By Emmanuel Legrand
PRS for Music CEO Andrea C. Martin has issued an open letter asking broadcasters and commissioners to join authors, composers and rights societies "in opposing buy-outs and any such practice which threatens the UK’s world-leading broadcast and music sectors."
The letter from the CEO of the British performance rights society is a reaction to attempts from broadcasters such as Discovery Networks to impose so-called "buy-out" contract by which composers of music for shows produced by the channels would give away all their performance rights in exchange for a one-off fee. Discovery eventually backtracked but other broadcasters are considering similar contracts.
Wrote Martin: "The strength of feeling against such practices in the creator community can’t be understated. The ability for creators to share in the value their works generate is essential to a vibrant creative sector. For composers, this means being paid whenever their works are broadcast or made available on streaming services."
Martin went on to say that buy-out of composers’ rights "robs creators of their ability to benefit from their work." She added, "Where PRS’ members assign their ‘performing rights’ to us they do so on an exclusive basis, which means all past and future works are controlled by PRS. Our ability to control those rights allows us to offer broadcasters access to the broadest repertoire and the flexibility to use our members works in new and innovative ways."