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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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My company signed a 12 months contract to play Music/announcement

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My company signed a 12 months contract to play Music/announcement whilst our customers are ON-HOLD. It took us 3 years to cancel the contract and we paid £3600 for this poor service. However, due to an oversight, the recorded message was not deleted from our phone system and the company (called Please Hold) are claiming another £2500 compensation for breaching their copyrights. I am not sure what this amount is based on since we have paid everything due under the original contract?

Thank you

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

How long was the message used for beyond the originally agreed contractual term?

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long was the message used for beyond the originally agreed contractual term?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Ben


I can look up exactly but it was less then 1 year. The point here is that the company (Please Hold - Adam Ryder (their legal officer)) harrassed me for about 24 months before this in order to extort £3600 from us. Mr Ryder could have contacted me to let me know that he is aware of the "copyright breach" but he did not do this.


So had you used their services for the duration of the alleged breach, how much would you have paid them?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If the contract had been in place, the annual charge would have been £1200 for one year - but please note that the contract is for their recording service which we did not use after the contract lapsed


The question is about the amount of £2500 which in my view is an unfair penalty and it is not based on any real harm/damage done. Also they did not care about the "breach" and did not take any action to mitigate the so called "breach". I have acted as soon as I was informed about their claim but they still insist that I owe them £2500.

This amount is not based on any contractual obligation therefore the question is about the fair amount that they can claim? I am not sure if I owe them anything but I would accept a fair arrangement but Please Hold are taking me to court to claim this amount. What shall I do?


When you signed up for the company's services and they allowed you to use their recording, they would have issued you with a licence that allows you to use this for a limited period of time. This would usually be for the duration of the contract you had with them. Once the contract terminates, the licence is also likely to terminate. If you continued using the recording outside of the period for which you had a licence, then you will be likely acting in breach of contract. That would enable to copyright owner to seek compensation for any damages incurred as a result of your infringement.

There is no need for the copyright owner to advise you that you are inadvertently using their material.

The issue here is whether the costs they are asking for are reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances. To determine that one would generally have to check what the company would have charged for the use of their copyrighted material for that period of time and then pursue a licence fee from the infringing party.

They are asking for £2500 for less than 12 months' use of the recording when they would normally charge £1200 for a year's use together with a recording service. So as you can see the costs they are asking for are extremely disproportionate and it is unlikely a court would agree that they should be allowed to pursue the £2500 they are after. They would only be entitled to a fair and reasonable compensation amount to reflect the licence fee they would have received had they given you permission to use the recording for that period of time. Assuming the annual fees for that and the recording would be £1200 you would certainly only be looking at a proportion of that amount for the unauthorised use of the recording for the period you used it for.

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you are unhappy for some reason with the advice - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you very much
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