Judge silences Northampton town centre bar for music licence breach

Stereo has been hit with a music ban until they get their music licence in order.
Stereo has been hit with a music ban until they get their music licence in order.

Pubs, clubs and bars in Northampton have been warned to get their music licences in order after a town centre night spot faced the music at London's High Court.

The owners of Stereo nightclub, in Bridge Street, were slapped with a music ban and legal bills of nearly £2,000 after inspectors caught them playing Chris Brown and Sean Paul tracks without a licence.

Dee & A Leisure Ltd cannot play copyrighted recorded music at Stereo or any of their venues until they bring their licence up to date.

But the decision is also a warning to other Northampton bars and pubs to get their music licences in order.

A spokesman for the High Court Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) warned: “Businesses that choose to play recorded music without a licence may face legal action and possibly hefty financial and other consequences as a result.”

The "pay-up or shut-up" order was imposed after the judge heard that a PPL inspector heard music being played on the premises when they did not hold a PPL licence. The inspector heard tracks including “Yeah 3X" by Chris Brown, "Temperature" by Sean Paul and "Push the Feeling On" by Nightcrawlers during a visit on 16 September.

Businesses have to hold a PPL licence to play copyrighted tracks publicly.

Ignoring the music ban would land Dee & A Leisure with a £10,000 and a charge of contempt of court.

Christine Geissmar, operations director, PPL said: “There is an intrinsic value that recorded music adds to businesses, and this judgement acknowledges that the performers of the music and record companies should be fairly rewarded.

"Legal action is only ever sought as a last resort where a business continues to play music following repeated attempts from PPL to get the correct licensing in place.

"PPL does not retain a profit for its services."