Do you need a licence to play music?

Posted: Monday, 6 July 2015 @ 14:59

In this blog I talk about the need to have an appropriate licence to play recorded music from the organisations which represent the composers or performers of the original material. In a later blog I will go on to cover the additional need for a Premises Licence if the playing of music constitutes "regulated entertainment".

A recent court case involving the owner of a South Wales nightclub has highlighted the dangers of playing music without the appropriate licence.

The nightclub owner was ordered to pay compensation for unpaid licence fees of £6000, ordered to pay costs of £14000, and given a 28 day suspended prison sentence. However, he had been very foolish. He had received many reminders by the licensing authority, PPL, and even back in 2013 had been given an injunction to prevent him playing recorded music without a licence. And yet he continued!

So what is the law on this? This involves intellectual property, the copyright in the recorded music, which cannot be played without a licence. For the individual playing a CD, record, or tape in private is not breach, because with the purchase comes the right to use that recorded music for personal enjoyment. But the playing of recorded music in public or the broadcast of recorded music on the radio or TV requires a licence from PPL. PPL collects these fees on behalf of the performer concerned and record company members. So if you play recorded music commercially, in a workplace or other public place, and this would include places to which the public have access, you will require a PPL licence.

But it is not just PPL who may need to licence the use. There is another organisation, PRS for Music, which collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers. It "licenses the use of its members' musical compositions and lyrics when they are played in public, broadcast on the radio or TV, used on the internet or copied onto physical products such as CDs or DVDs".

So if this applies to you 2 licenses will be required, one from PPL and another from PRS for Music.

To learn more about the licensing process go to the ppluk website by clicking here.

Nigel Musgrove
Licensing Law Specialist
Tel: 0845 003 5639

 

 

Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
Call Nigel on +44 (0)1285 847 001 or by email
This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.

Comments

  • There are no comments for this page - click here to be the first

Need legal advice for your business? We can help

Directors

Directors
Practical advice and legal support for company owners and directors.

Disputes

Disputes
In dispute with a customer or supplier? Get practical advice and support.

Your legal advisor

Your legal advisor
Board level legal advice without the costs of an in-house lawyer.

Speak to a lawyer

Speak to a lawyer
Cousins Business Law excels at demystifying potentially complex legal areas for small business owners
Simon Moore, MD Moore News Ltd

Get legal updates

Enter your email address to receive our monthly Blog Newsletter


We will keep your email safe in accordance with our privacy policy.

Get the FREE definitive guide to solving business disputes

Speak to a lawyer

Get legal updates

Enter your email address to receive our monthly Blog Newsletter
The Law Society
Top