No, it isn't a scam but one can forgive any retailer from wondering as they tend to show up like number 9 buses.

A West Yorkshire retailer received a phone call from the Performing Rights Society (PRS), asking him to get a licence to play music in his store. He said: "Put it in writing." So they did. Then he phoned me to ask if they were legit.

The PRS is a non-profit organisation which (attempts to) collects licence fees from music users of behalf of writers and publishers. So if you have a radio, CD player or TV in your shop within ear-shot of the public, then you are supposed to have a licence.

The retailer, whom I am not naming for reasons that will become clear, got the letter because to all intents and purposes he didn't agree on the phone to register. The PRS then handed on his details to the Copyright Protection Office. "At this point it becomes legal," said a spokeswoman.

For those who haven't slavishly saved my columns on this subject in the past, it costs about £85 a year for a small store to register. The police won't show up if you don't. It is a civil matter and would probably cost them more to prosecute you than it's worth.

The retailer is considering taking the radio out of his store - or saying so at least. I couldn't possibly recommend this to anyone else.

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