The board has asked me to update you on the results of the High Court hearing of "Preliminary legal issues" on the litigation between RAAP and PPI handed down by the court on 22nd February.
You may remember that there are two cases involved. The first case was taken by RAAP to establish which performers are entitled to share in the income paid by users. PPI had imposed on RAAP a system which involves allocating money to performers who, PPI claim, are not qualified under Irish law, and then keeping that money for producers (Record Labels). They claim that this system can be justified under Irish legislation. In view of the extent to which performers’ revenues had been cut, RAAP had to challenge this. The proceedings are against PPI and the State.
The outcome to the hearing of the issues in this case is that the court has decided that it is necessary to refer four questions to the European Court of Justice. The answers to these questions will enable the Irish court to decide the case. Our legal team are happy with this outcome. Performers’ rights are treated with much greater respect by EU law than by Irish or UK law and there is a real understanding of the need to balance the rights of performers against those of the producers (Record Labels). The process before the Court of Justice is less expensive than the processes in the Irish courts. It will take approximately 18 months for the case to be heard by the Court of Justice.
The second case involves the attempt by PPI to offshore to PPL in the UK the calculation of the shares of performers, according to a system of rules devised by PPI/PPL. This course is being pursued aggressively by PPI. The outcome of the hearing of the “preliminary issues” in this case is that the court decided:
1. A collecting society for performers is entitled to negotiate and either agree or dispute the system of sharing of the remuneration. In the event of dispute, the only way in which the system of sharing can be determined is by the Controller . Once the system is determined, the legislation dictates that the “mechanical exercise” of calculating the share in accordance with the scheme is PPI’s job.
2. RAAP is not entitled to act on behalf of all performers, but only on behalf of those who have either assigned or licenced RAAP to carry out this function.
We are happy with parts of this. As to the first question, it is clear PPI is not entitled to dictate the system of sharing. This is critical. We are not happy however that even the “mechanical exercise” is allocated to PPI, as the calculations currently being carried out by them in collaboration with PPL are highly inaccurate and based on very poor data about Irish performances.
As to the second question, the decision causes problems in the system. If RAAP cannot receive money on behalf of performers who have not yet signed up to RAAP or a sister society in another country, no one represents those performers. PPI is already attempting to keep money for this cohort of performers. Before the dispute, RAAP held the money and every effort was made to find the performers and pay them. Another problem is that it is doubtful that PPI can validly licence the use of the performances for which a payment is not being made to the performers.
We are currently evaluating the judgment in this case and the extent to which it may have to be appealed. There are aspects of it that are unclear. PPI has already made it plain that it will seek to take advantage of any lack of clarity to further distance itself from squaring up to the need to acknowledge the role of RAAP and to participate in a fair and proper system of sharing the money paid by users.
The board is very concerned at the cost of the litigation but the fact is that unless it is pursued, performers will face the loss of a performer collecting society to stand up to the producers (Record Labels). It is clear what would happen to performers’ incomes in that event.
We will keep you updated on further developments as they occur, but do not hesitate to contact the office if you need further information or clarification on any of the issues.
For and on behalf of Recorded Artists Actors Performers CLG
I just wanted to update you on the High Court proceedings that took place last week. The issues that were before the court concerned the proper and equitable share of monies which the producers (via PPI) are legally obliged to share with performers for radio broadcast and public performance (bars, disco’s restaurants etc.). As you know, we were forced to litigate in response to major cuts to the share announced by PPI from 2014 onwards.
We believe the share should be 50:50. This is the standard right across Europe. PPI pays lip service to the 50:50 share but has tried to establish a range of “discounts” that reduce the performers’ share to about 20%, keeping the rest for the record labels.
The other central issue is the attempt by PPI to offshore the management of performers’ rights to the U.K. and their sister society PPL. They – PPI - have challenged the right for Irish performers to have their Irish rights managed by their own performers’ organisation RAAP.
The case involved a trial of Preliminary Issues and lasted four days, the judgement is reserved and the judge will review the arguments and determine if the current Irish law does indeed fulfil its international and European obligations to protect performers. It will also decide whether it is PPI or RAAP that has the power under Irish law to decide the distributions to performers.
It was a difficult encounter. As a matter of strategy, PPI attempted to cause serious damage to the credibility of RAAP. This was very painful for the board members of RAAP to have to listen to. It was also challenging because the issues are broad and complex and the case was heard by a brand new judge. Our Counsel however did an exceptionally good job in the circumstances. We have submitted to the court that, for clarification, a series of questions should be put to the European Court of Justice, where performers’ rights are better understood and their rights under European law upheld as a matter of course. The Irish court is obliged to give effect to decisions of the European Court.
The Judge announced that he will give his ruling on Friday 11th January.
I appreciate your continued support in our efforts to protect performers’ rights in Ireland and I will keep you updated over the coming weeks.
For and on behalf of Recorded Artists Actors Performers CLG
We are delighted to congratulate Ciaran Tourish & Richie Buckley on the successful re-election to the Board.
The board felt it was appropriate to give members an update on the legal proceedings between RAAP and PPI.
We took the case initially because PPI decided - unilaterally - to change the basis on which the performers’ share of the licence fees collected by PPI was to be calculated. Not only did PPI seek to substantially reduce the payment by this new method but it clawed-back what it claimed were “over-payments” for previous years, despite the fact that all of those payments were agreed and signed-off on each year as per an agreement in place since 2003.
As soon as RAAP had commenced the legal case, PPI cancelled its agreement with RAAP and stated its intention to engage PPL in the UK to calculate the payments due to every performer on the disputed basis. RAAP was forced to take a second set of proceedings to establish that under Irish law the royalties payable to performers must be the subject of agreement and equally must be paid to RAAP, who can make the distribution according to its own rules. Performers are entitled to choose the collecting society that will represent them and PPI is not free to hand out important aspects of the management of performers’ Irish rights to a UK society dominated by the same three music majors that control PPI.
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We are delighted to announce that RAAP’s application for an interlocutory injunction to prevent PPI (in conjunction with PPL) from unilaterally determining equitable remuneration due to performers for public performance and broadcasting in Ireland, and directing the distribution of the monies in 2017, culminated in a settlement.
The interlocutory application was an interim measure designed to maintain the status quo until the underlying disputes between RAAP and PPI can be fully heard by the court. It was agreed that PPI will make a provisional payment to RAAP, which RAAP will distribute according to its rules, although a little later than normal.
RAAP will continue to manage performer rights in Ireland as fully as ever. This is an important development for performers and vindicates the actions taken by RAAP to ensure that performers’ rights continue to be managed in Ireland by the performers’ own organisation, for the benefit of performers.
R.A.A.P. is a not for profit members organisation set up to administer Artists Intellectual Property Rights. We are collecting monies throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia.Find out more...
When your recorded music is played on the radio or as background in public bars, restaurants etc. you are entitled to a royalty payment, RAAP collects and administers these royalties on your behalf.Find out more...
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Together we can make a difference.
Please go to http://www.fair-internet.eu/ now and sign the petition.
Today, four international organisations representing more than 500,000 performers in Europe joined forces to launch a campaign for the fair treatment of all performers in the digital environment.
The 'Fair Internet for Performers Campaign' brings together AEPO-ARTIS, EuroFIA, FIM and IAO, who represent musicians, singers, actors and dancers, all united in their call to the European legislator to 'make the Internet a fair environment for performers' Read More...
To register your support for this campaign, please go to
R.A.A.P. is delighted to assist in the fundraising for various Irish charities including
The Irish Cancer Society,
Oxfam Ireland and
The National Maternity Hospital Foundation.
The performers of 'The Ballad of Ronnie Drew', 'The Cake Sale' and 'Winter Song' (Twitterxmassingle) among others have generously donated their performance royalties to their associated charities.