UK music industry wins High Court copyright case against Government
The High Court today ruled against the UK Government in a Judicial Review case brought by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), the Musicians’ Union (MU) and UK Music.
These three bodies challenged Government’s decision to introduce a private copying exception into UK copyright law, arguing that it was unlawful because it failed to provide fair compensation to rightholders.
BASCA, MU and UK Music had welcomed a change to UK law which enabled consumers to copy their legally-acquired music for personal and private use. However, ahead of the introduction of the private copying exception, they consistently alerted Government to the fact that in such circumstances significant harm is caused to rightholders and European law requires fair compensation to be paid. The High Court agreed with the music industry and found that Government’s decision not to provide fair compensation was based on wholly inadequate evidence – and that Government’s decision was therefore unlawful.
The High Court’s ruling means that Government will now have to reconsider its position. BASCA, MU and UK Music remain open to meaningful talks to resolve this issue.
The High Court agreed with us that Government acted unlawfully. It is vitally important that fairness for songwriters, composers and performers is written into the law. My members’ music defines this country. It is only right that Government gives us the standard of legislation our music deserves. We want to work with Government so this can be achieved.
The British music industry is worth £3.8bn GVA and generates £3.1bn in tourist spend. Changes to copyright law that affect such a vital part of the creative economy, which supports one in twelve jobs, must only be introduced if there is a robust evidential basis for doing so.
Notes and background
The UK Government introduced measures in October 2014 to change the law to enable people to copy copyright material they have lawfully acquired for their own private and personal use, under the ‘Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014’.
The EU Copyright Directive permits Member States such as the UK to introduce such exceptions into domestic law, but on the condition that rightholders receive fair compensation where more than minimal harm is suffered.
For further information contact:
Richard Elsen, Byfield Consultancy
Tel: +44 207 092 3990
Mob: +44 7886 757 307
James Murtagh-Hopkins, Director of Communications UK Music
Tel: +44 203 713 8452
Mob: +44 7834 335 525
About UK Music
UK Music is the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry - from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers, music licensing organisations and the live music industry. The members of UK Music are: AIM, BASCA, BPI, FAC, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for Music and the Live Music Group.
About PRS for Music
PRS for Music represents the rights of over 155,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the UK and around the world. On behalf of its members, it works to grow and protect the value of their rights and ensure that creators are paid transparently and efficiently whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. In 2020, 22.4 trillion performances of music were reported to PRS for Music, with £699m paid out in royalties to its members, making it one of the world’s leading music collective management organisations.
PRS for Music’s public performance licensing is now carried out on PRS for Music’s behalf by PPL PRS Ltd, the joint venture between PPL and PRS for Music.