The Live Music Forum Copyight Campaign

Tuesday 5th March 2013

Today The Live Music Forum launches a survey for DJs on the subject of copyright. The survey can be accessed here,

If you know a DJ please encourage them to complete our survey. Their feedback is vital and if we can get enough responses, the opinions gathered could be quite useful.
Follow the Copyright Campaign on Facebook

Tuesday 18th September 2012 will see the launch of our Copyright Campaign which we hope will help to restore some balance to the copyright collection and distribution system, which has historically favoured large record companies and publishers. You can read the campaign statement here,

  The Live Music Forum Copyright Campaign Statement

Our campaign centres on four demands:-

A single licence to cover all live and recorded music performance and mechanical royalties.

A lower rate for live music venues presenting live music 100 times a year or less, to an average audience of a hundred or less.

A fairer system of distribution which includes plays of local artists on local radio stations and in local club venues and festivals.

A review of regulation on the practices of rights collection organisations.

We are not against copyright, in fact, far from it. As musicians and composers ourselves, we acknowledge the importance of being recognised and rewarded for a splendid bit of music you created which other people enjoy and respond to. However, the system, we believe, is in desperate need of change and could concentrate more on rewarding the artists who created the work.

As a path to a better understanding of UK copyright amongst musicians who could benefit from the performance of their original works, to the publican or shop owner who needs to have two different copyright licences, we have compiled a set of questions which PRS and PPL have kindly responded to. The questions and answers can be found here,

PRS and PPL answers to the Live Music Forum Questions

We would like to thank PRS and PPL for their kind co-operation.

If you have any comments or stories of copyright collection or distribution difficulties please email us at,


PPL Legal and Business Affairs Executive, Peter Mason, kindly supplied this overview of Copyright Licensing in the UK. The information offers a concise explanation of the roles of PPL and PRS but it is not intended to be an exhaustive explanation of music copyright.

In music there are essentially three types of right:

Rights in the composition (the “song”)
Rights in a particular recording of the song (the “track”)
Rights of a performer whose performance is captured in the track
It is important to note that the recording of the song into the track does not extinguish the rights in the song. Anything done with that track will also make use of the song. The rights are generally held by different people. The songwriter or publisher owns the right in the song. The record company (or the recording artist for self-releasing acts) owns the right in the track and the performer owns the relevant rights in their performance.
PRS for Music (i.e.MCPS-PRS) essentially collect and distribute royalties for any action that uses the “song”. This includes performing the song live, recording a performance of the song, copying CDs that feature recordings of a song etc. They distribute the money they collect to songwriters, composers and publishers.
PPL only collects and distributes royalties for action that use “tracks” owned by PPL members. So, this does not include a performance of a song by a live band, whether in a live music venue or broadcast direct from live during a radio or television programme. It does include playing the recorded track in public or broadcasting the recorded track on the radio. PPL also licences copying a track where that copying is solely for the purpose of subsequently playing the track in public or broadcasting the track. In addition to paying the owners of the rights in the track, PPL also distributes money to performers  as “equitable remuneration” to cover the use made of their rights in performances that are captured on the track.
“Mechanical copyright” that you refer to is a term that means any copying, whether of the song or the track. PRS for Music do handle “mechanical copyright”, but only in the songs. When a piece of recorded music is copied (e.g. by copying an MP3 file or by pressing CDs) both the song and the track are copied. MCPS collect and distribute royalties for the copying of the song. PPL collect and distribute royalties for the copying of the track (if the copying was for the purpose of subsequent public performance or broadcast).


Thanks to Peter Mason and PPL for this useful explanation.