Club owners pay out £20,000 after playing music illegally

nightclub stock picture

The owners of a Lancashire nightclub have paid over £20,000 after being caught playing music illegally.

Music licensing company PPL settled legal proceedings against Jason and Rebecca McQuoid, the operators of Vogue in Burnley and, before it closed, Vogue in Leigh.

This followed the operators agreeing to pay outstanding PPL licence fees of £7,893.98 and an additional £12,411 to cover PPL’s legal costs.

The settlement took place after the owners were arrested in May for failure to appear in court for committal proceedings.

Christine Geissmar, operations director of PPL, said: “There is an intrinsic value that music adds to businesses, and this settlement acknowledges that the creators of the music should be fairly rewarded for this.

“PPL regards legal proceedings as very much a last resort but unfortunately they are sometimes necessary – failure to have the appropriate licence is a serious matter which may, if persistently left unresolved, lead to criminal sanctions being imposed by the courts.

“Those businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence will face legal action and possibly hefty financial and other consequences as a result.”

Proceedings were brought against the McQuoids in September 2014 after recorded music was played at both Vogue nightclubs without a licence despite multiple efforts by PPL to work with the McQuoids to resolve this.

The court issued an injunction in PPL’s favour in November 2014 to prevent them playing PPL’s repertoire in public without a licence.

PPL obtained evidence of copyright infringement and breach of the injunction to support a committal application in January this year, and committal proceedings were started in March.

The defendants did not respond to PPL and also failed to attend the court hearing on May 10. Because of this, a warrant for their arrest was issued by the court.

After their arrest on May 23, the defendants undertook they would not breach the injunction. They subsequently agreed to pay PPL their licence fees plus PPL’s legal costs. They also apologised for breaching the injunction made against them.

Consequently, it was agreed that PPL would not pursue an application for the committal of Jason and Rebecca McQuoid, having agreed the financial terms.

PPL is the music licensing company which works on behalf of performers and record companies to license recorded music played in public. Licensees include bars, nightclubs, shops, hotels, offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and public sector organisations up and down the country.

Whether playing music for staff or customers, the majority of businesses are usually legally required to hold a PPL licence. If PPL did not exist, a business playing recorded music at its premises would be required to contact potentially thousands of record companies to individually obtain their permission before being able to play recorded music lawfully.

After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all licence fee income is distributed to PPL’s performer and record company members. PPL does not retain a profit for its services.

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