Garden centres celebrate reduction of PPL fees for playing recorded music

A legal ruling on the copyright fees shops are charged for playing music in stores could save retailers -- including garden centres -- £5m a year and win them a £20m refund for excessive charges levied on them in the past four years.

Shops, pubs, restaurants and other businesses that play recorded music, including from television and in-store or conventional radio stations, have to pay for a licence. A company called Public Performance Limited (PPL) collects the fees on behalf of record companies.

In 2005 PPL imposed dramatic increases in the charges, meaning that many businesses faced a doubling in licence fees.

HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe welcomed the legal ruling on behalf of garden centres: "In 2006, the HTA joined a consortium of trade associations representing the retail and hospitality sectors to oppose these huge increases in fees. At that time we expressed our dismay at the disproportionate nature of PPL proposals and unjustified increases in licence fees. Now, after a lengthy legal battle the Copyright Tribunal has agreed with our arguments and ruled against PPL."

Briercliffe added; "We understand that PPL has said it will appeal against the tribunal decision but we are confident that the decision will be upheld in the High Court, not least in the interests of fair play. This will enable members to reclaim over-payments made to PPL since 2005 and also pay a reasonable rate of licence fee in future years."

"Once the outcome of any appeal is known, the HTA will be advising members of how to reclaim the money they have been obliged to over-pay to PPL  — money that the Copyright Tribunal agrees rightly belongs to our members."


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