Pubs urged to join PPL protest

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Licensees are being urged to join the protest against a massive hike in the cost of playing background music in pubs. Mitchells & Butlers...

Licensees are being urged to join the protest against a massive hike in the cost of playing background music in pubs.​ Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is among those encouraging businesses affected by the proposals to speak up, in the hope of forcing Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) to rethink the rises, planned for next year.

As revealed on thePublican.com last November, PPL licences - which enable pubs to play music from jukeboxes, CD players, cassettes and mini hi-fi systems - are being increased by as much as 500 per cent in some cases, due to changes in the copyright law.

Campaigners hope that if enough people protest, they will force the issue to go to a Copyright Tribunal, which could prompt PPL to reconsider its strategy.

Trade associations, including the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA) and the British Hospitality Association, have all written to Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt requesting a tribunal. John Appleton, director of electronic leisure at M&B, said: "The proposals - if unchallenged - could well lead to an escalating increase in audio and visual costs for many businesses.

"We do not believe PPL has followed the proper process and this affects everyone".

Allan Hayes, licensee at the Buck House Hotel, Wrexham, who will see his fees rise from £149.84 to £700 under the new rates, said he welcomed the attempt to block the increases. "The Wrexham and North Wales Licensed Victuallers Association will be supporting this bid and if we can be of any assistance we will," he said.

The BBPA said the industry was determined to tackle the proposed fee structure, although communications director Mark Hastings, added: "We are still trying to encourage PPL to sit around a table and talk turkey with us."

FLVA chief executive Tony Payne described the rises as out of all proportion but added: "We are hopeful there will be action before the changes come into effect".

PPL claimed that it had tried to ensure the rises were "fair and proportionate".

"At the end of the day pubs are using somebody else's work to enhance their business and that has to be paid for accordingly," said a spokeswoman.

  • To register your protest against the price rises contact Sally Sergeant at M&B on 0121 498 5628 or email her at s.sergeant@mbplc.com.

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