A TOWN centre nightspot has been banned from playing music.

After Dark in Nelson Square was caught playing copyrighted music without a licence from music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).

A ruling at London’s High Court has banned Vinerock Ltd, proprietors of After Dark, playing anymore recorded tracks there — or at other premises they run - until they bring their music licences up to date.

And Mr Justice Nugee, ordered the company, which was not represented in court, to pay £1,687 in legal costs.

Court action was brought after a PPL inspector visited the premises and heard tracks including "Drinking From The Bottle” by Calvin Harris and Tinie Tempah, “Love Me Again” by Joyhn Newman and “Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris and Florence Welch being played when no licence was in force in October last year.

PPL’s counsel Fiona Clark said that solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing the company of the nature and extent of PPL's repertoire and the fact that the playing in public of sound recordings without PPL's licence or permission constitutes infringement of its copyright, and inviting it to acquire a licence.

However, it failed to do so.

The ban applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL's repertoire.

Failure to obey the order and turn any premises it runs into a music-free zone until all licence fees are brought up to date would be regarded as contempt of court, the penalties for which can be fines of up to £10,000 and up to six months prison for any individuals responsible.

Depending on the size of a venue and the audiences involved music licences can cost very little but they can also run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

PPL spokesperson Nazneen Nawaz said: "PPL is the UK-based music licensing company which licenses recorded music for broadcast, online and public performance use. Established in 1934, PPL carries out this role on behalf of thousands of record company and performer members.

"Public Performance licences are issued by PPL to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations from all sectors across the UK who play recorded music to their staff or customers and who therefore require a licence by law.

“These can range from bars, nightclubs, shops and hotels to offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and local authorities. Tariffs vary but a licence, issued on an annual basis, can cost as little as 18 pence per day.

"This licence is required to play recorded music in any business context and covers millions of different recordings. After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all revenue collected is distributed to members. PPL does not retain a profit for its services. In 2012 PPL collected revenue of £170.8m.

"With over 10,000 members who are record companies or other recorded music rights holders and 65,000 performer members, PPL has a large and diverse membership. Members include major record labels and globally successful performers, as well as many independent labels, sole traders and session musicians ranging from orchestral players to percussionists and singers – all of whom are entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances.

"PPL’s role and remit increases year on year.

“The company receives details electronically on a weekly basis for an average of 6,500 new recordings.”

No one from After Dark was available for comment.