THE proprietors of a Wrexham cafe bar faced the legal music at London’s High Court where one of the country’s top judges imposed the sounds of silence on them.
Mr Justice Nugee banned Matthew Arnold and Amy Duckett, trading as the Yales Cafe Bar at 15-17 Hill Street, Wrexham, from playing any more recorded copyrighted music at the premises after hearing they were caught playing music there without a suitable licence.
In addition to the ban, which extends to any premises they run, they were hit with a legal costs bill of £1,789, which must be paid within 14 days.
Failure to obey the order and turn any premises they run into a music-free zone until all licence fees are brought up to date would be regarded as contempt of court, the penalties for which can be fines of up to £10,000 and up to six months prison.
The ‘pay-up or shut-up’ order was imposed after the judge heard they were caught by a Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) inspector playing music on the premises, when they did not hold a PPL licence.
Charlotte Scott, counsel for PPL, said a PPL inspector had attended the premises on November 16 last year and heard recorded tracks being played including Get Lucky by Daft Punk ft Pharrell Williams, Eat Sleep Rave Repeat by Fatboy Slim and Laura Palmer, by British band Bastille.
She said solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing them of the nature and extent of PPL’s repertoire and the fact the playing in public of sound recordings without PPL’s licence or permission constitutes infringement of its copyright, and inviting them to acquire a licence.
The ban applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL’s repertoire.
Music licences can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the venue and the audiences involved.
PPL spokesperson Nazneen Nawaz said: “PPL is the UK-based music licensing company which licenses recorded music for broadcast, online and public performance use.
PPL licenses are issued to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations from all sectors across the UK who play recorded music to their staff or customers and who therefore require a licence by law.
“This licence is required to play recorded music in any business context and covers millions of different recordings.”