Music Copyright

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The UK copyright bodies the PPL and the PRS announced they would join forces to issue a combined copyight licence for the users of music, such as pubs and restaurants. Under current laws, a separate licence must be obtained from each of the PRS and the PPL in order to allow performance of music in any licensed premises.

New combined PPL & PRS licences

for Community Radio

UK Music Performance copyright

When a business plays recorded music in public, in most instances a licence from both organisations is legally required. Whether you are a huge entertainment complex, or a hairdressers that has the radio or TV playing, or just have 'music on hold' facility on your telephone, that is deemed to be "using music" as its enhancing your customers' experience. At least one licence, and usually two, is needed for any use of music in business.
The rights to play music are administered in the UK by three bodies; the PPL, PRS and MCPS, although the last two combine their licencing and collection rights.
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If anyone else wants to use the work, especially in  a business where they might benefit from it, the owner can decide whether they want it to be used and be paid for their use of it.
In practice 99% of musicians DO want their work used, and paid for. To put agreements in place for each play would be a nightmare, as there are so many broadcasters or other users and even more creators. For this reason 'blanket' licences are issued by collection agencies such as the PRS or PPL.
Recorded music is also used by many businesses to attract customers.
In most other countries, the copyright owners of music and lyrics have agencies who collect copyright fees.
In the UK the PRS act for composers and authors while those who hold the copyright of the actual sound recordings are represented by PPL. 
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Music copyright accounts for about 8% of income from music, that's $950 million! 46% comes from digital products and 46% from CDs, etc. (more details in the IPFI Report .
For many years each levied their charges  or licence fees in different way and always collected them separately.
"Both our organisations firmly believe that the proposed joint venture will be a positive development  for both our customers and our members (the owners of recordings)," said Peter Leathem, the CEO of Public Performance Ltd. The CEO of PRS agreed and said that he felt the move will significantly simplify music licensing in the UK.
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These businesses are also required in most countries to pay a royalty fee for the music they use. Radio stations must pay for their use of music, just like bars, clubs, restaurants, gyms, etc.
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The PRS has over 100,000 members who write lyrics and compose music. The PRs campaigns, protects and issues  licences for the rights to use the work.  PRS have an active  Anti-Piracy Unit which pursues unlicened publishing of material.
Usually known as PPL.  It collects royalties on behalf of performers and record companies, while PRS for Music collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. The PPL tariffs can be downloaded here.
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Everyone is free to broadcast at will to everywhere around the world, via the internet. The only needs are to comply with legal requirements regarding libel and slander, and pay copyright fees for any music used.
Internet Radio has hundreds of pages of advice, over 77,000 words! There are links to the sources of all you need, from kit to people, jingles to music. The eBook can be read on any Kindle, Tablet, or  computer, or you can buy a hard copy of the book from Amazon. 
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The PRS has over 100,000 members who write lyrics and compose music. The PRs campaigns, protects and issues  licences for the rights to use the work.  PRS have an active  Anti-Piracy Unit which pursues unlicened publishing of material.
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The new PRS / PPL licence for community radio stations came into effect on 1 January 2017, for Ofcom-licensed AM and FM operators.  Both PRS and PPL are committed to simplifying music licensing for their customers and this new joint licence represents the first joint initiative for the radio broadcast sector.
Previously, not-for-profit community radio stations were required to purchase two separate licences from PPL and PRS for Music to cover the inclusion of music within their broadcasts.  By offering a joint licence, PPL and PRS for Music have further reduced the administration associated with licensing music rights for the community radio sector.
The joint licence is administered by PPL on behalf of both organisations and community radio stations can apply for and purchase their licence online via PPL’s website. In addition, as well as covering a station’s AM or FM broadcast, the optional right to license internet simulcasts and / or  small scale DAB simulcasts is included within the joint licence.

Joint PRS / PPL licence

   (new in 2017)

The new joint PRS / PPL licence for community radio stations can be obtained via the PPL website.
If you have any questions about this licence, call PPL on +44 (0)20 7534 1422 or email ther community radio section on
The fees payable under the Joint Licence for Community Radio are the greater of the minimum annual fees or a percentage of the advertising and sponsorship revenue that the station generates each year. Details of the headline terms and applicable fees are available in the joint licence summary or in the full PPL and PRS for Music Joint Licence for Community Radio agreement.

Music Copyright basics

The laws of copyright are often described as complicated, but in reality they are pretty straight forward. The laws of almost every country say that, if you create something, such as a painting, a music recording, or a book, then you OWN it. The owner has the right to decide how and where it's used, which includes how to charge for its use. Letting anyone else hear it, or perform it, are known as rights, royalties or copyrights.

What's the difference between

PPL and PRS for Music?

PRS for music -  collects royalties on behalf of performers and record companies,
PRS for Music  - collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. When a radio station includes recorded music in its over-the-air or online broadcast. 
Until 2017 a seperate licence from both organisations was legally required. In 2017 this changed and a combined or joint licence became available.

Music Copyright Law

    by David J Moser
Music Copyright book
an essential guide to the music business'es biggest asset - RIGHTS!
This is an essential guide for anyone working in the music business and being concerned with rights. It contains an in-depth look at the topic that is vital to the success of every one in the music business.  Songwriters and performers including all their various managers, producers, and agents; all need to have a copy of this book to hand.
This book's greatest virtue is that it sets out to avoid the jagon so loved by lawyers who tend to prinkle arcane and vebose language among creative and lesser educated mortals.   "Lawyerspeak"  is the very substance that bedevills many other books about the music business.  
Music Copyright Law is exactly 'what it says on the tin'.  The book sets out a a foundational knowledge of the basics of copyright law, and leaves the reader in no doubt what it protects.  The boolk looks carefully at what benefits are derived and conferred by registering a copyright, and what to do when one's copyrights are being infringed.
After the basic grounding in rights legislation, the book's coverage expands to include controversies involving copyright and music in the digital age and the debates over 'online music'.
Music Copyright Law is packed with practical examples of real life scenarios that are encountered in real life in today's music industry.   This is not only essential reading for anyone in the music business; its a vital tool to have in any music mogul's office.  This 320 page music business legal manual can be obtained for just over £20 via Amazon - full details HERE.