PRS writ hits wrong note

01 January 2000
PRS writ hits wrong note

A Somerset restaurateur has accused the Performing Right Society (PRS) of acting "like the music mafia" after it issued him with a High Court writ for playing music without a proper licence.

David Prosser, proprietor of 60-seat Skittles, in West Coker, near Yeovil, could face large fines and possibly a prison sentence if the High Court bans him from playing copyrighted music and he does so again without a licence.

The PRS - the body that collects licence fees and distributes them to composers and publishers - alleges that Mr Prosser played music without a licence in July 1995 and again in March this year.

But Mr Prosser argues he does not need a licence because he plays only classical music, which, if the composer has been dead for 70 years, is free from copyright. "I have been caught out a couple of times when the girls here put something else on because the classical music was driving them mad," he added.

The High Court has yet to fix the date for the hearing.

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