Monday, April 24, 2006

Digital Ethics #12

Each time a copyrighted piece of music is played to an audience in the UK, a royalty payment is legally due to the music's publisher. (similar royalty systems exist in most western countries). There are three main bodies that are responsible for collecting royalty fees from radio stations and distributing the money to their members:

Performing Rights Society (PRS): Artists and composers.

Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL): Record companies.

Mechanical Copyright Protection Society
(MCPS): Jingles and music used in adverts.

The majority of UK music radio stations purchase a licence that allows them to play whatever music they wish. The cost is based on audience size and revenue calculated by the radio stations sending the PRS sample lists of the music they broadcast.

The calculation and distribution of amounts owing is a complex task, and most recording artists and songwriters join specialist organisations who, for a fee, do the collecting for them.

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