U2 threaten legal action on concert rights: Rock band wants to collect own live royalties

THE ROCK band U2 may sue the Performing Rights Society after it failed to concede to an ultimatum this week to allow the group to collect their own live performance royalties. Their action is being supported by other major rock acts, including Simply Red and Dire Straits.

Paul McGuinness, U2's manager, believes the society holds on to money collected on behalf of bands for too long and deducts too much for administering the royalty payments.

Ed Bicknell, manager of Dire Straits, said the society's administration costs were far too high and that 'only a nuclear physicist could understand most statements from PRS'.

U2 also say it is unfair that the group's percentage of a concert ticket goes directly to the society from the concert promoter. The band is preparing to argue, in court if necessary, that it could administer its own concert performance rights.

A letter from U2's lawyers last week said that the society's insistence on keeping the group's live performance rights contravenes the Treaty of Rome, is an abuse of the society's dominant position and is in restraint of trade under UK law. It says that if U2 are not reassigned their performance rights they will claim 'substantial damages'.

Every time a song is performed - in concerts, on radio and television, in pubs or shops - a fee is paid to the society and then redistributed, minus administration costs of 19 per cent, to the artist. The fee is collected from concert promoters, even if a band are performing self-penned material at their own concert.

The society collected more than pounds 145m in 1992, money redistributed by its 790 staff to 26,000 members in Britain, according to the popularity of their compositions.

U2, arguably the world's most successful band, were the top grossing concert act in the US last year, taking dollars 67m from the Zoo TV tour. That success puts them in a position to risk an expensive court action which many in the industry believe could benefit all society members.

Terri Anderson, public affairs controller for the society, said it was keen not to get involved in litigation with U2 as the costs incurred would be borne by the society's members. While the society can, constitutionally, allow members to administer some of their rights themselves, it asks to handle their entire repertoire to strengthen its negotiating arm.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat