It follows the Government’s plans to tighten up the conduct of copyright collection firms, as part of the Hargreaves review of Intellectual Property and Growth.
PRS has committed to:
• Provide information about the general governance, licensing and membership activities of PRS for Music
• Set standards of conduct that members and licensees can expect from the society
• Set standards for transparency
• Outline the complaints procedure for members and customers
• Provide an independent ombudsman for complaint resolution
When users don’t have a licence before they use the music, the code explains that PRS “may require them to pay a higher royalty rate ... for the first year of their licence”.
The code adds: “Music users who receive a telephone call from us without having received an introductory letter or email, can ask for the relevant information to be emailed or posted to them before talking to us.”
With regards to complaints, the document explains that PRS aims to resolve matters as quickly as possible, “normally within 10 working days”. It sets out the complaints procedure, listing information about the Ombudsman service.
According to the code, every year in or around April PRS will publish a report on its performance against the code, including information on complaint levels; and its principal licensing, distribution and governance arrangements.
PRS has also committed to conducting a formal review of the code every three years.
PRS chief executive Robert Ashcroft said: “This revised code builds upon and consolidates PRS for Music’s existing licensee and membership codes. Its launch underpins our commitment to excellent service and high standards in all that we do.”
PPL, another music royalties collection firm, also planned to release its code of conduct this month.