A pub at St Keverne has been hit with a High Court music ban and legal bill for £2,500 for playing music there without a licence.

The decision serves a warning to all other businesses in the area where music is played publicly to get their music licences in order.

One of the country’s top judges, Mr Justice Marcus Smith, made the order against Lesley Saffill (nee Magill) after she was caught by music police playing recorded copyrighted tracks at the White Hart Hotel in The Square, without a licence from the Performing Right Society (PRS).

Failure to obey the order and turn any premises she 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.

In addition to the ban the judge also ordered Mrs Saffill, who was not present or represented at court, to pay PRS's legal costs of £2,500.

The "pay-up or shut-up" order was imposed after the judge heard that a PRS inspector heard music being played at premises on July 6 this year.

Jamie Muir Wood, representing the PRS, told the judge in documents before the court that the failure of the defendant to remedy the licensing position, despite letters from the society, "suggests an intention to continue the infringing activities".

The judge granted the application for an injunction to restrain any infringement of the PRS's copyright and for damages, interest and costs.

The judgement was given in default of a defence, as none was submitted by Mrs Saffill.

The PRS is a non-profit making organisation which collects licence fees for public performances of music and then distributes the cash among composers and music publishers. It represents the only practical way copyright fees can be collected for public performances.

A spokesperson for PRS said: “Whenever you play a sound recording in public, there are two separate licence fees to be paid. PRS distributes its licence fees to composers and music publishers and Phonographic Performance Ltd collects a separate licence fee which they distribute to record companies, recording artists and musicians.

“A licence is required for any event except a family or domestic gathering, such as a wedding reception or birthday party. PRS sometimes waives fees for charity events.”