UK Music Rights Holders Launch New Dispute Resolution Process

If you believed all the musicians, eager to lay their claim to fame and some royalties, some Beatles tracks had no fewer than six drummers! Nearly 90% of UK musicians earn less than £16,000 a year from their profession.

Allocating hard-earned royalty pennies to each performer properly can be a nightmare, if it is even possible in some cases. This is one of the aspects of monetization that is hidden from public view.  Yet resolving such issues through the legal system is an expensive business which inhibits sensible resolution of financial matters.

That’s why PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd), the music licensing company that, on behalf of 42,000 performers and 5,000 record companies, licenses the use of recorded music in the UK, has launched an innovative service. It’s probably a global first of its type.  PPL’s Dispute Resolutions Procedure is designed to avoid going to the courts to settle a dispute.

It has three components:

Process Participant Obligation
Adjudication Non binding
Arbitration Binding
Mediation Facilitation

…which are not mutually exclusive.

Significant thought has gone into creating a fair and transparent process led by Ian Mill QC and Fran Nevrkla, the CEO of PPL. Other QC’s (senior-level UK attorneys) will support the process.

Whilst this appears to bypass the law, in reality it doesn’t. Arbitration procedure is part of English law and enforceable under it. Mediation is part of the civil procedure rules.

All this is to be welcomed, as it allows the commerce of rights to proceed much more fluidly without the threat of expensive lawyers looming in background.  Apparently other international rights organizations are taking a keen interest in these developments.

Bill Jones is CEO of Global Village Ltd.

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