BBC Wales music rights: Tribunal 'not threat to Eos'

Vinyl record on turntable
Image caption Radio Cymru has lost rights to play about 30,000 songs

The director of BBC Cymru Wales, Rhodri Talfan Davies, says the corporation is not trying to threaten Welsh language musicians in a dispute over royalties.

The BBC wants a copyright tribunal to resolve the row with collection agency Eos after its members broke away from the Performing Right Society (PRS).

Eos claimed they were being short-changed and the group has accused the BBC of conducting "sham" negotiations.

Mr Davies says he wants an agreement, and the row could not go on endlessly.

Mr Davies said: "There is goodwill and I would rather come to an agreement without having to go to a tribunal hearing and that's what we're working towards."

A tribunal will ensure all the arguments are heard and that a "fair and transparent" agreement is reached if the two sides cannot find a solution, he said.

"It's not a threat," he told Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf programme.

"The tribunal is an institution for solving this kind of dispute so if we can't come to a settlement through negotiation then this is where this kind of dispute goes."

He added: "I want to avoid going to law. I want to reach an agreement on this without having to go to a tribunal, but we cannot allow this dispute to continue endlessly."

Talks between Eos and the BBC have been underway for months, but they failed to reach an agreement 1 January when Eos officially took control of the rights of its members' music.

'Significant gap'

As a result, more than 300 composers and publishers withdrew the right to play their music on the BBC, denying Radio Cymru rights to play about 30,000 songs.

Mr Davies said there was a "significant gap" between what Eos was seeking and what the BBC was offering.

The BBC has offered to contribute to the group's legal costs.

However, its chief executive, Dafydd Roberts, said the latest development was "disappointing".

"It appears that the discussions were a sham and in the meantime the BBC has been preparing documents and evidence for the tribunal," he said.

Mr Roberts has said that Eos will consider allowing Radio Cymru to play its members' music while the royalties dispute is sorted out.

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