§ 93. Mr. J. Lewis
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the recent decision of the Performing Rights Society Limited to increase their charges for royalty in some cases to 15 times their pre-war rate in all places of entertainment; and in view of the fact that the Government is represented at the International Music Convention in Brussels, if he will state the Government's attitude on this matter and whether it is his intention to press for effective control to be placed on the activities of the Performing Rights Society and for a definite scale of charges to be fixed, equitable to all parties.
§ Mr. Belcher
I am aware that the Performing Rights Society Limited, has recently revised its pre-war scales of licence fees for the public performance of the musical works of which it owns or controls the performing rights. I have no evidence at present that the licence fees payable under those scales will, generally, be substantially greater than those hitherto charged, but if my hon.68W Friend has any particular case in mind, and will furnish me with full details, I will look into it.
Licences for the public performance of copyright musical works are matters to be settled by agreement between the copyright owners and the prospective users. The Board of Trade has no statutory right to intervene in such matters, but they are fully alive to the importance of public performing rights from the point of view of the public interest.
§ 94. Mr. J. Lewis
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the Phonographic Performances Limited are proposing to reissue their licences with a new condition that records may not be used when there are more than two people present on any occasion; and in view of the fact that this will mean the closing down of dance schools which are not in a position to employ musicians, and the curtailment of the use of records in canteens, clubs, institutions, cinemas, etc., if he will state the attitude of the Government on this matter and whether representations are to be made at the International Music Convention taking place in Brussels, with a view to safeguarding the interests of the licensees.
§ Mr. Belcher
I am aware that Phonographic Performances Limited have proposed revised licence conditions for the performance of music in certain establishments by means of gramophone records of which the company owns or controls the public performing rights. I understand that one of the effects of these revised conditions may be to restrict the use of records in such places, the object in view being to avoid prejudice to the employment prospects of professional musicians. In reply to the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I have just given him.