AN Altrincham bar owner has been ordered to pay a fine for playing music at his premises without a licence even though he now has one.

Since the proprietor of Nick’s Lounge at 46 Railway Street, Altrincham, was caught playing the music when he didn’t not have a licence from music royalties collectors, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), he has brought his licences up to date.

Despite this though, he has been ordered by the High Court to pay legal costs of £1,647 run up by PPL in pursuing him after one of their inspectors visited the premises and heard copyrighted music being played when no licence was in force.

Had Paul McNeela not paid the licence by the time the case reached court he would have been banned from playing further music there, or at any other premises he ran, until the licences were brought up to date.

Mr Justice Norris was told that legal action was launched against McNeela after a PPL inspector visited the premises on 2 February and heard music being played when no licence was in force. The inspector heard tracks including “Under Control”, “Timber” and “Show Me”.

Nazneen Nawaz, spokesperson for PPL, said: “PPL is the music licensing company which, on behalf of thousands of record company and performer members, licenses recorded music for broadcast, online and public performance use.

“Our 90,000 members include major record labels and independents as well as globally successful performers and session musicians, ranging from orchestral players to percussionists and singers. The majority are small businesses, all of whom are legally entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances.

“PPL issues licences to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations across the UK when they play recorded music to their staff or customers and therefore require a licence by law.

“Licensees include bars, nightclubs, shops, hotels, offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and public sector organisations up and down the country. After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all licence fee income is distributed to members. PPL does not retain a profit for its services.”