Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris and Pitbull pave way for musicians to turn up volume against copyright abuse as court cases rise

The music industry body PPL brought 230 High Court cases against operators of leisure establishments for alleged copyright infringements in 2014

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The Independent Online

Thousands of shops, pubs, nightclubs and manufacturers face being dragged to court by musicians, following Taylor Swift’s lead in protecting their rights.

The music industry body PPL, which licenses use of recorded music on behalf of performers and record companies, brought 230 High Court cases against operators of leisure establishments for alleged copyright infringements in 2014, an increase of 10 per cent on last year, according to analysis by the City law firm RPC.

Swift, the producer Calvin Harris and the rapper Pitbull were among those involved in PPL cases.

Musicians are increasingly moving to protect their intellectual property rights as traditional recorded music sales fall. Last month Swift trademarked several of her lyrics, including “this sick beat”.

Paul Joseph, copyright partner at RPC, said: “The music industry in the UK has nightclub and pub businesses firmly in its sights.

“While annual music licensing fees are typically modest, unpaid fees can quickly mount up over the course of a few years. PPL is quite willing to go all the way to the High Court to enforce its licences, as well as for the deterrent effect of an order for compensation.”

The Football Association Premier League also increased the number of High Court cases it launched in 2014. It brought 36 cases, compared with five in 2013, as it took on pubs allegedly infringing copyright by broadcasting matches without an appropriate licence.

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