PPL, one of the bodies which collects copyright royalties for the public playing of music (along with PRS) has launched a consultation on Draft Codes of Conduct, due to be finalised in November 2012. The draft Code for Licensees includes general information about PPL; the status of the Code; their Customer Service; tariffs and licences; and comments, feedback and complaints.

The Code is drafted to comply with the British Copyright Council’s Principles for Collective Rights Management Organisations’ Codes of Conduct. This is a voluntary, self – regulatory framework to establish a set of principles of good practice as the basis for Codes of Conduct. It does not have statutory force.

The draft Code states PPL commit to acting in accordance with certain standards of service, promptly, transparently, fairly and consistently, with respect for personal information and in accordance with the Code. However, it does not seem that the Code will alter how PPL actually deal with businesses on a day to basis.

The Code clearly states

“Where we believe in good faith, based on the information available to us about the use of recorded music at your business, that you require a PPL licence, we will follow up with you, to help you put the appropriate licence in place for your business. If we believe we have the necessary information to determine the applicable PPL tariff(s) and calculate your licence fee, we will send out an invoice accompanied by explanatory information and details of how to contact us if you have any queries or if anything is incorrect.”

Our clients often express that the most frustrating aspect of their dealings with PPL is that they will unilaterally send invoices out based on incorrect or incomplete information with unclear explanations as to how and why the calculations have been made. The draft Code does not appear to deal with those concerns. P

PL have, of course, also consulted recently on their tariff for specially featured entertainment. If you have any queries or comments on either of the consultations, please contact us.