Friday, 12 September 2008

Firms must face the music

Companies who allow staff to listen to music in the workplace should make sure they are not breaking the rules.

Our Senior Partner, Graham Davies, said the Performing Rights Society had stepped up its campaign to demand more fees from businesses who played music at work.

“They have issued a series of letters telling companies they are breaking the law if they don’t have permission to play music on site, and encouraging them to pay for a licence. But if no music is being played, or won’t be from now on, send them a letter which should close the matter for the next year.

“Don’t send a cheque if you don’t need a licence, and make sure the relevant staff in your company know they should not just automatically respond by paying the fee if it’s not necessary.”

“Homeworkers are exempt from the rules, so remote or teleworkers do not need a licence provided for them even if they use a room specifically for work. But this exemption only applies if they are on their own, and don’t see any colleagues or customers on the premises.”

“Even if your staff bring in their own radio, if it’s on your premises, it’s the premises that will need the licence and not the individual member of staff. You could of course allow staff to listen to music on their own portable equipment, via headphones, and this would be exempt from the law as it would be considered that the music is not being ‘performed’ publicly.

“But of course, for operational or health and safety reasons, this may not be appropriate, so take care with the solutions you choose.”