PPL License

Why PPL Licenses?

A PPL license is required when recorded music, including radio and TV, is played in public. There is no statutory definition of ‘playing in public’ (also sometimes referred to as ‘public performance’) but the UK courts have given guidance on its meaning and ruled that it is any playing of music outside of a domestic setting – so, for example, playing recorded music at a workplace, public event or in the course of any business activities is considered to be ‘playing in public’. In contrast, any recorded music being played as part of domestic home life or when there is an audience entirely comprised of friends and/or family (such as at a private family party) does not require a PPL license

Laws Related to Playing Recorded Music in Public.

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, if recorded music is ‘played in public’ (i.e., played in any context other than a domestic one) every play of every recording requires the permission of the owner of the copyright in that recording (usually a record company).

If PPL did not exist, a business playing recorded music at its premises would be required to contact potentially thousands of record companies to individually obtain their permission before being able to play recorded music lawfully.

Record companies transfer their rights in recorded music to PPL so that PPL can issue licenses to businesses and effectively give them the record companies’ permission for their recorded music to be played in public. The performers on those recordings are then also legally entitled to receive a fair payment when they are played in public.

By providing licensing solutions for the use of almost all commercial recorded music, PPL creates substantial efficiencies for both copyright owners and those who play recorded music in public.

If a business requires a PPL license but does not obtain one, the business will be INFRINGING COPYRIGHT. This is unfair to those other businesses who have obtained a PPL license, not to mention the tens of thousands of performers and record companies who are responsible for the recorded music that the unlicensed business is using. PPL undertakes a range of local and national activities to try and raise awareness of music licensing requirements amongst businesses, but the legal requirement to obtain a license is not affected by whether or not a business was aware.

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