The Performing Right Society (PRS) has won its claim to bring a copyright infringement case against Qatar Airways before the English courts.
PRS for Music is seeking damages from Qatar Airways for the unclicensed use of music owned by its members. It claims that the airline has never remunerated PRS members, songwriters, composers, and music publishers, for the use of their intellectual property.
In a statement, PRS said that, “With no equivalent representative collective management organisation situated in Qatar, Qatar Airways has for decades evaded licensing the performing right in copyrights used in its in-flight services.“
PRS for Music started these legal proceedings against Qatar Airways prior to the Covid-19 pandemic with a focus on the long-standing past infringement of its members’ rights by the airline, and it now seeks to ensure that Qatar Airways and other unlicensed airlines will be set up with necessary licences once air travel resumes after the pandemic.
Subject to any appeal, the case will now proceed to a trial on liability unless Qatar Airways takes the necessary licence to cover the use of PRS repertoire, both retrospectively and moving forwards.
Sami Valkonen, Chief International and Legal Officer, PRS for Music, said: “Over the years, Gulf-based airlines have spent more than a billion Pounds on various sports endorsements, yet refuse to remunerate our members for the use of their music on the airlines’ award-winning in-flight services. Today’s ruling is an important first step in our unyielding quest to correct this long-standing injustice and ensure fair compensation for our members from these airlines. We hope to resolve this matter as efficiently as possible on behalf of our members.”