“After careful consideration, and following five years of unsuccessful negotiations, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have no alternative but to commence legal proceedings against the online music service SoundCloud,” begins a letter that has been sent to all PRS members, signed by PRS executive director, membership and international Karen Buse.
Buse goes on to say that the “difficult decision” to begin litigation has been taken because SoundCloud “continues to deny it needs a PRS for Music licence” for its streaming service in the United Kingdom and Europe, therefore rejecting the payment of members’ royalties.
“We have asked SoundCloud numerous times to recognise their responsibilities to take a licence to stop the infringement of our members’ copyrights, but so far our requests have not been met,” continues the letter, which has been circulated on social media, but not officially sent to the press. When contacted by Billboard, a spokesperson for PRS would only confirm that the organisation has “commenced legal proceedings against SoundCloud,” but refused to comment further.
Buse’s leaked letter states that alongside its legal claim, the London-based organization sent a sample list of 4,500 of its members’ works which are currently available on the streaming service without license. In response SoundCloud removed 250 posts, but provided no clarity on its approach or methodology to removing copyright protected works and seemingly ignored the “wider infringement that is occurring.”
She concludes by saying that “we remain hopeful that this matter can be resolved without the need for extended litigation.” SoundCloud did not immediately respond when asked to comment.