Jul 6, 2016

Royalty Rates for Use of Musical Works in ITV Broadcasts Determined

The Copyright Tribunal has ruled on the yearly royalty rate to be paid by ITV Network Ltd, under its licence from PRS for Music (PRS) for the use of musical copyright works in television programming and broadcasts during the years 2014 to 2017.

The tribunal took as the basis for its calculations for requirements set out in sections 126 and 129 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the criteria used in previous Copyright Tribunal decisions.

There were certain factors that it was fair and reasonable to take into account, mainly the royalty figures in previous licences between the parties; the number of hours of music that was broadcast by ITV; and ITV's audience share across the country.

It first ruled that a licence agreed between PRS and ITV in 2012 was not relevant as it was expressed to be "non-precedential". Instead a 2009 licence between the parties was used as the starting point.  The royalty from 2010, the most recent year of that licence's operation which was just over £24 million, was used, as it was the most recent indication of a freely agreed royalty rate.

The Copyright Tribunal then adjusted the base royalty for inflation by reference to the Retail Price Index and to the number of viewer hours for each relevant year. The tribunal disregarded the fact that changes to the BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board) panel were thought to have led to a rise in record viewing figures, commenting that this probably meant that there had been under-recording of viewing figures before the changes, to ITV's advantage.

Michael Simkins LLP, acting for PRS, said the Copyright Tribunal decision, "Is the most significant decision relating to such rights for almost 20 years, since the 1997 BSkyB case."

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