Music has been banned by order of the High Court at a Chester cocktail bar which has been landed with a hefty legal bill.
The bosses of Zanzi-Bar at 66 Watergate Street faced the legal music at the court in London, after music police caught them playing music without a licence.
In a case which serves as a warning to the bosses of all premises in the region where music is played and the public are present one of the country’s top judges, Mrs Justice Rose, imposed the ban on licence holder Saidy Mwisongo and occupier and proprietor Songo Services Ltd.
The court was told they were caught playing recorded copyrighted tracks at the bar without a licence from Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL). The judge also ordered them to pay PPL’s legal costs of £1,832, by November 4.
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 for individuals responsible.
The pay-up or shut-up order was imposed after the judge was told that a PPL inspector heard music being played on the premises, when they did not hold a PPL licence. The inspector heard tracks including Get Ugly by Jason Derulo, Come Down by WSTRN and Up Down (Do This All Day) by T Pain featuring BOB on April 23.
Lawyers for PPL told the judge that solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing them of the nature and extent of PPL’s repertoire and the fact that 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.
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.
“Businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence may face legal action and financial and other consequences as a result. Legal action is only ever sought as a last resort where a business continues to play music following repeated attempts from PPL to get the correct licensing in place.
“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. The majority are small businesses, all of whom are legally entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances. PPL does not retain a profit for its services.”