Local shop owners are being taken to court after being caught playing music without a licence.
Court records reveal six newsagents and convenience stores have received court summons since 2020 related to claims raised by Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and the Performing Rights Society (PRS) over alleged breaches of intellectual property rights.
The figures mean these local shops account for nearly one in 20 of the 144 businesses taken to court by the copyright enforcement agencies since 2020.
A spokesperson from PPL and PRS told Better Retailing court action was always “the very last resort”.
Specific ‘TheMusicLicence’ licences are available from PPL and PRS for shops, with the rate payable dependent on the size of the “audible area”.
Stores found to be playing music without a licence face a 50% higher royalty rate “designed to act as a deterrent” and to cover its costs in detecting and enforcing the licence.
Asked about the higher royalty rate, the spokesperson confirmed more than one in five new licences issued to retailers in 2022 were on the increased rate after being caught playing music “prior to obtaining TheMusicLicence”, equivalent to more than 613 stores.
For those buying a licence before being caught out, stores up to 538sq ft only playing standard TV or radio can get a 50% discount to £94.92 per year.
All other stores up to 6,458sq ft must pay £174.71. All prices are before VAT.
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