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Charity and community


Do I need a licence?

If you, or people using your facilities, use music for the benefit of customers, visitors or staff, by law you need permission from the relevant copyright owners. But don’t worry, to get permission you simply need a licence from PRS for Music, and in most cases, one from PPL too.


Who are PRS for Music and PPL?

PRS for Music collects and distributes licence fees for the use of musical compositions and lyrics on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers. PPL collects and distributes licence fees for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers.

In most instances, a music licence is required from both organisations when you play recorded music in public. More information can be found here.


Who is responsible for arranging our music licences?

The proprietor of the premises is normally responsible for arranging the correct licences. So, if you own or manage your own premises you should contact us to arrange a licence if you, or anyone else, is using music in your premises.

If you are using someone else’s premises, for example if you hire a hall once a week or use a local authority’s premises, then the proprietor should arrange a licence to cover your music use. You should check with them that a licence is in place.

If you are running an event which is not in fixed premises, for example, in a park or in the street, you will probably be responsible for arranging your own PRS for Music licence to permit your music use.

 

How much does a PRS for Music licence cost?

A number of factors determine how much charities and community groups pay - these include your type of premises and the way you want to play music, for example background or live music.

We want charity and community groups to take advantage of the benefits music can bring and we want to ensure our charges are fair and reasonable. In some circumstances we decide to discount or not charge for the use of our music. For example, we don’t charge when music is used for divine worship or in premises such as hospices. Our charging policies are available here.

Below are some examples of music use in charity and community organisations where discounts or charging policies may apply:


Events run by charity and community groups - we offer a discount scheme for small charity and community events that meet certain conditions. We also offer guidelines for charging carnivals and parades. For more information please contact us.


Community buildings - we offer a joint licence with PPL for eligible community buildings, such as village halls, which are run by voluntary organisations. Buildings that are not eligible can be licensed separately by PRS for Music and PPL. Those responsible for running community buildings should visit our joint licensing page for more information or contact us directly.


Healthcare premises - we choose not to charge for some areas within hospitals and clinics that use music during treatment. Please see our policy here. Other healthcare premises such as GP and dental surgeries are not eligible for this policy. They should contact us directly or visit our health page for more information.


Religious buildings - we do not charge for music used in divine worship, wedding ceremonies, civil wedding and partnership ceremonies, funerals or in funeral homes.

Christian churches, church halls and Christian bookshops are licensed on our behalf through Christian Copyright Licensing International - ccli.co.uk. Large ticketed events and any church that hosts more than six concerts or recitals per year should contact us directly - as should religious buildings of other denominations.


Members’ clubs and sports clubs – not-for-profit clubs that are run by committees (such as working men’s clubs, amateur sports clubs and political and social clubs) require a licence under our members' club tariff and should contact us directly for more information.


Schools - our tariff for primary and secondary schools includes music used by not-for-profit community groups with up to 40 audience members, at no extra charge to the school. If you are holding a larger event in a school please contact us directly. Please visit our educational establishments page for more information.


Further and higher education premises – we charge the host premises for all events separately. Please visit our universities page for more information.


Businesses and offices run by charities - our standard charges apply for these premises. Please visit the specific industry page on the left for more information.

 


How do I get a licence?

Call 0800 068 4828 to speak to our licensing team for a bespoke quote or to find out more. Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Alternatively, fill in your details here and we’ll contact you.

 


PRS for Music licences cover the majority of music originating from the UK and all over the world. However, if you play music outside of PRS for Music’s control, you may need an additional licence from the relevant copyright owner(s). You will also require a TV licence if you are using a TV in your premises. In the unlikely event that all the music you play is out of copyright or is not controlled by PRS for Music, you do not need a PRS for Music licence.

All music licences are required under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. It stipulates you must gain the permission of the copyright owner if you play music in public. 

 

 

This section of our website provides advice on the licensing requirement to charity and community groups using music, in their premises and at their events.

 

 

 

We understand that many people working for charity and community organisations are volunteers, and that, often, those volunteers are not familiar with copyright licensing.  So we appreciate you taking the time to find out more.

You’ll find lots of information here but you might prefer to speak to someone to get advice.  Please call us on 0845 309 3090 – we’ll answer any questions you have and there is no obligation for you to give us your details.

The information here is specifically about charity and community groups –general information about PRS for Music can be found under the Find Out More menu on the right.

Information in this section (click to go straight there):

 

Four steps to understanding the licensing requirement

Including information for:

Community buildings

Healthcare premises

Members’ clubs and sports clubs

Religious buildings

Colleges and universities

Schools

Businesses and offices run by charities

Events run by charity and community groups

Your questions answered

Our approach to licensing Charity and Community groups 

 

 

Four simple steps to understanding the licensing requirement

 

STEP ONE: Do you need to get a licence?

Firstly you need to consider whether you are responsible for arranging a licence with PRS for Music.

For premises, the proprietor is normally responsible for arranging a licence.  So if you own or manage your own premises, you should contact us to arrange a licence if you, or anyone else, is using music in your premises.

If you are using someone else’s premises, for example if you hire a hall once a week or use a local authority premises, then the proprietor should arrange a licence to cover your music use.  You may want to check with them that a licence is in place.

If you are running an event which is not in a fixed premises, for example, in a park, on your village green or in the street, you will probably be responsible for arranging a PRS for Music licence to permit your music use.

 

STEP TWO:  Do we charge for your music use?

There are some circumstances where we choose not to make any charge for our licence.  For example, we don’t charge for music used as part of divine worship or for music use in premises such as hospices.

See here for full details of all the circumstances for which we do not charge.

 

STEP THREE: How much will my licence cost?

We have a number of tariffs tailored to meet the needs of different types of premises and events.  Wherever possible our tariffs have been agreed with representative bodies, or they have been set by the independent Copyright Tribunal.

 

Community buildings: run by voluntary organisations and serving the community (not including buildings run by a local authority or statutory body). Our Tariff CB applies to community buildings and was agreed as “best compromise” in 2000 with Action with Rural Communities in England (ACRE), Community Matters and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.A recent change in the law in 2011 meant that community buildings playing recorded music in public are, in almost all cases, required to hold a PPL licence as well as a PRS for Music licence. As of January 2012 PRS for Music is administering a new joint music licence for community buildings which incorporates charges from both organisations. PRS for Music remains the single point of contact for the joint licence.

Existing customers who took out a community building licence before 2012 will be converted to the joint licence. Find out more details about these changes. If your music use is very low and your income is disproportionately high, you could opt to be charged using Tariff GP (effective 1 July 2013) and pay only for the specific devices and events that require a licence. Let us know if you think this might be the case.

 

Healthcare premises: Such as hospitals and clinics

We do not charge for music use in many areas of hospitals and clinics – see here for details.

For all other healthcare premises and music uses, please contact us.

 

Members’ clubs and sports clubs: such as working men’s clubs, amateur sports clubs and political and social clubs, which are not-for-profit and run by committees.

Our Tariff JMC applies to members’ clubs and was negotiated with CORCA (representing various groups) and set by the Copyright Tribunal in 1987.  The structure of the tariff is based on that used for proprietary clubs, with annual charges for background music and separate charges for events using featured music.

 

Religious buildings

We do not make a charge for music used as part of divine worship.  We also make no charge for music used as part of wedding ceremonies, civil wedding and partnership ceremonies, funerals or in funeral homes. See here for details.

For your convenience, Christian churches, church halls and Christian bookshops are licensed by Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) on our behalf, with charges starting from around £20. Charges are based on the size of congregation and cover the majority of music used on the premises.  Large ticketed events and any church with more than 6 concerts or recitals per year may be licensed directly by PRS for Music.

For more information about the PRS for Music Church Licence please visit CCLI’s website: www.ccli.co.uk 

Religious buildings for other denominations should contact us directly.

 

Colleges and universities

Information for educational establishments is available here.  Any events held in colleges and universities need to be included on their licence.

 

Schools

Information for educational establishments is available here.  If you use a school hall on a regular basis, the school’s licence covers all background music use and featured music use by not-for-profit community groups with up to 40 audience members, at no extra charge to the school.  If you are holding a larger event in a school – see the events section below.

 

Businesses and offices run by charities

If you run a premises which might compete with other businesses, such as a cinema or a shop, or if you play music in your office, we will charge you the same tariffs as similar premises.  Please see our separate pages for:

Cinemas

Offices

Restaurants

Shops

Or here for the full list

 

Events run by charity and community groups

If you are running an event which is not in a fixed premises, for example in a park, on your village green or in the street, you will probably be responsible for arranging a licence to cover your music use.  Our standard tariffs for music events apply.

Please contact us to discuss your event and the charges which will apply.

We have introduced a new discount scheme for charity and community events, allowing organisers to apply for a discount (conditions apply). View details of the scheme and the application form.

You can also find information for local authorities here.

You can find charging guidelines for carnivals and parades here.

If you can’t see your premises type listed here or if you’re not sure which definition your premises would fall under, please call us.

 

STEP FOUR: Get in touch

If you are ready to arrange your licence, or if you have any further questions, contact us.

 

Your questions answered

There are lots of FAQs available under the Find Out More menu.  And you can ring us for advice, with no obligation to give us your contact details.  We have decades of experience in licensing Charity and Community groups, so you can be sure that we will answer your questions with understanding and consideration.

 

Do Charity and Community groups need a licence?

Yes.  Whenever our copyright music is played outside the domestic environment, a licence from PRS for Music is required.

In fact, one of the most important cases which set copyright precedent concerned a Women’s Institute meeting, where a performance was given by members to other members of the group (Jennings v Stephens 1936).  The court decided that this was a public performance.  From that judgement it emerged that, for copyright purposes, every entertainment should be regarded as public unless it takes place within the domestic circle or home life of the audience. The judgement made it clear that, for example, the following considerations are immaterial: the nature of the premises and audience; whether admission is free or conditional upon payment of an annual subscription; whether the audience is limited to members of a club or other organisation; whether the performers are paid or unpaid and whether they are members of an organisation.

 

I thought there was an exemption for charity and community groups in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 ('CDPA').

Until January 2011 Sections 67 and 72 of the CDPA exempted Third Sector organisations from Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) music licensing in certain circumstances. These exemptions did not apply to PRS for Music licensing.

From 1st January 2011 not-for-profit organisations using recorded music will need a PPL licence, however, PPL is giving a grace period of one year for charities to allow them time to adjust to the new arrangements. 

The changes have come into effect following a government consultation which announced the removal of the two music licensing exceptions in the CDPA relating to organisations in the not-for-profit sector. The removal of these exceptions brings the UK in line with the rest of Europe and gives performers and record companies the same rights as songwriters, composers and music publishers in the UK.

PPL and PRS for Music are developing a pilot joint scheme for community buildings, which will be in place once the grace period ends. Until then PRS for Music licence requirements remain unchanged and licensees currently holding PRS for Music licence do not need to do anything and their terms and conditions remain in place until further notice. 

For more information about PPL licensing the not-for-profit sector please go to www.ppluk.com or contact them on notforprofit@ppluk.com.

 

We haven’t had a licence before.  I’m really worried that I’ll get in trouble or that my organisation will have high outstanding charges to pay if I try to arrange a licence.

Firstly, don’t worry.  If you contact us now, we’ll sort out your licence and we’ll waive any outstanding charges for prior years.

Normally, if you have been using music without a licence, a Higher Royalty charge applies in the first year of your licence (standard charge plus 50%).  You may also be liable for charges for music used in prior years.  However, we are currently offering a special arrangement for Charity and Community premises, to allow them to get their licences up-to-date.  If you contact us now, and assuming we haven’t contacted you previously about a licence, we will waive the higher charge and any outstanding charges for previous years.  Conditions apply – please contact us for details.

 

We simply can’t afford to pay the licence fee.

If you are having real financial difficulty, please let us know.  We will check the assessment of your charges and discuss payment options with you.

 

I need a bit more help to understand this information.

We know that some of our customers, for different reasons, may need some extra support to understand what may seem like complicated information.  Please make us aware of your needs, and we’ll do everything we can to help.  For example, if you find it difficult to download web documents, you can send them to you by post. 

 

 

Our approach to licensing Charity and Community groups

The licence fees we collect represent the income of music writers and publishers in the UK and around the world.  Many of our members rely on their income from royalties and we believe that they should be free to choose the charities they wish to support after they have been paid.

However, we also want to ensure that the need for a music licence does not prevent Charities and Community groups from using music and that our charges are always fair and reasonable.  We also understand that many of organisations are run by volunteers who don’t want to spend all day filling out forms.

So, wherever possible, we tailor our tariffs to meet the needs of Charity and Community groups.

 

Many of the tariffs for community organisations have a single ‘all-inclusive’ charge allowing almost unlimited music use for a single payment.

In addition, we have responsible charging policies, and in some circumstances we decide not to make a charge for the use of our music.  See here for details.

If you ever concerned about the cost of your licence or if you are having any difficulty paying your licence fee, please get in touch and let us know.

  

 
Benefits of using music

According to MusicWorks research, playing music creates the right atmosphere for your visitors and helps motivate your staff.

Find out more about how music at work benefits your business 

 
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PRS for Music moved in November 2014, which may affect the way you contact us. Visitgeneral enquiries to find out how to get in touch.