Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Mechanics told to pull the plug
MECHANICS have had to pull the plug on their transistor radio after refusing to pay hundreds of pounds a year for a licence.
Jeff Parkins, 59, and Mick Collinson, 56, were told to pay £278 in royalties if they wanted to continue listening to the radio at their garage in Melrose Street, Scarborough.
They failed to win with their argument that the radio was so quiet they often could not even hear it themselves, while the public is not allowed in the workshop and could only have heard it faintly through the wall from the tiny office.
The pair, whose workshop has had a radio since 1981, never imagined they were in the same public entertainment league as high street shops, pubs and restaurants.
But the licensing agencies that chase payments for playing background music to customers, to generate royalties for performers, demanded the garage pay up – twice.
The men paid £139 for the year to PPL, which represent the interests of the performers, but were then asked to pay the same again by the Performing Rights Society which acts for the writers and composers.
They refused to pay for the second licence, and took the radio home instead.
“We would have had to pay nearly £300 for two men to listen to the radio. It’s a scandal,” said Mick.
Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill said: “It seems ridiculous that two people who work alone in a garage are paying a fee equivalent to a TV licence to listen to the radio.”
PPL press officer Clare Goldie said when recorded music was played in the workplace, two licences were usually required because copyright protected musical compositions and lyrics separately from the recordings of them. “Fees go to record companies and performers, as well as to composers and publishers.
“These two organisations exist to ensure that those who invest their time, money and talent to create the music people love, are fairly rewarded for the use of their work.
“Research has shown that music within the workplace can have significant business benefits, including improving staff morale and reducing employee sick days.”
She said there were plans to simplify the licence system to include a joint licence for small workplaces.
The Performing Rights Society said they could not comment on the case because Dickinson’s was not a subscriber.