Music, you should take reasonable steps to ensure that the music is correctly licensed.

Please note that some music which is not controlled by PRS for Music may become controlled by PRS for Music if the rights holder assigns their rights to us, or one of our affiliates, at a later date.

5. I wasn’t aware of the requirement for a licence.

As with any licensing requirement, it is the responsibility of the music user to understand and meet their legal obligations.

Within The Bahamas, everyone is required to comply with copyright law (as defined in the Copyright Act 1998 (as amended).

If music is used in your premises, it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct licences are in place so that you and/or any person working on your premises can perform copyright music in public lawfully.

6. Is PRS for Music working on behalf of the Government?

No. PRS for Music is a membership organisation representing the rights of 118,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. We ensure creators are paid whenever their music is played, performed or reproduced.

7. A PRS for Music licence wasn’t listed as a requirement on The Bahamas Government website so why does my business need a licence?

As set out in The Copyright Act 1998 (as amended) you require the permission of the copyright owner before you can play/perform their music in public. It is not part of the licences required from the Government when setting up a business.

We strive to ensure that businesses are aware of the need for our licence. We work with many trade associations and government departments in The Bahamas and are always looking to build on this to help ensure businesses understand their requirements.

8. Is everyone licensed or have you just approached me?

All business that play our members music in public require a PRS for Music licence. These are businesses such a bars, restaurants, hotels through to offices and factories. We will be looking to be in contact with everyone that requires a licence.

9. Why am I charged at 1st year royalties and not standard?

It is the music user’s responsibility to ensure they have the correct licences in place before using any copyright material. The higher royalty rate helps to cover our costs of identifying and contacting businesses and organisations using music without a licence.

10. Why am I charged at the Higher Royalty Rate and not the Standard rate?

Most of our tariffs have a higher royalty rate, which applies if the music user has not obtained a licence before starting to play music in their premises or at their event.

The higher royalty rate is the standard rate plus 50%, and applies to the first year of the licence only. The higher rate is not a statutory fine.

The higher royalty rate may be applied whenever the user has not applied for a licence in advance.

PRS for Music reserves all its rights, including the right to change its policy from time to time with regard to the application of the higher royalty rate.

11. But I only have a TV?

PRS for Music licenses the public performance of music that is included on TV such as theme tunes, adverts and music played within films and TV programmes. If you have a TV you are likely to need a PRS for Music licence.

12. I already pay the cable TV provider. Why do I also have to pay for a PRS for Music licence?

A PRS for Music Licence is an entirely separate legal requirement. Your subscription to your cable TV provider permits you to receive certain broadcast signals and therefore, programmes. It is not concerned with copyright material or public performance rights. You will need to pay for a Music Licence in addition to your cable TV subscription.

13. Why do I need a licence if the radio station has already got one?

The radio station are licensed to broadcast our music, however, this does not cover the ‘public performance’ of this music in businesses such as shops, cafes, bars, offices and workplaces. It is the responsibility of the business to obtain a separate licence.

14. I only listen to talk radio, why do I need a PRS for Music licence?

PRS for Music licenses the public performance of music that is included on talk radio such as theme tunes, adverts and music played underneath the speech.

15. What happens once I become a PRS for Music customer?

We stay in touch with you to ensure your licence continues to meet your needs. Depending on the way you use music, this may be on an annual, quarterly or per event basis.

16. What ways are there to pay for a licence?

Customers can pay their invoices by direct bank transfer or sending a cheque to our office address.

17. How can I tell you what music I’m using?

Our terms and conditions will let you know your obligations for reporting the music that you use. Reporting music use is key to enabling us to ensure the correct members get paid and as such we are always looking for ways to increase the amount and the accuracy of the reporting we receive.

18. What happens if I remove music from now on?

A music user, such as the proprietor of a business, requires a copyright licence covering the duration of copyright music use in their premises. Music users can choose to stop using copyright music on their premises and will not require a copyright licence once performances have ceased. However, they may be required to pay a licence fee to cover any copyright music use to that date.

19. I’ve paid to hire a band/singer. Why do I have to pay PRS for Music too?

You have paid the band/singer to perform in your business, not for the royalties associated with the performance. The band/singer maybe a member of ours or is very likely performing music belonging to one or more of our members.

20. What if the event is for charity?

We have a discount scheme for charity and community events. This allows organisers to apply for a discount which depends on the event meeting certain criteria. Please contact us at bahamas@prsformusic.com for more information.

21. Can I request to meet someone from PRS for Music face to face, rather than just contact you by phone or email?

We have PRS for Music representatives based in The Bahamas if you would like a personal visit please contact us and we’ll make the arrangements for you.

22. Is there anywhere else I can get more advice about my music licensing requirements?

Lawyers in The Bahamas will be able to advise you on your music licensing requirements. You may also wish to consult the website of the relevant Government department.

23. Who is PRS for Music?

PRS for Music is the trading name of the Performing Right Society Ltd. The membership organisation was set up in 1914 by songwriters, composers and music publishers to collect licence fees from music users. PRS for Music then distributes these as royalties to its membership in the UK and around the world.

Under the Copyright Act 1998 (as amended) if you play (perform) copyright music in public (i.e. outside of your home or domestic life), you must first obtain permission from the owner of the copyright in every piece of music that you intend to play. Potentially, this means you would have to contact thousands of songwriters, composers and publishers worldwide to obtain their agreement to play their songs.

Organisations like PRS for Music exist in many different countries. PRS for Music has reciprocal agreements with many of these societies, allowing it to license music use in the UK and the other territories it serves, including The Bahamas.

A Music Licence from PRS for Music permits you to play over 10 million pieces of music, from the UK and around the world.

24. How much will a Music Licence cost?

The cost of a Music Licence can depend on various factors such as venue capacity, number of staff and floor space. Our Bahamas tariff covers everything from music in bars and restaurants to music in shops and offices.

Please see the Bahamas tariff, or for a more detailed quote, please call us on +1 242 321 1854 or email us at bahamas@prsformusic.com.

25. Does PRS for Music have a local office in The Bahamas?

Yes we do, you can contact our representative Annabel Cole at the following address:

Sound Advice Ltd
P O Box N121
Nassau NP
Bahamas
Tel: +1 242 324 1854
Email: bahamas@prsformusic.com


 
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