Retailers celebrate potential cut in music licence fees

Retailers could see a major cut in the fees they have to pay for playing background music after a landmark legal victory in the High Court.

The ACS, along with other trade organisations including The British Beer & Pub Association, were appealing against the decision of the government’s Copyright Tribunal to allow the royalty collection firm Phonographic Performance Limited to put up their fees for both broadcast and recorded music by combining them as one single scheme.

The ACS estimates that some businesses’ fees rose by as much as 400% as a consequence of the price hike in January 2005.

Ruling on the case, Justice Kitchin said the fees regime imposed by PPL was "inconvenient, cumbersome, [and] expensive".

This ruling could potentially lead to a reduction in the cost of playing copyright music in-store, according to ACS chief executive James Lowman.

“We are delighted that this latest battle has been won. We believed that the scheme and charges were unfair and illegal,” he said.

“We still have more hurdles to overcome, but we will continue to press for a refund for those retailers left out of pocket,” he added.

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