Once can’t help but to wonder what’s going through the minds of those on the Board over at the Performing Rights Society (PRS) in the United Kingdom. For the past few years, the group has been going after anyone playing music, stating that if it is heard by a group of people, it amounts to a performance, and the artist is due royalties.
The PRS’ favorite targets are businesses that play radios or CDs. The know on their door with legal papers and state that since they are playing music that is loud enough to be heard by other people, they are putting on a performance, and thus must pay royalties to the copyright holders.
I can’t believe no one has stood up to these thugs and taken them to court, as the claim is preposterous. If I purchase a CD and play it in my home or office, I’ve already paid my royalties. It isn’t a performance, because no person is creating the music. However, most stores cave under the threat of litigation and pull the plug on their radios, leaving their stores silent.
That’s exactly what happened to the A&T Food store. When the store went silent, 56 year old Sandra Burt started singing as she performed her daily duties stocking shelves. The RPS got wind of the situation and quickly descended on her, stating that she either needed to stop singing or obtain a performer’s license.
What a crock of shit.
Someone needs to take the PRS down a notch or two. They are getting ridiculous about things.
Sure, if someone holds a concert and doesn’t pay royalties for songs they use, they deserve to get hit with fines and other fees. If someone holds a concert and is a professional (or acting as one), some licenses should be obtained. But anyone who wants to play their radio or hum a tune, should be left well enough alone. That is not what the RPS or any other agency was designed to do. They exist to protect the artists’ rights from people who are trying to steal and act maliciously.
Sandra Burt has since received an apology from the PRS, but she shouldn’t have ever needed to get one.