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Norwich pubs could get financial boost

PUBLISHED: 06:30 22 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:19 02 July 2010

Sue Coleman, chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Licensed Victuallers Association, at her pub The Stanley.

Sue Coleman, chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Licensed Victuallers Association, at her pub The Stanley.

Peter Walsh

Pubs, restaurants and hotels in Norwich could receive a much-needed financial boost from a share of £20m in refunds after winning a court battle over the charges they pay for playing recorded music.

Pubs, restaurants and hotels in Norwich could receive a much-needed financial boost from a share of £20m in refunds after winning a court battle over the charges they pay for playing recorded music.

The High Court upheld a ruling from a copyright tribunal that the tariffs for playing music in bars, hotels, restaurants and pubs introduced in 2005 were unfair.

The Institute of Licensing claimed the charges meant fees were increased by more than four times.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL Ltd), which represents record companies and performers, brought in the charges.

Organisations including the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) took the case to the tribunal.

The latest ruling confirms savings of around £3m a year for pubs, and also opens up the door for refunds going back to 2005 that could amount to £10m.

Sue Coleman, chair of the Norfolk and Norwich Licensed Victuallers' Association called on pubs in the area to make a claim for the money.

She said: “That's good news. We pay PPL and PRS - we're paying two music fees which is hard enough anyway. If they can get something back for us its good news. It could be very handy.

“We all have to have PPL, most of it is done through our machine supplier. My advice to anyone would be to talk to your machine supplier.”

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “This judgment confirms the victory won last November, and is another milestone which brings a step closer the prospect of substantial and fully justified refunds for pubs.

“This could not come at a more important time for our sector as we struggle to come out of recession and will allow pubs to both claim a refund and pay less going forward.”

She added: “With the appeal behind us, and pubs already benefiting from the sharply reduced charges, we are now turning our attention to helping pubs to claim the long overdue refunds to which they are entitled.”

Many pubs and restaurants play CDs as background music and - as this is classed as playing music to an audience - they are subject to the PPL charges. These aim to reward songwriters and performers whenever their work is broadcast.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), which acts on behalf of 4,400 record companies and 47,000 performers, said it was "extremely disappointed" at the decision.

A spokesman said: "This leaves PPL with tariffs that it believes substantially undervalue the rights of its performer and record company members."

The Evening News has been running a Love Your Local campaign which urges people to support their pub. To find out more log onto www.eveningnews24.co.uk

Contact campaign co-ordinator David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk if you have a story about your local pub.

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