PRS To Increase Members' Fees To Fund Legal Expedition Against TV Station

from the for-the-artists dept

It's been a while since we last checked in on PRS, a collection group in the UK that generally goes around acting as a kind of collection of prosthetic assbags for the musical artists it purports to represent. Actions like demanding money from a grocery store employee who happened to sing a song at work, demanding money from a woman who played some music for her horses, and demanding payment from small businesses it calls up on the off chance it might hear some music being played far off in the background are all taken under the theory that PRS has the best interests of the musical artists at heart. The problem with this theory is two-fold. First, it appears that, for a collection society, PRS is very terrible at collecting money, seeing as it has come to light that it doesn't have enough money for a copyright tribunal hearing over licensing with a television station. Second, in order to support that legal effort, PRS has decided to do what it always decides to do: slurp just a little bit more money away from the artists it represents.

When rights owners choose to licence as one through a collecting society, all deal making is subject to extra rules and regulations in order to satisfy competition law. If the society and a licensee cannot reach an agreement, the matter can be taken to a special court, which in the UK is called copyright tribunal. Which is what ITV is now doing having failed to agree a new deal with PRS covering broadcasts from the start of this year.

In the letter to its members, posted by the Music Law Updates website, the PRS executive board says that: “We feel it is vital that we fully participate and vigorously defend this referral to secure a fair return for the use of our members’ work. Copyright tribunals are costly but it’s important to protect and champion your work and ensure you are fairly remunerated whenever it is used."
And, with that supposed goal in mind, PRS announces that it will increase admin fees by 1 percent on all revenue it generates from music on television. Not just artists whose music is played on ITV, but all music on television. For those of you keeping score at home, that means a collection society that bills itself as a protector of artists' rights has unilaterally announced an increase in its fees because it actually has to do that job, and it's collecting those increased fees from members who do not stand to directly benefit from this legal action. That, my friends, is quite an operation they have going over there at PRS.
“The Executive Board has approved a proposal for a one percent increase in our TV admin rates for a period of one year, this being the fairest way of covering the expected costs in defending this referral. While the tribunal will only rule on the ITV licence, it is an important decision for all members whose music is played on TV, meaning we are sharing the cost across all our TV revenues”.
Yes, we're taking more money from you artists who will not be affected by this legal action over this license with this television station because it's extremely important to you, because we said it is. And, keep in mind, we alone have your best interests at heart, which is why we're taking more of your money.

It's always been this way. Collection societies serve as skimming operations, gently whisking away some percentage of revenue from artists under the guise of good intentions. But what else could you expect? Given how PRS treats the general public, why would artists expect to be treated any better?


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Aug 2015 @ 11:07pm

    You'd think that for all the money artists aren't making, they wouldn't have enough afford all the extortionists, thugs and litigants to enforce copyright.

    Piracy is doing a horrible job of killing the music industry. It's like dropping a leech onto a rock and expecting it to suck blood.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Morgan Wick (profile), 19 Aug 2015 @ 11:18pm

    Why do I suspect artists don't actually collect much money from these people. Record labels on the other hand...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 19 Aug 2015 @ 11:33pm

    Protection money racket

    And they say that crime doesn't pay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 12:53am

    Between the PRS and GCHQ, I wonder why I have any pride in my fucking country. (-_Q)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 2:51am

      Re:

      I wonder why I have any pride in my fucking country.

      So do I - but then I look at some of the other countries in the world....

      Similarly with the PRS - it looks bad - until you compare it to ASCAP or GEMA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 7:21pm

        Re: Re:

        Maybe, but that doesn't make what PRS is currently doing less bad. They should just take the cost of the tribunal out of the funds set aside for administrative purposes, or if they really don't have enough, take it out of the CEO's bonus or ask the share holders to swallow the cost.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dickon Hood (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 1:32am

    They're extortionists

    ...and I mean that literally.

    I'm a contractor, and like a lot of contractors, I contract via a limited company. Over the years, I've received several letters from the PRS demanding that I either purchase a licence from them, or telephone a premium-rate telephone number to explain to them why I don't need one, on pain of them doing a spot check and potentially court action as a result. Those premium-rate numbers typically pay a percentage of the call fee to the callee, and as a result their actions are very clearly simply demanding money with menaces.

    Needless to say, I haven't bothered. I don't deal with extortionists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    andy, 20 Aug 2015 @ 3:53am

    Where to put the blame.

    The government could very easily pass a law that ensures every copyright holder has to register their details to a central database so that anyone can contact the creator and pay them for use of their music, I will never do business with a collection agency and if the government had to do this the distribution of profit would be much easier to do and more fair for the content creators.

    It is crazy that content creators have to pay someone to collect their fees and not pay them an insignificant amount either, the collection agencies make more off content than the creators in every instance.

    I would like to register 1 000 songs i have sung and get the copyright dues to that content, damn i could very easily put all that content up on youtube then demand the collection agencies pay me for every possible play around the world, i could make millions from this if i wanted and i really cant sing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:33am

      Re: Where to put the blame.

      "The government could very easily pass a law "

      Why not enforce the existing laws?
      Certainly there are laws addressing fraud, extortion, anti-trust, etc - you get the idea. Perhaps their equivalent to an attorney general could start actually doing their job ... oh yeah, they are paid to look the other way while business does whatever they damn well please.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:41am

        Re: Re: Where to put the blame.

        What existing law is not being enforced that would address the problem of not having a registration requirement?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:39am

      Re: Where to put the blame.

      "The government could very easily pass a law that ensures every copyright holder has to register their details to a central database so that anyone can contact the creator and pay them for use of their music"

      This used to be the law. The government doesn't have to make a new one, it just has to get rid of the awful one that eliminated this requirement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re: Where to put the blame.

        I'm sorry, which government are you talking about? The UK hasn't had a copyright registration requirement since at least 1912 (possibly earlier), so there's no one alive who remembers when the requirement existed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 7:03am

    Song I just wrote:
    We are poor, (playing poor)
    So we're going to charge you more
    With an evil laugh and a mad rush to the bank
    This is how we create wank


    Good song to use in an advert for a certain 'service', no?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 7:36am

    ftfy

    Collection societies serve as skimming operations, gently whisking away some percentage of revenue from society under the guise of good intentions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Blue Sweater (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 8:49am

    Went looking for past stories about PRS, found a story from 2010 with 615 comments

    Sorry, its off topic but I often follow the links to past stories to try to get a historical look at the company under discussion. I eventually found the story below.
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100706/10570810083.shtml

    I haven't made it through all of the comments yet but it looks like it may have been one of the most frustrating threads I've ever seen DH involved in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:29am

      Re: Went looking for past stories about PRS, found a story from 2010 with 615 comments

      Huh, I'd completely forgotten about that whole episode....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: Went looking for past stories about PRS, found a story from 2010 with 615 comments

        Clearly it was your mind protecting itself by blacking out such a traumatic experience.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Aug 2015 @ 11:36pm

      Re: Went looking for past stories about PRS, found a story from 2010 with 615 comments

      Oh boy, I remember that - a muleheaded nincompoop who kept insisting on UK law being the law and if you didn't like it, either leave the country or break the law and expose yourself to the consequences and insignificant change.

      If not for the difference in writing style (or crazy) I'd've pegged him as out_of_the_blue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 21 Aug 2015 @ 8:03am

      Re: Went looking for past stories about PRS, found a story from 2010 with 615 comments

      Wow, that was painful. I don't think I have ever seen a more blatant example of the 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his paycheck demands he not' idea before.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 22 Oct 2015 @ 7:14am

      Re: Went looking for past stories about PRS, found a story from 2010 with 615 comments

      The really weird thing is that there's a comment near the end of that page (in threaded mode) which at least appears to be by out_of_the_blue, but which - as far as I could see at a glance - says something entirely reasonable about copyright.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Punchdrunk, 20 Aug 2015 @ 9:00am

    The Coming Legislation To Stop These Dirtbags

    Gladly looking forward to the day legalized assault and battery legislation will be passed for fucknuts like these dicks. Maybe then we can start clearing up bogus lawsuits out in the courtyard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 20 Aug 2015 @ 6:18pm

    God forbids

    God forbid they should negotiate with ITV, in good faith, to avoid a trip to the tribunal.

    God forbid they should reduce stockholder dividends to pay for a trip to the tribunal.

    God forbid they should reduce the CEO's massive salary to pay for a trip to the tribunal.

    God forbid they should actually represent the artists they claim to represent.

    With all that forbidding by God, all that's left is to cut the artists' share.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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