Thursday 7 February 2013

Welsh music dispute heads to Tribunal

Three weeks ago we reported that German song collection society GEMA was taking YouTube to the arbitration board of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office over the alleged use of 1,000 unlicensed music tracks on the internet video platform, and for an independent decision on whether it’s demand for E1.6 million was appropriate. 

Now comes news that the BBC is taking new Welsh language music collection society Eos to the Copyright Tribunal in a row about BBC radio royalties which began back in 2007 when the Welsh songwriters and music publishers were still members of PRS for Music. A three-way discussion between the BBC, PRS and the affected welsh language music creators ensued and continued for a quite few years without resolution, until eventually over 300 Welsh-language creators and rights owners left the PRS and set up their own collecting society, Eos. There remains a ‘significant gap’ between what the musicians and publishers want, and what the BBC is prepared to pay, and currently BBC Welsh language programming is denied the use of the 30,000 songs is Eos’s database – previously core to is Welsh services - making it hard for the national broadcaster to meet Welsh language targets – and of course Welsh music isn’t being played on the radio in Wales, meaning Eos songwriters and publishers are not getting paid. 

Eos claimed they were being short-changed and the group has accused the BBC of conducting "sham" negotiations. The director of BBC Cymru Wales, Rhodri Talfan Davies, says the corporation is not trying to threaten Welsh language musicians in the dispute over royalties and the BBC now wants the Copyright Tribunal to resolve it's row with Eos,  and has even offered to contribute to the group's legal costs to "ensure that Eos is able to put its arguments to the independent copyright tribunal which is the established legal process to resolve commercial disputes of this nature in a fair and binding manner". Its appears the parties are continuing to negotiate. 

Eos chief executive, Dafydd Roberts, said the latest development was "disappointing" saying "We've taken legal advice .... so we'll be considering our position in terms of a Copyright Tribunal. But what's disappointing is that whilst we thought we were negotiating with the BBC on various terms, in fact all they were doing was preparing ground for the Copyright Tribunal". Roberts said that Eos will consider allowing BBC Radio Cymru to play its members' music pending any decision.


Anonymous said...

Would it be fair to assume that EOS is wishing to receive more poundes per play for its Welsh language creations than the amount paid to the PRS? If the BBC were to accept this, would it be a form of racism, distinguishing according to language spoken?

Ben said...

CMU Daily reports (13.02.13) that Welsh language songs are back on BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Wales after the BBC reached a temporary agreement with Eos, the new collecting society set up to represent Welsh songwriters and music publishers. Negotiations continue regards a long-term licensing deal, pending a hearing at the Copyright Tribunal