PRS Threatens Woman For Playing Radio To Her Horses Without Paying A Licensing Fee
from the this-is-called-extortion dept
When I was in the UK recently, I was surprised to hear just how much most folks hate PRS — the collections society in charge of getting various businesses to pay for playing music. PRS is also the group that has caused music videos to be pulled from YouTube after demanding much more money than was economically feasible. But, where PRS really shines is in threatening tons of small businesses. Over the years, we’ve had stories on PRS threatening car repair shops, because mechanics in the garage were playing their radios loud enough that customers in the waiting room could hear them. That’s a public performance, according to PRS. Then they went after a police station because some cops were listening to radios. Then they went after a children’s charity for singing Christmas carols without paying up. The group has even been known to call up small businesses and if they hear music in the background, demand payment, including one case involving a guy working at home with his dog. Apparently, that constitutes a “public performance.”
The latest (sent in by a few folks) is that PRS has now threatened a woman who plays classical music to her horses in her stable to keep them calm. She had been turning on the local classical music station, saying that it helped keep the horse calm — but PRS is demanding £99 if she wants to keep providing such a “public performance.” And it’s not just a one-off. Apparently a bunch of stables have been receiving such calls.
Obviously, this is not a case of random excessive attempts by PRS to squeeze more money out of people. It’s become systematic. The group seems to believe that playing music in almost any situation now constitutes a public performance and requires a licensing fee. You just know they’re salivating over the opportunity to go after people playing music in their cars with the windows down.