Town centre store played tracks without a licence

A WIGAN shop-owner has been banned from playing music after a High Court ruling.

Munier Akhdir, who owns menswear retailer Messi, in Makinson Arcade, Wigan, was caught playing copyrighted tracks on his premises without a music licence.

Mr Justice Morgan has now ordered him not to play any more tunes to customers until he brings his music licence up to date.

Akhdir, who was not present or represented in court, could now be fined up to £10,000 or face a six month jail sentence if he disobeys the order.

As a result of the proceedings, he can also expect a legal bill for £1,600, which must be paid by April 25.

An inspector from music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) attended the shop in November last year and heard tracks being played even though no licence was in force.

Solicitors had sent letters warning Akhdir that playing sound recordings in public without PPL’s licence or permission constituted infringement of its copyright. He was also invited to acquire a licence.

Music licences can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the venue and the audiences involved.

The ban now applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs, covering 97 per cent of all music.

LLP spokesman Jonathan Morrish said: “It is a legal requirement in the UK for any business that plays recorded music in public to have a PPL licence.

“Tariffs will vary but a PPL licence, which is issued on an annual basis, can cost as little as 14 pence per day. It is widely recognised that there are significant potential benefits to any business from the use of music in public.”

“This licence is required to play recorded music in any business context and covers millions of different recordings.

“PPL distributes the licence fees it collects to its members, comprising 42,000 performers and 5,000 record companies whose rights PPL represents.

“PPL takes infringement of its members’ copyright very seriously and we will take the necessary action to protect our members’ rights.

“PPL is separate from PRS for Music, which collects a licence fee on behalf of composers and music publishers. A PRS for Music licence covers the use of the music and lyrics and is also a legal requirement when music is played in public.”