Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fake PRS try to shake down victims

Back, once again, to the PRS. As if it wasn't enough for them to cope with their member's works being copied for illicit gain, now their methods and manners are being pirated, too:

We have been made aware that some private residences have been contacted fraudulently by people claiming to be from PRS and that failure to submit a licence application may result in prosecution and a fine of up to £1000 – we would never threaten customers like this.

If you are in any way concerned about the contact you receive, please contact customer services on 0845 309 3090, we will confirm whether the contact is from PRS for Music.

The PRS would never threaten "customers" (non-customers, surely?) that if they don't get a licence, they could be prosecuted and fined? Really? How do they persuade people to buy licences if not with the threat of prosecution? And what are the press releases that shoot out at times of court cases, such as that with Kwik Fit? Sure, it might be worded gently and more in sorrow than in anger, but isn't the idea of a press release pointing to a big company dragged in to court designed pour encourager les autres? And why would they have copyright investigators with part of their role being to "[a]scertain[...] the accuracy of data collected by checking various databases, this then allows legal proceedings to commence if the customer refuses a licence"?

It might upset the PRS to think of themselves as an organisation whose revenue streams depend - in part - on being able to wield the threat of prosecution, but surely it needs to be honest with itself about the exact nature of its business. If it was merely collecting monies handed over out of love, it wouldn't need operatives to "produce reports that may lead to civil action in the UK
courts for Copyright Infringement."