The MCPS-PRS Alliance has angrily slammed out at the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) and online music services decision to take legal action against it, decrying its "complete lack of imagination".

The Alliance, a UK organisation comprised of The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society and The Performing Rights Society, represents over 44,000 composers, songwriters and music publishers. It says it "regrets the decision" to refer its online licensing plan to the UK Copyright Tribunal.

All parties had been attempting to reach a consensus on licensing terms without the expense of Tribunal proceedings, but failed to yield the deal.

Adam Singer, CEO of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, said: “This is a disappointing tribunal reference by the BPI and the digital music service providers, and one that could have been avoided. Industry observers must be baffled by record companies taking the publishing divisions of their own companies through a tribunal procedure, spending millions that neither side can afford. This tribunal reference does tremendous damage to the industry as a whole, not least in the eyes of government.

“For a creative industry this demonstrates a complete lack of imagination.”

The MCPS-PRS Alliance JOL (joint online licence) was launched in 2002 and since then more than 100 music service providers have signed up.

Licensees are able to operate a number of business models under the one licence at a rate of 8 percent of revenues (discounted from 12 percent to help the growth of the legal online music market).

The Alliance argues that composers, songwriters and music publishers have supported the licence terms of the JOL which they believe has enabled the establishment and growth of the online music market.