1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Monday, 21 December 2015

PRS for Music and Soundcloud settle - war is over - for now

PRS for Music has written to its membership informing them that it has settled the recently launched legal action against the online music platform, which is widely used by PRS members. The licence covers the use of PRS for Music repertoire from SoundCloud’s launch, and extends to. cover SoundCloud in its plans to introduce subscription and advertising supported platforms across Europe in 2016. 

Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music said: “On behalf of our members, I am pleased that we have been able to reach a settlement with SoundCloud without extended legal proceedings. This ends over five years of discussions on the licensing requirements for the platform, resulting in a licence under which our members are fairly rewarded for the use of their music." adding "The safe harbours in current legislation still present ambiguity, and obstruct the efficient licensing of online services, but our agreement with SoundCloud is a step in the right direction towards a more level playing field for the online marketplace."

The letter from Karen Buse, Executive Director, Membership and International, reads: 

I wrote to you earlier this year to explain our action against the online music streaming service SoundCloud. After five years of unsuccessful licensing negotiations, we believed that we had no alternative but to start legal proceedings against them. However, we have since, through intense discussion and negotiation, managed to reach an agreement.

The agreement covers the use of repertoire controlled by PRS for Music since the service launched and is an important step in our quest to achieve a level playing field in the licensing of online services so that songwriters, composers and their music publishers can be paid properly for the use of their music online.

We believe this agreement to be the best outcome because it sets us on the path towards receiving proper reporting from SoundCloud of their use of your repertoire, enables royalties to be paid and also avoids the cost of legal proceedings.

Receiving enough accurate data on music uploaded to the platform remains a challenge but SoundCloud have committed to working with us to improve the quality of their reporting over time. We are conscious of the value that many of you derive from using SoundCloud and are pleased to have reached this landmark agreement. Whilst it is only one step along the road to a fully functioning online market, it is an important one. I would like to thank SoundCloud for breaking with the past and agreeing to work with us; a move which we feel is in not only your, but all rightsholders’, interests.

We expect you have questions about what this means for you. To help answer these, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions which can be viewed here.


Yours sincerely, 

Karen Buse Executive Director,
Membership and International
PRS for Music

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