Pubs, restaurants and shops could be due a share of £15m to £20m in refunds after the High Court decided that the charges they pay for playing recorded background music are unfair.
The Court upheld a ruling from an earlier copyright tribunal in November 2009 that the 400% increase in charges introduced five years ago by Phonographic Performance Limited [PPL] were unfair and unenforceable.
A consortium of organisations including the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) took the case to the tribunal and on to the high Court.
Many venues open to the public play background music, which is technically classed as a public performance to an audience and consequently they are subject to the PPL charges which reward songwriters and performers whenever their work is broadcast.
The latest ruling confirms savings of around £3 million a year for pubs, and also opens the door for refunds going back to 2005 that could amount to £10 million
Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), which acts on behalf of 4,400 record companies and 47,000 performers, said it was "extremely disappointed" at the decision saying: "This leaves PPL with tariffs that it believes substantially undervalue the rights of its performer and record company members."
Details of how to claim will be available in due course.
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