The Performing Rights Society has bamboozled retailers this week by saying indies must pay to cover music licence fees for game pods.
PRS polices the use of copyrighted music in public places and now thinks demo pods running games that play licensed music will also come under its remit.
Several indies have told MCV they’ve received letters from the PRS charging them for music coming from games shown or played in-store. The cost of this could range from £140.90 to £465.90 a year depending on store size, although there is a 30 per cent discount if the music is part of a demonstration.
But even PRS admits that the situation might be too ‘difficult’ to monitor.
“It is such a tricky one with games displays and demonstration,” said PRS’ head of corporate communications Barney Hooper.
“I would say that if they want to avoid licence costs then they should mute the sound – and then there is no performance of music.
“For all other incidences we would recommend purchasing a licence so that any music can be used – both from games or from the radio or CD – as the games may contain music controlled by PRS for Music.
“Our licences offer blanket provision ensuring that both music controlled by ourselves, our publisher partners and members of foreign societies can be used.”
PRS for Music is a not-for-profit association and charges for music used outside of a domestic environment. The money goes back to the composers and publishers. The law it operates under is the 1988 Copyright, Design and Patents Act.