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Thread: Public Performance License and your Scout Hut

  1. #241
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    I'd say not quite a scam, but the problem is that they have been given a monopoly over charging for the right to use any copyrighted music. So they are free to set as high a price as they like, because the only other (legal) choice is to do without music. There's no mechanism to make them set a reasonable price and there's no mechanism to make them be at all flexible in cases where their normal tariffs give ridiculous results. In our case, PRS wanted more than 500 on the community buildings tariff, so I've been forced to use their GP tariff, which means I have to do an annual return declaring each event that had used music during the year.
    It's about 10/song.
    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    Up to 5000 people: 508 with a 50% discount. Plus VAT.

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  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    Up to 5000 people: 508 with a 50% discount. Plus VAT.
    Blimey! That must raise some serious money! And require huge organisation with marshals and first aiders and so on. We go for something a bit easier to run.

  3. #243
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    I'd say not quite a scam, but the problem is that they have been given a monopoly over charging for the right to use any copyrighted music. So they are free to set as high a price as they like, because the only other (legal) choice is to do without music. There's no mechanism to make them set a reasonable price and there's no mechanism to make them be at all flexible in cases where their normal tariffs give ridiculous results. In our case, PRS wanted more than 500 on the community buildings tariff, so I've been forced to use their GP tariff, which means I have to do an annual return declaring each event that had used music during the year.
    If you have paid the bill then you have set the precedent and it will be more difficult to get a better deal.

    If you have sole use of the building, then you can knock the tariff right down. They tried to claim tariff on our subs. I argued them to a standstill and got the ruling in black and white - but don't ask me for it now - it all went in the box of papers that was handed over to the DC - I'd guess they binned it.

    Do not let them bully you into paying more than you ought to. Stand your ground, agree to pay something, but make sure you pay the least possible and get the best possible deal.
    Ewan Scott

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  4. #244
    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    Blimey! That must raise some serious money! And require huge organisation with marshals and first aiders and so on. We go for something a bit easier to run.
    We break even after about 17k.

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  5. #245
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    What I object to is the need for a PRS/PLL if you are only playing a radio station as radio stations already pay fees for playing the music they pay so you are paying twice for the same thing.

    Peter Andrews ESL of Headingley Pirates ESU, Group Scout Leader & Webmaster of Falkoner Scout Group
    www.falkonerscouts.org.uk

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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Do not let them bully you into paying more than you ought to. Stand your ground, agree to pay something, but make sure you pay the least possible and get the best possible deal.
    I argued long and hard (inspired by your success, discussed a few years ago), but they would not back down at all, in my case. In the end, I decided it was easier just to do the annual return. I pay about 130 per year.

    PPL were much more reasonable and said I could go on their miscellaneous tariff, which is just a flat 120 per year, with no need to report actual usage.
    Last edited by IvanOpinion; 18-10-2016 at 07:05 PM.

  7. #247
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    I argued long and hard (inspired by your success, discussed a few years ago), but they would not back down at all, in my case. In the end, I decided it was easier just to do the annual return. I pay about 130 per year.

    PPL were much more reasonable and said I could go on their miscellaneous tariff, which is just a flat 120 per year, with no need to report actual usage.
    Ah, so you paid them separately? I have not looked - since I now have no need, but the Joint PRS/PLL was cheaper than doing them independently.

    It is wrong that there is no cohesive approach on this from TSA. This is the sort of thing that they should be dealing with on your behalf.
    Ewan Scott

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  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Ah, so you paid them separately?
    Yes. If I had done the joint Community Buildings tariff we would have been paying 1000 a year! The problem is that the CB tariff was designed to suit village halls and community centres. For them, it is fine to calculate the fee as a percentage of the total income of the hall owner, because all the income will relate to hiring out the hall. But for scout groups, there are all kinds of other income, so you get to silly figures, such as the 1000 they thought we should pay.

    They aren't interested in being flexible or fair. For instance, a nursery school will use hours of music, every day, for 200+ days per year. Yet they pay 45 flat rate tariff. Our hall uses less music in a year than a nursery school uses in a week. Yet apparently PRS saw no problem with us having to pay 1000 and had no interest in agreeing to exclude certain scout group income so that the figures worked out to sensible amounts.

    Ideally, yes, TSA would negotiate a specific tariff for scout huts, where the fee formula recognises that the main music uses for which a licence is required at a scout hut are (a) section christmas parties and one or two other section parties during the year, (b) a handful of fundraising events, such as fireworks, (c) section film nights, (d) hirers such as aerobics classes, who use copyright music. Only a handful of section meetings per year include any music. Most hirers do not use music at all (art club, bridge club, upholstery classes) or use music that is royalty-free (pilates, yoga) or are hires to people who want a venue for a party attended only by family/friends, which PRS and PPL graciously allow to use music without a licence (although they appear to insist that they could charge, if they wanted to). But I can see that it would not be at all easy to negotiate this, as PRS has all the bargaining power and little incentive to compromise.

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  10. #249
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    Isn't that basically what Ewan did - he created a subset of his accounts that related to the running of the building only (not other aspects of the Group), and got them to accept that?

  11. #250
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Isn't that basically what Ewan did - he created a subset of his accounts that related to the running of the building only (not other aspects of the Group), and got them to accept that?
    Yes, although my experience is that I couldn't get a similar ad-hoc deal, despite a lot of effort.

    PRS's argument is that the community buildings tariff was negotiated in order to save village halls from the hassle of tracking every use of music over the year and paying on an a la carte basis. So they came up with a simple percentage of income and the percentage was set on the basis of the average income of a community hall and the average licence fee that community halls end up paying under the pay per use basis. So, for an average community hall, this gives the right answer.

    Trouble is, this is based on averages, so there will be some (non-average) halls that end up paying a lot less than they should under the pay per use basis and some that pay a lot more. For PRS, that's fine, because their total fees from halls is the same. If they give concessions to those halls that end up paying silly amounts, they would end up with total fees less than the average.
    Last edited by IvanOpinion; 19-10-2016 at 10:13 AM.

  12. #251
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    I played "hard ball" and won.

    They were adamant that they wanted,to include our subs and activity revenue in their tally. I told them that I would happily see them in court first. I had an idea of what I thought was "fair" and I kept that in mind and I harangued them, and argued with them and I think at one point I even said, "We are not paying you a tax on our activities. So this is the element of our revenue that we will pay the PRS/PLL on. If that is not good enough, then let the courts decide."

    They base their fees on the revenue that you have at your hall - They tried to include subs - I told them they had no right to tax our subs as they were a revenue that we would have whether we played music or not. So they wanted to base it on our activity revenue. Again, I asked why they should get money based on our kayaking, or pioneering, or archery. They conceded that too. I agreed that if we took a gate fee at an event where we played music, then they were due a fee. Well, we made no charge for our Gala, so that left just the gate fee from the Bonfire Party - which they found was not what they expected.

    If you hire out the hall to another group that, then that does complicate the issue. But you then have to put a surcharge onto their fees to cover the cost that you incurr as a result of them using the hall.

    I was never against a licence fee, just against the way they calculated it.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





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  14. #252
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    Im not saying for one second you've not done the right thing, but Im Not sure you can class it as winning when you as a charity pay money just to play music you've already paid for, to a non-profit group of children, while 99.9% of similar charity groups just don't pay it at all.

    Winning would be the government exempting charities from this mess altogether, or at the very least the SA coming to some national agreement with them.

  15. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    They were adamant that they wanted,to include our subs and activity revenue in their tally. I told them that I would happily see them in court first. I had an idea of what I thought was "fair" and I kept that in mind and I harangued them, and argued with them and I think at one point I even said, "We are not paying you a tax on our activities. So this is the element of our revenue that we will pay the PRS/PLL on. If that is not good enough, then let the courts decide."
    I think our trustees would have kittens if I said see you in court! But interesting that PRS backed down when you did. Can we infer that they were not sure they would win? Or just that they did not want the hassle and the adverse publicity?

    For our group, part of the problem is that our hire fee income is around 25k pa, so even if PRS agreed to apply the joint CB tariff on that only, we would still be paying more than 500. But our hirers use very little music that needs a licence, so the hire fee income is not a valid basis for a fair charge to us. Yoga and pilates use royalty-free music. Only one aerobics class, so we pay PRS about 1.70 per class for this, and the teacher reimburses us, so it costs us nothing. Almost all the other uses that require licences are our scout group: section parties, film nights, sleepovers and fundraising events. In fact, for us, it would be better if they applied the CB tariff to our subscriptions only, as they are about 10k.

    Perhaps that's why a special scouts deal is hard to negotiate, because scout groups are not homogenous, so no standard tariff would give a fair result for all scout groups.

  16. #254
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanOpinion View Post
    I think our trustees would have kittens if I said see you in court! But interesting that PRS backed down when you did. Can we infer that they were not sure they would win? Or just that they did not want the hassle and the adverse publicity?
    I played on the basis that A/ they were wrong and B/ They would shie away from the publicity C/ The way they operate is to send what is esentially a pay or desist warning - so the chances of it going further than that were pretty slim and there was always room to apply the brakes and desist from playing music anyway.

    They also backed down on charging roylaties for campfire singing...

    Not long after this, I walked in on my BSL playing a Disney video to our Beavers... To say I wasn't best pleased was an understatement. (Our District had offered to get the Film licence for the District if all the Groups contributed 15. Only two groups were prepared to pay, so we had no licence... ( Mind you, I think District could have afforded the 150!)
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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