Bees Knees boss stung after playing music without a licence

Bees Knees. (s)
Bees Knees. (s)

The proprietors of a Burnley pub have paid a high price for playing recorded tracks there without a licence.

Although London’s High Court heard that John Ashley had brought his licences for Bees Knees up to date, one of the country’s top judges, Mr Justice Norris, still stung him with a £1,982 legal costs bill to cover fees run up by music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance Ltd.

Businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence may face legal action and financial and other consequences as a result.

Christine Geissmar, PPL operations director

The Hammerton Street bar has since shut down and is due to be auctioned off this week through John Pye Auctions with a guide price of £105,000.

The judge was told that Ashley was caught after a PPL inspector visited the premises and heard music being played when no licence was in force. The inspector heard tracks including “Ayo”, “Cheerlander” and “Nobody To Love” on May 16th. The costs must be paid by December 3rd.

Bees Knees opened in 2011, after what was Calamity Jane’s bar closed down.

Christine Geissmar, PPL operations director, 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.”

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