Skip navigation links
Member resources
Help Centre
News and features

Disputes and counter claims 

What is a counter claim and how does it become a dispute?

A duplicate claim is when one or more members dispute the ownership of a piece of music. The information below shows the process by which the duplicate claim may become a dispute.

Counter claims

Upon receipt of a new claim which is in conflict with an existing claim, you will be advised that you need to provide supporting documentation within 60 days. If this is not provided we will be unable to take action.
If documentation is provided, the existing conflicting claim will be suspended. The existing claimant will be contacted in writing and asked to provide their supporting documentation. This must be received within 60 days of the date of the letter. Please note that duplicate claims that commenced before 28 June 2012 will be subject to a 90 day timeframe to provide supporting documentation.

For a definition of the supporting documents required depends on the nature of the dispute so please refer to Clause 6 of the Rules Governing Disputes and Duplicate Claims.


There are three possible outcomes:

  1. If the existing claimant fails to supply supporting documentation, we will amend the registration in favour of the new claimant.
  2. If the existing claimant does supply documentation the duplicate claim will be upgraded to a dispute.
  3. If all parties agree on the identity of the writers of a piece of music but dispute how much of the piece each party is responsible for (i.e. it is an 'Authorship Share' dispute), then no supporting documentation is required and the duplicate claim will be upgraded to a dispute. 


Disputes occur when both parties provide sufficient supporting documentation to support their claim. In this instance we will suspend any royalties of the disputed shares or work.
A duplicate claim can also be upgraded to a dispute:

  • If it is requested in writing by both claimants
  • If it is subject to legal proceedings

If you have a dispute it may be worth seeking further help. The MPA (Music Publisher Association) offers a comprehensive mediation service. For more information see the MPA Website.

Catalogue disputes

Duplicate claims or disputes concerning an entire catalogue of music will be dealt with in a similar way. The existing claimant is sent a letter giving them 21 days to just confirm if they maintain their claim. If they do maintain their claim then both parties (new and existing) are sent a letter giving them 60 days to provide their supporting documents. Please note that duplicate claims that commenced before 28 June 2012 will be subject to a 90 day timeframe to provide supporting documentation.

If the existing claimant fails to respond to the 21 day letter then the works would be updated in favour of the new claimant.

If a publisher makes a claim regarding an unpublished work their claim will be accepted unless the writer disputes it.

Track Your Claims Online

You can manage your dispute and duplicate claims online and can track the progress of your claim through to a resolution. This ensures the process is a smooth and straightforward one.

Log-in or register for Online Services

Works In Dispute

  • Licences will be granted under the terms of our standard licensing schemes.
  • If the prior approval for MCPS clearance is required for the disputed work, we will request permission from every MCPS member who is party to the dispute.
  • Any royalties collected will be held in a Dispute Account until resolution of the conflict. Details of royalties in the account can be supplied on request. 

Resolving Disputes

Disputes can be resolved if:

  • All parties inform us of a settlement.
  • We receive a copy of a Court Order stating the dispute has been resolved.

Once the conflict has been resolved all royalties held in suspense will be paid out.

Revised Dispute and Duplicate Claims Rules

Following consultation with members, we reviewed the rules governing disputes and duplicate claims. We found that, while the existing rules were largely fit for purpose, it was necessary to make the following changes to meet our new objectives:

  • Reduce the timeframe for providing supporting documentation from 90 days to 60 days to speed up the disputes process
  • Update the rules to make it clear that reversionary rights conflicts are covered
  • Edit the format and language to make the rules easier to understand

The above changes to the rules came into effect from 28 June 2012

For more information:

Duplicate Claims FAQ

2012 Rules Governing Duplicate Claims and Disputes 

2015 Rules Governing Duplicate Claims and Disputes 

NB. This summary is for guidance only and does not form part of the Rules themselves. Please refer to the Rules when determining whether a particular claim falls within their remit and to make sure you are familiar with the procedures that need to be followed.

PRS for Music will facilitate the resolution rather than become involved in the process.

This policy is only applicable when all claimants are members of either MCPS or PRS for Music or an affiliated society. Non-member claimants must issue private legal proceedings.

The rules of this policy are subject to orders of the court and independent arbitrators.

PRS for Music cannot and does not undertake to make any judgement as to whether a particular claim or claimant has a more legitimate case than the other. Once in dispute, royalties for the work (or disputed share) are placed in suspense.

Follow us on M Magazine Twitter Facebook Linked In YouTube
© PRS for Music