THE former boss of one of Rossendale’s most popular weekend venues has been taken to court for playing music without a licence.

One of the country’s top judges at London’s High Court imposed a silencing order on James Keeble, trading as Madison Mellow Function Room, Burnley Road, Rawtenstall, after hearing he had been caught playing recorded copyrighted music there when he didn’t have a Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) licence.

The venue has since been taken over by H2Inns and the music ban does not affect the current business.

Mr Justice Hildyard ordered Keeble, who was not in court and not represented, to pay £1,742 in legal costs in the next 14 days.

The ban also extends to any other premises he runs until he brings his licence up to date.

And if he does not comply he could end up behind bars.

Failure to obey the order and turn any premises he 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.

The judge was told that he was caught after a PPL inspector visited the premises and heard music being played when no licence was in force.

The inspector heard tracks including ‘Let’s Get Excited’ by Alesha Dixon, ‘Work’ by the Saturdays, ‘Untouchable’ by Girls Aloud, ‘Up All Night’ by Take That and ‘About A Girl’ by Sugababes on July 20.

PPL’s counsel Fiona Clark said that solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing him of the nature and extent of PPL’s repertoire and the fact that the playing in public of sound recordings without PPL’s licence or permission constitutes infringement of its copyright, and inviting him to acquire a licence.

However, she said he had not done so.