Friday, 5 February 2016

Beware - not one, but TWO licences required

About a year ago we warned our clients and wrote a blog post, about the penalties of playing (non royalty free) music on hold on their phone systems and also the dangers of playing music on their premises for staff or customers, through the radio, TV, CD, computer speakers or MP3.  

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states that playing music through such channels to staff or customers is deemed to be a public performance and you must get permission from the copyright holder to play it.  

We have recently received a call from  Phonographic Performance Ltd  (PPL) and following our discussion, it appears they are carrying out random checks at the moment to businesses who don't have royalty free music on hold, but do have a licence with the Performing Rights Society (PRS).

If you play non royalty free music on your phone system or within your business premises, please do check to make sure you have the necessary licences. The rules  are a little complex but the penalities for not having both licences (in certain circumstances) are high. 

If this applies to you then do take the time to check your own circumstances with both PRS and PPL

Don't get caught out!

 Click here for PRS website

Click here for PPL website  

The Merlin Team

Image courtesy of Zdivir of


A word of warning.  One of our clients has  recently received a visit from the Performing Rights Society (PRS).  They stand to face a fine of £300 (this can be backdated up to 6 years) with 28 days to pay and if not paid in this time, a  50% uplift or interest is added.  All this due to having a TV in their staff room.  

The thing is, if you play music on your premises for staff or customers through radio, TV, CD, computer speakers or MP3 player then The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states that it is a public performance and therefore you need to get permission from the copyright holder to play it.  There are more than 40 different tariffs to reflect the amount of use i.e. less for a small office and more for a live event.  Every type of business can be affected, from hairdressers, cafes, hotels and guesthouses to sports centres, factories, pubs, churches and schools.  The PRS have collecting societies in nearly 100 countries. 

It even appears that if a member of staff is playing music through headphones and another member of staff can hear it, a licence is necessary!!!

You may be familiar with the fact that if your telephone plays "music on hold" to your customers, you need a licence if is copyright, but may not be aware that simply turning on the radio or playing background music also requires permission and a licence too.

The Performing Rights Society  for Music is separate to Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) and each licence different rights when using music, so you may need a licence from both organisations!

For full details please visit the PRS for Music website link below:-

No comments:

Post a comment