Labels & Publishers Legal

PRS to increase admin fees on TV income to fund copyright tribunal costs

By | Published on Tuesday 18 August 2015

PRS For Music

The UK music publishing sector’s collecting society PRS last week wrote to its members to announce it would be temporarily increasing the admin fees it charges on royalties collected from TV companies in order to fund the legal costs of a copyright tribunal hearing that has been instigated by ITV.

When rights owners choose to licence as one through a collecting society, all deal making is subject to extra rules and regulations in order to satisfy competition law. If the society and a licensee cannot reach an agreement, the matter can be taken to a special court, which in the UK is called copyright tribunal. Which is what ITV is now doing having failed to agree a new deal with PRS covering broadcasts from the start of this year.

In the letter to its members, posted by the Music Law Updates website, the PRS executive board says that: “We feel it is vital that we fully participate and vigorously defend this referral to secure a fair return for the use of our members’ work. Copyright tribunals are costly but it’s important to protect and champion your work and ensure you are fairly remunerated whenever it is used”.

Explaining how the admin fee increase will work, and why it will apply to all income generated by the use of songs on TV, and not just by ITV, the letter continues: “The Executive Board has approved a proposal for a one percent increase in our TV admin rates for a period of one year, this being the fairest way of covering the expected costs in defending this referral. While the tribunal will only rule on the ITV licence, it is an important decision for all members whose music is played on TV, meaning we are sharing the cost across all our TV revenues”.

The increase should take effect from October. As regular readers will know, I like to buy a new hat for each major copyright tribunal. So, I’ll be adding 1% to the delivery fee of your CMU Daily next month to fund said hat purchase.