Q&A - Do I need a licence to play my home CDs in my beauty salon?

31/08/2009

Q:  I have just opened a single room beauty salon where I am the only beauty therapist. I play relaxing music to my clients on CDs that I bring from home, but one of my clients says I should have a licence. Is this correct?

A: Under the Licensing Act 2003 you would not need a public authority license as that is relevant to regulated entertainment defined as ‘any playing of recorded music’ which is for the benefit of an audience’s entertainment. This is described as ‘making music…or  dancing…or entertainment of a similar description’. As a licence is not required under the Licensing Act 2003 it also means you do not require a local authority licence.

However, under the Copyright, Designs and Patients Act 1988, which governs the rules regarding copyright, only the copyright owner has the right to play the copyrighted music in public, unless a licence is given. So if you play recorded music in public, whether pre-recorded or legally downloaded onto your own CD, you are infringing on copyright unless you purchase a PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) licence. PPL was set up by the UK's copyright owners themselves and it is through them that PPL has the legal entitlement to grant this licence. And unfortunately it doesn’t stop there, because whilst PPL administer the copyright for the performance and sound recording owned by performers and record companies, the copyright for the lyrics and composition owned by authors and music publishers is administered by a separate licensing body – the PRS (Performing Rights Society).  Licence fees are required by both.

Therefore, the answer to your question is that you do need both a PPL license and a PRS licence, even if it is just for the background music for your Salon.

Stephen Edwards

Stephen Edwards

Partner

A Partner and Head of our Criminal Law team in Wrexham

Euros Jones

Euros Jones

Partner

A Partner in our Criminal Law team in Wrexham