There is an intrinsic value that recorded music adds to businesses, and this judgement acknowledges that the performers of the music and record companies should be fairly rewarded.

Newport nightspot owner receives suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £20,000 for illegally playing music.

The owner of The Birdcage, a popular bar in Newport, South Wales, has been ordered by the High Court to pay music licensing company PPL £20,000 (£6,000 in damages and £14,000 in court costs), and faces a prison sentence of 28 days if the venue continues to play recorded music without a PPL licence.

Mr Justice Arnold imposed the order and suspended prison sentence after hearing that the defendant, Mr John Fletcher, owner of the South Wales nightspot, persistently failed to comply with the legal requirement for a PPL music licence after being repeatedly contacted and given ample opportunity to rectify the situation.

The order and warning from Mr Justice Arnold follows Mr Fletcher’s breach of an earlier injunction granted to PPL in late 2013. That original injunction was granted when it became clear that The Birdcage nightclub was using recorded music as one of the main attractions for its clientele without a PPL licence.

Christine Geissmar, Operations Director, PPL said: “There is an intrinsic value that recorded music adds to businesses, and this judgement acknowledges that the performers of the music and record companies should be fairly rewarded. This ruling demonstrates how seriously the courts treat copyright infringement and reiterates that music can only be played in public if the right licences are obtained. Businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence may face legal action and possibly hefty financial and other consequences as a result.

“PPL issues licences to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations across the UK when they play recorded music to their staff or customers. Licensees include bars, nightclubs, shops, hotels, offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and public sector organisations up and down the country. After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all licence fee income is distributed to PPL’s record company and performer members. PPL does not retain a profit for its services.”