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States of Deliberation approve amendments to the Copyright (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance 2005 and the Performers' Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005

Removal of exemption for Charities and Non Profit Organisations in relation to sound recordings


In  July 2013, the States of Deliberation approved the repeal of certain sections of The Copyright (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2005 and to the Performers' Rights Ordinance (Bailiwick of Guernsey) 2005. This will allow Guernsey to move forward with its work on extending the Berne Convention (an international agreement on copyright) to the Bailiwick.

Under the existing legislation commercial users must obtain licenses from PRS for Music (Performing Rights Society) for the playing of recorded music. This reimburses songwriters and composers, music publishers. However, registered charitable organisations, clubs and non profit organisations including those concerned with the advancement of religion, education or social welfare are able to play sound recordings as part of their activities without the need for a licence from Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) i.e record companies and performers are not reimbursed when Bailiwick charities and non profit organisations play music in public.

Removing certain sections of legislation, will mean that the organisations detailed above will need to ensure they hold the necessary licenses from PRS for Music and PPL in the future.

N.B whilst these web pages are primarily focused on advising those organisations who have previously relied on the exemptions in the Bailiwick legislation, it is important to note that any commercial workplace, gym, public event etc that is playing music will continue to need to obtain a license and pay the necessary fee.

Why is this changing ?

It is important for intellectual property legislation to keep pace with changes to legislation internationally and to meet the standards of international conventions.

The Berne Convention is the international agreement governing copyright. There are 166 countries in the convention agreement. It provides protection for a broad field of economic activity and cultural entertainment including, lectures, musical compositions, dramatic works, cinematographic works, plans, maps, works of art, program codes for applications and computers.

Although the Berne Convention was extended to Guernsey during Queen Victoria's reign, the convention has undergone several revisions and amendments and our legislation has not been amended to keep pace with these changes.

It is necessary for the Bailiwick to achieve an extension of the Berne Convention, not just for the developing intellectual property sector in the Bailiwick, but also for the broader international business community. For example, the extension of the Convention to the Bailiwick will provide protection in the other 166 convention countries for:

· A composer who would receive copyright protection for his musical works;

· An architect who would receive copyright protection for his design plans and architectural drawings;

· An applications code writer who would receive copyright protection for the software code;

· A marketing agency who would receive protection for the copyright in their marketing material.

The full extension of the Convention to the Bailiwick will encourage enterprise and successful Guernsey businesses. In addition, it will enhance the Bailiwicks standing with the UK and in the international community relating to these valuable rights.

Local musicians and songwriters benefit from the services of PRS for Music and PPL. These licensing bodies collect fees from music users and redistribute these fees to those who created and produced the songs and music. Removing the exemption provides a fair and equitable basis on which to charge users and distribute the revenues to the music creators

In order to benefit from the Berne Convention, the Bailiwick needs to remove certain sections from the Copyright and the Performers Rights Ordinances in order to comply with international standards.

How will this affect me/my organisation?

A consultation exercise was carried out in 2011 and whilst there was considerable support from Industry, many charities and NPOs expressed their concern about the repeal of the exemptions.

These concerns included cost, potential complications in arranging events, together with a concern for clear communication and understanding with PRS and PPL. Several charities were not aware of the existing licence requirements with regard to music rights and charitable events.

It was noted that music is used by a number of charitable organisations for medical purposes such as music therapy.

PRS and PPL currently operate discretionary charging policies whereby they DO NOT make a charge for the use of music in religious services and in medical therapy and in hospices, refuges, residential homes and daycare centres where the use is deemed to be in a domestic setting use of recorded music during religious services, weddings, funerals etc and events after such services is also exempt from the need for licences. There has been agreement that this can continue.

Licenses can be granted to community buildings. So, for example, if a community building rents out space to community groups, children's parties etc music may be played under the license granted to that building.

It will be the responsibility of your organisation to check with the owner of the community or commercial building you meet in that the necessary licenses are in place.

As an alternative, licenses can be requested on an ad-hoc basis for one off events.

Please see the link below to a document providing a number of other examples.

There is also a flow diagram that can be useful.

Proposed Funding Provision

In order to mitigate the impact of any additional charges to charities and NPOs as a result of the removal of the exemptions, the Department proposes to establish a subsidy scheme (to be reviewed annually) capped at £3,000 per annum.

Any charity registered in the Bailiwick under The Charities and Non Profit Organisations (Registration) (Guernsey) Law, 2008, The Charities and Non Profit Organisations (Registration) (Sark) Law, 2010 and The Charities and Non Profit Organisations (Registration) (Guernsey and Alderney)(Amendment) Law, 2010 will be able to apply to have a proportion of their charges reimbursed up to a maximum of £100 per organisation.

What do I need to do now ?

Anyone who thinks they may be affected by this change in legislation or wishes to find out whether they need to obtain the necessary licenses to play sound recording and music should contact PRS for Music and PPL, using the contact information on the links below. PRS will act also for PPL for Community Buildings, PPL will act also for IRS for music for Sport Clubs and CCLI can act also for PRS for music and PPC for churches.

Both PRS for Music and PPL have agreed that they will grant a 'grace period' of not less than 12 months from the date of the removal of the exemptions from the legislation for organisations to obtain the necessary licenses.

N.B no retrospective action will be taken against organisations that have failed to obtain the necessary licenses in the past.

Where can I find more information?

More information can be found on the PPL and PRS for Music websites - see the links below.

Document downloads

Additional Information

Example principles for charges

Do I need a licence to play sound recordings?

Flow chart

Relevant links & information

PRS for Music

PPL website

CCLI website