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Top clubs may be silenced in royalties row

A DIRECTOR of three top nightclubs has admitted that almost €90,000 in royalties is owed for music played at the venues.

The three clubs -- including celebrity haunt Krystle -- will not be allowed to play music unless arrears for recordings royalties are paid, the High Court warned yesterday.

Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI) yesterday sought injunctions aimed at silencing the music at Krystle, Dicey Reilly's Garden Bar and Beer Garden and BoJo's 35, all located at the Russell Court Hotel on Harcourt Street, Dublin, unless arrears allegedly due on recordings from 1999 to 2007 are paid.

Last night company director Ramanthan Arulchelvan told the Irish Independent that the clubs accepted that they owe the money.

But he declined to say whether it would be paid in the two-month timeframe given by the court yesterday.

He said that a meeting would take place on Monday to decide what to do next.

PPI claimed the failure to pay the royalties amounted to a breach of their members' copyright.

The court also heard that since 2008 the defendants had built up alleged arrears of approximately €360,000.

The defendants Triglen Holdings Ltd and Regines Hotels Ltd and their directors Mr Arulchelvan, Greygates, Mount Merrion, Dublin, and Eileen Wright, Clyde Lane, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, opposed the application.

They said they had paid the PPI an annual fee of €5,000 and contested the accuracy of the post-2008 figure. In his ruling yesterday, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy ordered the defendants to pay the historical debt within two months, and take steps to address other issues concerning royalties or face the prospect of the nightclubs being injuncted from playing music produced by the PPI's members.

Seeking the injunction, Michael McDowell, for the PPI, said his client represented the interests of entities, such as record companies, that hold the Irish copyright in respect of most modern sound recordings produced globally. It grants licences to and collects payments from businesses wishing to play its members' sound recordings in public in Ireland.

The defendants, counsel said, had offered to pay the debt over a 15 to 20-year period, which was rejected by his clients.

Sean Murtagh, the PPI's head of operations, told the court it had been estimated that the nightclubs owed his organisation some €88,000 per year but had only paid €5,000 per year. No figures were provided by the nightclubs, he said.

Kevin D'Arcy, counsel for the defendants, said the PPI's claim in relation to the €360,000 was inaccurate, and had only been put to his clients in recent weeks. Those figures did not take into account factors including that the nightclubs only opened for a few days a week. He added that the claim for that amount was a red herring.

Irish Independent