Pubs, restaurants and hotels across the country could share up to £20m in refunds after the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) won a High Court legal battle over the charges they pay to play recorded music.
Phonographic Performance (PPL) appealed against a decision by the Copyright Tribunal which ruled that its tariff increases were unreasonable. The BHA said that the tariffs, which were applied retrospectively back to 2005-2006, represented an increase of up to 403%. The Copyright Tribunal allowed only a 10% all-round increase plus inflation (RPI).
The Tribunal also ordered that refunds should be given to all businesses that had paid over the odds since the new tariffs were introduced - a figure estimated at around £15-£20m. Annual savings for the hospitality industry in the future were estimated at £5m.
But High Court Appeal Judge Mr Justice Arnold dismissed PPL's appeal and ruled in favour of the BHA and the BBPA.
Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the BHA, said: "This successful result shows, once again, the importance of having a strong trade association to defend the industry's interests, given the enormous amount of time and effort needed to fight these cases."
By Neil Gerrard
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