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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Closed Cumbrian nightclub reopens

A nightclub which closed for a weekend following a dispute over it not having a licence for copyrighted music is back in action.

Darren Dawson photo
Darren Dawson

The Vault, in Ladies Walk, Workington, was facing a hefty legal bill after the lengthy wrangle with the Performing Rights Society (PRS), which issues licences to businesses that play commercial music.

But the club’s owner Darren Dawson has resolved the dispute and he now has a music licence which runs until 2015.

Mr Dawson, who was initially told he would have to pay legal costs of £10,000 along with £6,000 for the music licence, thrashed out a compromise.

“We’ve come to an agreement over a payment plan and we have reopened the club,” he told the News & Star.

“I looked into playing non-copyrighted music but there was nothing that I wanted to play in the club.

“A few people did come forward with ideas – DJs and producers with their own music but it was on Sunday and too late for last weekend.”

Darren said the club’s temporary absence from Workington’s nightlife scene last weekend had disappointed many people and prompted a flood of comments on Facebook.

He said: “The last thing we needed was for another place in Workington to shut.

“Sorting this PRS licence out was a lot harder than I had first thought, but I told them that we either come to a sensible agreement or the businesses closes and you take what money you can get.

“So in the end we came to a sensible agreement.

“I went out on Saturday night and people were asking why we were closed.

“They were saying it would have been dreadful if we did close.

“It’s the last thing this town needs just now but thankfully it’s now all been sorted.”

The crisis was triggered after a High Court judge imposed a pay-up or shut-up order on the club.

PRS officials took legal action after one of the society’s inspectors visited the club – which at the time did not have a licence – and heard tracks which included Un Momento, Dominoes and Youngster.

A PRS spokesman said: “Whenever you play a sound recording in public, there are two separate licence fees to be paid.

“PRS distributes its licence fees to composers and music publishers and Phonographic Performance Ltd collects a separate licence fee which they distribute to record companies, recording artists and musicians.”

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