Charities will lose music licence exemption from January 2012

Legislation will introduce charges for playing recorded music in public venues from 2011, but charities are given an extra year to prepare

Charities to lose music licence exemption
Charities to lose music licence exemption

Charity shops and community groups will have to pay for licences to play music from January 2012 under plans that are due to come into force at the beginning of next year.

An amendment to music licensing law, which means charities and other not-for-profit groups will lose their exemption from the royalty fees, was placed before Parliament yesterday.

The amendment says public venues, including those used by charities and not-for-profit groups, will need licences from the licensing authority PPL in order to play music from records, CDs, the radio or television. PPL and PRS for Music distribute royalties on behalf of composers, lyricists, music publishers, record companies and musicians.

The law will be introduced on 1 January 2011, but charity shops and some other institutions will be exempt from the fees for the first year.

A statement from the Intellectual Property Office said a charge of £40 a year would apply to 60 per cent of the buildings where voluntary groups met and that most charity shops would pay £54 per year.

An IPO spokesman confirmed that the charge would apply to each shop, so charities with chains of shops would have to pay for every branch. He said larger shops would pay more than small shops.

The plans are part of a statutory instrument that was placed before Parliament today and is due to be passed in 40 days. The plans are a 'negative instrument', meaning they can become law without a debate or a vote in Parliament, although either parliamentary house can pass a resolution to annul them.

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "We have worked hard to ensure that charities, particularly small organisations and charity shops, get extra protection and that the impact of any changes is minimised.

"It will be difficult to satisfy everyone but we have achieved a fairer balance between the need to reward musicians for their work and the need to protect charities from excessive costs and additional bureaucracy."

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