Bad news for the many fine young Welsh artists currently singing lyrics in their own language, such as Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog (above). A BBC-wide directive has just been issued with immediate effect, stating that no more Welsh Language music can be played on air until further notice:
This e-mail is being widely circulated across the BBC in order to ensure that the BBC does not infringe the copyright in specific musical works (i.e songs) for which we will not have the rights after 31st December 2012. Please cascade this e-mail to your teams and any other colleagues who need to be aware of it.
Music composers writing in the Welsh language and a number of the publishers of these songs have withdrawn from the PRS. This means that the BBC does not have permission to use this material under the blanket license with PRS and it has not been possible for the BBC to reach an agreement on licence terms with the new Welsh-based collecting (EOS) which will control these rights from 1st January 2013.
Any use of the repertoire concerned on BBC Services after 1st January 2013 may result in legal action for an unauthorised use as a breach of copyright. The BBC is seeking to clarify with PRS and EOS precisely which musical works will be controlled by EOS but this information is not yet available to us.
Pragmatically therefore, all songs in the Welsh language should be withdrawn from BBC use with with effect from 1st January 2013. In the event that the use of a specific Welsh-language song is considered editorially essential and there is no recognisable alternative the Music Copyright team will check in specific individual cases (as far as possible) whether rights have withdrawn.
Please cascade this message as necessary
Head of Copyright Contracting
Talent & Rights Negotiation Group
BBC Vision Operations.
Room 3400 White City
201 Wood Lane
London. W12 7TS
Personally I’m just passing on what we’ve been told. I know nothing of the discussions between the BBC, EOS and PRS that have led to this situation, but it does seem a crying shame that (in the short term at least) Welsh composers and musicians are being damaged by the fallout. Will this embargo also apply, to bands with Welsh names and Welsh song titles who make purely instrumental music? For instance, the exellent North Wales surf guitar combo Y Niwl: