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Intellectual Property

Music Royalty Claims Against Retailers by Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI) in Doubt

If you are a retailer, a recent District Court decision in a case brought by the Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI) organisation against a retailer in Dublin will be of interest.

The PPI is licensed to collect royalties for leading music labels such as Sony, Warner, EMI and it issues notices to retailers for collection of royalties for music played in shops.

In this case, the PPI sought to collect in excess of €2,000 from the owner of two shoe shops in Dublin for the playing of a radio in the shops. In addition, it sought €6,348 (the District Court limit) in aggravated damages.

The defence case was based on arguments accepted in recent European Court of Justice cases viz
1. Only small numbers of people were hearing the music at any one time and
2. The shops were not playing the music for profit and it was not a factor in influencing whether or not people entered the shops in the first place.

Judge Collins of the District Court in Dublin accepted these arguments and dismissed PPI’s claim and awarded costs against it.

Smyth’s Hardware, Mullingar

A similar outcome has been achieved in a PPI case against Smyth’s Hardware, Mullingar where a case brought against Smyth’s hardware by PPI was not proceeded with by PPI.

PPI had invoiced Smyth’s for royalties dating back to 2002 and sought €6,350 in damages and royalties in the District Court.

PPI confirmed to Smyth’s solicitors that it was not proceeding with the case.