Playing music in a place of business
Playing music in a place of business

The following TMT guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Playing music in a place of business
  • The need for a licence to play music—copyright protected works
  • Copyright infringement by playing in public
  • Defences and permitted acts
  • Copyright infringement—remedies
  • PPL and PRS for music—music collecting societies
  • PPL and PRS for Music fees
  • PPL―calculating licence fees
  • PRS for Music―calculating licence fees
  • The costs of play then pay
  • more

The need for a licence to play music—copyright protected works

Copyright protects certain types of works from unauthorised (largely commercial) exploitation. When dealing with playing music in a place of business, the following types of copyright protected works are relevant:

  1. music (musical works)

  2. lyrics of songs (literary works)

  3. recordings of songs or music (sound recordings)

  4. radio or television (TV) broadcasts

The owner of the copyright in any of the above works can control their commercial exploitation by either preventing or charging (licensing) third parties for permission to play or perform them in public.

Music

A ‘musical work’ is a 'work consisting of music, exclusive of any words or action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music'. For a work to attract musical copyright protection, there are three essential ingredients:

  1. it must consist of 'music'. Music is distinguished from 'mere noise' as being a combination of sounds for listening to and which produces effects of some kind on the listener's emotions and intellect. A musical work also comprises all those 'elements that make some contribution to the sound of the music when performed, such as performing indications, tempo and performance practice indicators'

  2. it must be 'original'. The UK test for originality requires the creation of the work by skill and labour and not as a result of 'slavish copying'.