Robert Fripp and The Jesus And Mary Chain lead artists suing PRS over songwriter royalties

Robert Fripp and The Jesus And Mary Chain‘s Jim and William Reid are among a host of artists who have launched a lawsuit against the PRS over songwriter royalties.

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The case is centred around how the organisation handles royalties from live performances, with the artists accusing the PRS of levying high administration costs for smaller songwriters while giving preferential treatment to bigger acts.

The group of songwriters have joined forces with PACE Rights Management, a global operation that covers direct licensing of live public performance rights (the right to publicly perform a composer’s music and/or lyrics by way of live performance), in the case.

The group are also pushing for the right of music writers and publishers to efficiently direct license their live public performance rights, without having to go through the PRS.

In a statement, the group said: “Regretfully, after years of PRS refusing to discuss or constructively engage with these issues – including the withdrawal of Live Performance rights, the lack of transparency around international deductions, and the operation of the Major Live Concert Service – we have been left with no option but to seek redress through the courts.

“The ball is now firmly in PRS’s court. Either they constructively engage with much needed reforms to empower and benefit writers and publishers, or they continue to resist these necessary changes, and attempt to defend the indefensible by spending yet more of the members’ money on legal costs supporting policies that make the members less money.”

Fripp added: “I am yet to be persuaded that the PRS operates on behalf of the membership’s best interests.”

In response the PRS issued the following statement (via Music Week): “Our policies and rules follow a thorough and extensive approval and review process by the board and the Members’ Council, which is comprised of members and independent non-executive directors appointed by the membership. The rules which govern the process for live rights withdrawals were approved by members at the PRS AGM.

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