What is an infringement claim?

An infringement claim is where one person alleges that another has infringed the copyright in their music.

Infringement rules

PRS for Music remains impartial during copyright infringement disputes. The actions we will take during a dispute are detailed in our infringement rules.

We will suspend distributions of royalties owed to an alleged infringing work after we receive sufficient information to support the claim. Distributions will be suspended until a resolution is found.

The infringement rules took effect from 28 June 2012, and apply to transitional arrangements for claims being dealt with by PRS for Music before that date. They are subject to orders of the court and independent arbitrators.

Making an infringement claim

Members are encouraged to resolve matters themselves, rather than make a claim or take legal action. If you need to make an infringement claim, please follow this process:

  • Make the person/publisher you believe has infringed copyright aware of the infringement
  • Obtain a report from an independent musicologist stating there is enough of a similarity between the pieces of music to support legal action – the MPA has details of UK-based musicologists for its members
  • Read and ensure you understand our infringement rules
  • Write to PRS for Music with the information below, if you have not resolved matters 

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.

Information required in an infringement claim

  • Independent musicologist’s report, supporting the claim
  • Name of the infringing piece of music
  • Identity of the alleged infringer
  • Name of the work that is being infringed
  • The nature of the infringement (score, lyrics or both)
  • The amount of the disputed share
  • Dates when the infringement took place

Much of this information can be found in the publisher’s Notice of Infringement.

Actions PRS for Music will take when an infringement claim is received

Upon submission of the infringement claim with the supporting musicologist report, we will:

  1. Suspend distributions of the disputed share for that piece of music
  2. Send copies of all documents to the alleged infringer (except for the musicologist’s report)
  3. Notify the alleged infringer that the royalties are in suspense, along with the date this occurred and the disputed share

Royalties will be suspended until the parties or the courts agree a resolution.

During the dispute – works are held in suspense

  • We will continue to licence the piece of music and collect royalties
  • If the express consent of the member is required for the disputed work, we will request permission from every 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 infringement disputes

A share can come out of 'suspense' if either of the following takes place:

  • Both parties notify PRS for Music that the dispute has been resolved and confirm who should receive the disputed share
  • PRS for Music receives a UK Court Order detailing resolution of the dispute

Royalties will be paid in accordance with the outcome of the dispute, once a work has come out of suspense.

It is the responsibility of the parties involved in the dispute to account for any royalties paid out before the date on which distributions were suspended.

Please read the infringement rules for full details – the information on this page is for guidance only and does not form part of the rules.