High Court bans bar from playing music

A TROUBLED Weston bar was this week banned from playing music and landed with a hefty legal bill after playing copyrighted tunes without a licence.

Two weeks ago, the Mercury reported how Bar VII, in Beach Road, had gone into voluntary insolvency after running up debts of more than �1.2million.

Owners Nicholas and Vassos Sangolis said they had reached an agreement with creditors which would see debts paid off in instalments and the club continue to run as normal.

But VII suffered a fresh blow this week, when a High Court judged banned it from playing any recorded music after it breached Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) rules.

Failure to obey the ruling by making the club a music-free zone – or to pay the �1,584 legal costs from Friday’s hearing – would be considered contempt of court. This could land VII’s owners with a fine of up to �10,000 or two years in prison.

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Judge Mr Justice Henderson made the order after hearing VII was caught playing tunes including Men In Black and Superstar without the required licence.

Some 97 per cent of all recorded music is subject to PPL licensing, and the body’s spokesman, Jonathan Morrish, said it is a legal requirement for any business playing recording music to have the necessary approval. He said: “Tariffs will vary but a PPL licence, which is issued on an annual basis, can cost as little as 14 pence per day.

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“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.”

The ban will be lifted once the club brings its PPL licence up-to-date.

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