PPL represents record companies and its affiliated labels internationally and licenses its recorded music catalogues in a similar way.
The BBC pays millions of pounds to these organisations each year whereby no prior approval is required to use music. This arrangement is subject to the usage being reported to PRS for Music and PPL enabling them to distribute the royalties to its members.
These arrangements are commonly termed as 'blanket licences'. However, these licences are not on a carte blanche basis.
The exception to the blanket licences include:-
- Parodies (pastiche or burlesque versions of songs)
- Spoken lyrics of songs quoted in, say, a radio quiz
- Grand Right Works (stage musicals, operas, ballets, etc)
- Music used as a TV series theme tune for three or more episodes
- Cross fading of one commercial sound recording into another
In such cases, special permission must be obtained from the rights holders possibly resulting in costly fees or, even denial for the requested use which is something a producer would wish to avoid, especially if the programme has otherwise been completed.
Whilst ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky and other broadcasters have similar blanket licences with PRS for Music and PPL, each agreement has subtle differences and certainly more exceptions than the BBC agreements.
Learning more about music copyright, related rights and the clearance process must surely be a 'must' for anyone in the business of audio-visual production.
Do write and tell us of your experiences - whether good or bad. The BluePencilSet team will then pick one entry of whom the writer will be offered a free place at one of the next Music Copyright Seminars hosted by Musicalities Limited, one the UK's leading music consultancies, held in conjunction with BluePencil.