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The Live Music Forum Copyright Campaign


Letter to Baroness Bowles

Recently, at a Westminster Media Forum on Copyright we asked some questions about what was being done to move to a wider and fiarer copyright distribution. Since nobody was able to offer any answer we followed these questions up with a letter to the Intellectual Propety Office.

The IPO were unable to point to any developments toward a wider circulation of Copyright so we wrote, once again, to PRS for Music, the privately owned company charged with the collection and distribution of music performance copyright in the United Kingdom. (Link to letter to PRS for Music)

So far, we received no response to our letter to PRS so we wrote to Baroness Bowles, member of the House of Lords who chaired the WMF on Copyright.

Dear Baroness Bowles

In July I attended the Westminster Media Forum on Copyright which you chaired. The seminar was most interesting and I learned a lot, for which, I thank you.

In the second half I asked Tim Moss, of IPO, a question about what was being done to move towards a wider and fairer distribution of music royalties.

Our particular concern is 19.html

Tim Moss from the Intellectual Property Office replied in a letter:-
“Certain aspects of the conduct of UK collective management organisations (CMOs), such as PRS, are regulated by the Collective Management of Copyright (EU Directive) Regulations 2016 (“the CRM Regulations”). These Regulations set standards, including on governance and transparency, for bodies involved in the collective licensing of copyright works and the UKIPO is the appointed regulator. CMOs in the UK are private commercial organisations and the Government plays no role in setting their distribution policies; it is up to the CMOs and their members, the right holders, to decide on the most appropriate way to distribute revenues collected. However, if there was evidence that a CMO was in breach of their obligations under the Regulations then UKIPO, as the regulator, could investigate. Any individual issue should be dealt with via the complaints system that the CMO is required to operate under the regulations. ”

To my mind, the evidence is plain for all to see. Thousands of musicians and composers are having their music featured on 200 plus local radio stations up and down the country. Copyright fees are paid but not distributed back to them.

Nobody is accusing our collection agencies of irregularity. Simply that it is time things were brought up to date and that the advancement in technology is employed to effect a wider and fairer distribution.

Years ago, when copyright collection and distribution was completed manually, it might have been difficult to account for these radio plays. But these days, with Tunecodes and the prevalence of digital files it should be easy, if the correct process were in place.

Even if not, a self-reporting system such as that already operated by PRS for live music could be used. I suggested this to PRS in my recent letter, but as I mentioned, I have so far received no reply.

Our collection agencies need to form a will to change because the same formula for distribution that has applied for fifty years can no longer be considered fit for purpose in the digital age, especially when we are constantly being told through press releases to the media how much is being done to encourage and support creative talent. A sentiment repeated often at the Westminster Media Forums that I have attended.

Therefore, as a leading figure in the supervision of our Copyright system I appeal to your sense of fairness in asking you to support this cause and seek justice for the tens of thousands of non-charting musicians who create and sustain the national music experience in the UK.

Yours Sincerely
Phil Little
The Live Music Forum ​


Emal: editor@livemusicforum.co.uk

to do with small local radio stations which feature, sometimes exclusively, local music. According to Ofcom, there are over 200 community and charity FM radio stations in the UK. Although the stations pay hefty sums to PRS/PPL none of these local artists receive the proportion of copyright royalty that they have earned and deserve. This inequity, I believe, is culturally immoral. Especially now, after all the technical advances since I first raised the subject at a Westminster Media Forum in 2012.

In September I wrote and asked the same question of PRS. They did not respond to my letter, but have launched a consultation on their member's satisfaction with their service. The text of my letter appears on our website at,