UAE scheme set to collect music fees

Music-royalty payments scheme is good news for record companies, which lose tens millions of dollars a year due to Mena-region copyright infringements.

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A new scheme to collect music royalties in the UAE is expected to boost the fortunes of record companies, which lose millions of dollars a year due to regional copyright infringements.

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The law requires a fee must be paid each time music is used on TV, radio or during live public events. Globally, music rights are worth more than US$10 billion (Dh36.73bn) a year, mostly channelled to record labels and artists via royalty "collection societies".

However, there are no rights-collection organisations in the Gulf, making it difficult for royalty fees to be paid.

But Emaar said this week it would pay royalties for the music played at its Dubai Fountain light show near the Burj Khalifa, through an agreement with the music rights-collection agencies PRS for Music and Sacem. The Dubai developer says it has started negotiations to licence music used at its other properties

The mechanism created by PRS for Music and Sacem could be extended to UAE broadcasters, the majority of which do not pay any royalties for the music they use on air.

"Our hope is that this will encourage other businesses to now also respect the rights in the music they use," said Iain Kemplay, the head of international licensing atPRS for Music.

"We have been speaking regularly with major TV and radio broadcasters, 'live' music and event promoters and airlines about licences to cover their extensive use of music."