New proposed copyright tariff for TVs in hotel bedrooms

The Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) is a licensing body representing film studios and TV production companies. This is a different body compared to music collection bodies PPL (record companies) or PRS (music writers and performers). Under UK copyright law MPLC can collect royalties on behalf of their membership, from business that show relevant content. MPLC began approaching different sectors that use televisions (pubs, bars, hotels, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers etc.) in 2016. MPLC has developed an ‘umbrella licence’, which has been in place since 2017 and runs from calendar year. There is a separate tariff for different sectors, however for hospitality businesses such as pubs, hotels and restaurants the charge is broadly similar and calculated on the area of the business where the TV is visible.

At a recent UKHospitality meeting with MPLC, the organisation has signalled its intention to introduce a new tariff for letting bedrooms. As proposed, this will bring significant costs to UKHospitality members with rooms. PPL and PRS for Music have successfully argued in the courts that hotel bedrooms come under the definition of public place for the purposes of copyright law to collect music tariffs for televisions in hotel bedrooms. MPLC have decide they will exercise their right in the near future (date as yet unspecified) to collect for the broadcast of copyrighted ‘film’ (i.e. TV programmes/motion pictures) shown on hotel televisions. Their argument is that because the value to the hotel of showing ‘film’ content is higher than that of the music accompanying such broadcasts (already paid for via PPL/PRS), the MPLC fee should be higher than that charged by these individual tariffs.

Please read the policy paper and potential options here and complete the survey by 29 June 2018, so we can gather the best possible data for use in discussions with MPLC. In addition to the data, comments and views from the membership regarding this issue are very welcome. For further information contact Jim Cathcart, Policy Director, jcathcart@ukhospitality.org.uk

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