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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Tom Bliss Heavy Handed PRS (105* d) RE: Heavy Handed PRS 23 Nov 09

Agreed - it's far from ideal, but to effect change rather than just whinge, people must start from the status quo, rather from some imagined situation.

I know a number of people who have successfully avoided a demand for a PRS licence by stating firmly that only public domain material is being performed at their venue. This is easier to claim for a tune-session than a song-gathering of course, but the principle is sound, and the distinction is critical.

I have also been agitating for a 'creative-commons-style' tick box for PRS member registrations of both original works and PD arrangements - the idea being that we can choose to have our works treated as PD when no money is changing hands. PRS are not agin such a scheme, but it needs a lot of members to demand it before they go to the trouble of changing their already complicated system. If enough members ticked the box, this would then make it possible for most clubs and sessions to opt out - but it won't happen overnight because PRS like everyone else are locked into the existing laws of the land and a legacy of former decisions.

Meanwhile, the 'soon-to-come' club tariff would be a good if tiny start. I should clarify that it could (would) apply only to amateur clubs/sessions - not fee-paying/door-charging events, for the legal reasons alluded to above.

Yes, the blanket charge system is a sledgehammer - but the alternatives are all so expensive that there would be no money left at all for writers.

If PRS remain habitually recalcitrant, it is only because insufficient numbers of MEMBERS have campaigned for change (that's the only pressure they're supposed to respond to - because they represent us, not the users/public). I delayed my meeting with Steve Porter because I wanted to run a survey of members and users first.

I also wanted to set up a folk club organisers group (that's the main reason I wrote the living tradition article), so that PRS would have a 'proper' body to work with, instead of a medium-weight singer-songwriter from the Channel Islands.

But then Steve resigned and I retired - and I'm still waiting for the club organisers to see the merits of such a plan (I mentioned it again on the FCO forum only last week).

As I say - over to you.


Can you tell I'm having REAL trouble starting my next essay?

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