Eos loses £1.5m BBC royalty battle and get £100,000

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Media captionThe BBC says it will now seek to resume discussions with Eos which says it is disappointed with the ruling

The BBC must pay £100,000 a year to Welsh language composers and publishers in royalties - a fraction of the £1.5m they had wanted.

Eos, a collection society that controls the broadcast rights for some Welsh language music, had rejected an offer by the BBC of £120,000 and argued their case at a tribunal.

The tribunal spent a week hearing evidence from both sides in September.

It issued its judgement in the case on Monday.

The BBC says it will now seek to resume discussions with Eos which says it is disappointed with the ruling.

The dispute between the BBC and Eos arose from a change by the Performing Right Society (PRS) in 2007 which many Welsh language artists claimed cut their royalty payments by as much as 85%.

Around 300 musicians who broke away from PRS after claiming Welsh language musicians were being paid substantially less than their English language counterparts were represented by Eos.

Eos wanted the BBC to pay more in royalty fees.

But the BBC said a substantial offer it made just before Christmas last year to Eos to resolve the dispute had been rejected.

On New Year's day, Eos withdrew permission for the BBC to play their music.

Six weeks later, it made an interim agreement allowing BBC Radio Cymru to resume its normal schedule.

A tribunal into the matter was held in Caernarfon in September during which the BBC said it was only prepared to pay £100,000.

But in reaching an interim agreement earlier this year, it has been paying Eos a £120,000 annual licence to broadcast its members' music.

Legal costs

The final ruling says the BBC must pay £100,000 per annum, excluding VAT.

The term of the licence will run from 1 February 2013 to remain in force until expiry on 31 December 2015.

Sian Gwynedd, BBC Cymru Wales' head of Welsh language programmes and services, said: "We will obviously comply with the copyright tribunal's ruling - a decision they reached after hearing the arguments of both parties in this dispute.

"Throughout this dispute, we have sought an outcome that is fair to both Welsh language musicians and licence fee payers."

A statement from Eos said: "It's very sad that the tribunal has failed to recognise the value of these rights to the Welsh music industry.

"It's clear that the tribunal has tried to keep the status quo as much as possible, rather than respecting the wishes of the Welsh composers and publishers for a fair rate."

The BBC spent more than £360,000 taking the issue to the tribunal, contributing £63,000 towards Eos's legal costs, as well as £15,000 towards the cost of Eos's expert witness.

Among the BBC's costs was a bill for £27,720 for an expert witness.

More than £4,000 was spent on travel, accommodation and meals for those who attended the hearing at Caernarfon Crown Court.

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