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Musicians win latest round in fight for royalties


CAMPAIGN: Paddy Cole. Photo: Brian McEvoy

CAMPAIGN: Paddy Cole. Photo: Brian McEvoy

CAMPAIGN: Paddy Cole. Photo: Brian McEvoy

Musicians and performers should receive up to 50pc of the royalties from recordings released by US music giants Universal, Warner and Sony, the Advocate General of the European Court has ruled.

A High Court judge in Dublin requested a ruling as part of a long-running legal dispute. Recorded Artists Actors Performers (RAPP) which represents Irish musicians and performers is in dispute with Phonographic Performances (Ireland) Ltd, which represents the US record labels.

At present US record labels and producers receive 100pc of the royalties from their music if it is played on Irish radio, in pubs, restaurants and otherwise broadcast.

Musicians are paid a set fee for their performances, but are not entitled to a share of the royalties. RAPP, whose chairman is musician and performer Paddy Cole, argued at the court that musicians were entitled to "equitable remuneration" from the US recording giants.

"I have come to the conclusion that that line of argument is correct," an EU Advocate General found in a ruling released last week.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, who is responsible for the current legislation, and the Attorney General, have sided with the US music giants and were joined in the hearing before the European Court.

The Advocate General ruled that the situation was "inconsistent" with European copyright legislation because performers received no remuneration "and it accrues only to the benefit of the record producer".

"It's very welcome news for us," said Paddy Cole, "especially at a time when musicians are not earning any money."

The ruling from the 15-judge court will be brought before Judge Garrett Simons at the next hearing in the long-running legal dispute.

Sunday Independent