New Licence for Performing and Playing Music in Public

These days library spaces are used for all manner of events, many of which will involve the live performance of music or the playing of sound recordings.

Both of these activities require a form of licence. Collective management organisations exist in order that music users don’t need to individually obtain permissions from rights holders in order to undertake one or more of the acts restricted by copyright.

In the past, one had to acquire licences separately from PRS for Music (the collective management organisation representing songwriters, composers and publishers) and PPL (the collective management organisation representing performers and record companies). However in recent months these two organisations have come together to form PPL PRS Ltd, offering a single licence to cover both these types of activity, known as TheMusicLicence. The aim is to simplify licence administration for users of music. Whilst tariffs are set separately by PPL and PRS for Music, venues will now only have to deal with a single licence with a single invoice.

It remains the case that this licence doesn’t cover the performance of musical works specifically written for dramatic performances (e.g. operas, musicals, ballets) which continue to require direct permission from the rights holder – usually the publisher. Also the licence only relates to the performance or playing of music. To undertake other restricted acts (e.g. copying a sound recording) a separate licence from PRS for Music or PPL will still be required.

Claire Kidwell, Chair of IAML (UK & Irl) Trade & Copyright Committee