British concert promoter Vince Power has responded to a High Court ruling last week that effectively banned him from staging any music events in public until a dispute with the Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS for Music) is resolved.
PRS, which collects U.K. copyright fees for live music, is suing the promoter for apparently operating the Hop Farm Festival for several years (2009-12) without the proper licenses. Making the lawsuit unique is the fact that the company through which Power ran Hop Farm, Music Festivals PLC, went under in 2012.
A statement released by Hop Farm on behalf of Power claims the veteran promoter had no prior knowledge of the dispute that elicited the ban. The festival seemingly confuses the legal fees that PRS is seeking in the lawsuit, £7,987 ($13,450), with the undisclosed amount of outstanding licensing costs that the agency is seeking. "This is miniscule compared to the amount of money paid to PRS over the years by Vince Power and companies," Hop Farm said of the fee.
Hop Farm also noted that Power is no longer associated with the festival.
In his own comments, an "angry and disappointed" Power criticized PRS' lawsuit as a personal attack and said the High Court's temporary ban could be "damaging to my career." After acknowledging a "long strained relationship" with PRS, Power accused the agency of hypocrisy and offered his services to artists.
"I can only see this as PRS being vindictive and a means of deflection for what I see as the real problem within PRS; They have a long list of artists that are owed money which they do not pay," he said. "I am very happy for any Artists who have been chasing PRS unsuccessfully to contact me to see if there is a way we can group together and get the money they are owed."
PRS has declined to comment on Power's accusations, but released the following statement (via CMU) regarding the lawsuit: "You need a license to perform music. If you don’t get a licence when you perform music, we will pursue it. We're here to ensure that songwriters and composers can earn a living from their craft."