UK hospitality set for legal challenge over new music license fees

Lamont Pridmore - Accountants

UK Hospitality and the British Beer & Pub Association (BPPA) are set to launch a legal challenge over plans to increase music license fees.

The legal action comes as a result of the licensing company Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) announcing plans to introduce a new ‘specially featured entertainment’ (SFE) tariff that applies to hospitality businesses that host events featuring DJs.

The tax could increase fees by average of 130 per cent for venues, according to UK Hospitality. This would result in the sector having to pay an additional £49 million per year.

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, said:Significant increases to PPL’s tariffs will be devastating for many venues already struggling to cope with increasing costs.

“Margins are shrinking, costs are increasing and many venues simply are not going to be able to pass these costs on or swallow them.

“UKHospitality has been leading the fight to ensure that any increases remain fair, proportionate and affordable.

“That is why we are spearheading a legal challenge, alongside the BBPA, to make sure that fees cannot be arbitrarily raised to exorbitant levels.

“Pushing PPL fees sky-high does nobody any favours. If venues can no longer afford the cost of a licence, PPL is, ultimately, shooting itself in the foot.”

The case is set to be referred to the Copyright Tribunal for independent review.