Licensing

Health clubs and leisure centres can apply for the following licences through ukactive:

MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Company)

Following changes in Copyright Law in June 2016, an MPLC licence is required from January 2017 for health clubs/leisure centres who show TV programmes and/or films on their premises.

ukactive has negotiated the following deal on behalf of the industry:

  • a flat rate tariff of £237.50 per site per year
  • 10% discount for ukactive members (reduced to £213.75)
  • Six month grace period (July 2016 – Dec 2016)
  • Flexible payment options

PPL ‘Exercise to Music’ Tariff (PPLPP222)

Since 1st May 2013, it has been the responsibility of operators of fitness centres to hold a licence to cover ETM Fitness Classes conducted on their premises.

Licence Fees

  • 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018 = £1.51 (plus vat) per class

ukactive members will receive a 10% discount on this tariff. For a full explanation of the tariff, please refer to the Useful Documents.  If you wish to apply for a licence please contact our licensing team.

Please note, if you also play music in the ‘background’ on your premises, this is a separate tariff and you need to organise this through PPL. ukactive are not able to licence you for the ‘background music’ tariff.

VPL (Video Performance Ltd)

A VPL licence is required if you are using Zoom Media’s TV network channel.

This licence covers you for the public performance of music videos.

PPL FAQs

What is PPL?

Phonographic Performance Ltd is the UK-based music licensing company which grants copyright licenses for the public performance of recorded music. PPL carries out this role on behalf of thousands of recording artists and record companies.

What is the difference between PPL and PRS for Music?

PPL grants copyright licences of behalf of recording artists and record companies whereas PRS for Music grants copyright licences on behalf of composers, songwriters and publishers for the public performance of their musical and lyrical works. As these works generally are featured on the recorded music in PPL’s repertoire, licences from both PPL and PRS for Music usually are required when recorded music are played in public.

How has PPL changed?

From 1st May 2013 liability for classes in fitness centres has transferred from instructors to the operators of the premises. Instructors remain responsible for all classes they operate outside of fitness centres.

What legal right do PPL have to enforce these fees?

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, you need the copyright owner’s permission to play sound recordings (ie recorded music) in public. PPL grants this permission on behalf of copyright owners.

What happens if I am holding classes using copyright music and don't have this licence?

You will not be licensed to play copyright music and and may be acting unlawfully. It is unfair to licensees who act lawfully and are licensed if unlicensed public performances take place.

As of 1st May 2014, PPL have introduced the use of a surcharge for those users who are unlicensed when they use PPL’s recorded music. The use of a surcharge has been approved by the Copyright Tribunal which ruled that there should be a 50% increase in the annual licence fee for a site playing PPL’s recorded music without a licence. The Tribunal said that such a surcharge acts as a deterrent and compensates the licensor for the considerable administrative effort in detecting unauthorised performances. A 50% surcharge can be applied for copyright users who fail to obtain a licence (or renew their licence) in advance of playing PPL’s recorded music.

How will I know if my facility is playing PPL's copyright music?

The vast majority of record companies trading in the UK have transferred the public performance right in their recorded music to PPL. You can check if your music is PPL repertoire by checking on PPL’s website – www.ppluk.com

Why is ukactive working with PPL?

ukactive has taken action to support its members and the sector as a whole, and to ensure operators get the best deal. A condition of the ukactive members’ discount is that ukactive supports the collection of PPL dues.

How is ukactive supporting its members and the industry as a whole?

Over a four year period ukactive has negotiated to prevent excessive increases to PPL licencing in the manner we have seen in Australia. ukactive has created the best possible rate for the sector with a further discount for our members.

Do non-members receive the same discount as ukactive members?

Only ukactive members are able to receive this unique discount. Please telephone us to find how much discount you could get by becoming a member of ukactive.

How is the cost of the PPL licence calculated?

It is based on the number of classes run at a facility over a 12 month period.

Can I recover the cost of PPL from my instructors?

From 1st May 2013 instructors are no longer be liable for PPL fees at your premises. Recouping costs from instructors is a matter for operators to decide.

Who is responsible for the licence for classes in an exercise or fitness centre conducted by third party hirers of a studio?

As of 1st May 2013, the exercise/fitness centre is responsible for the licence for all classes within its premises and in its studios excepting only those classes taking place in a part of the premises that is managed and operated as a completely independent facility on an on-going basis or for an extended period.

My company only uses freelancers with their own PPL licences. Where do we stand?

From 1st May 2013 liability for classes in fitness centres has transferred from instructors to the operators of the premises and this includes classes which are operated by freelance instructors. Instructors remain responsible for all classes they operate outside of fitness centres.

Our number of classes goes up and down every month so how can we declare an accurate figure for the year?

Fitness centres should assess their records and existing class schedules to calculate the expected number of classes for the forthcoming year. The centre should make a reasonable assessment to reflect potential changes in schedules and occasions where studios are hired. If you need to apply for adjustments at the end of the licence you will need to provide documentary evidence that clearly verifies the revised annual total for the prior licence period. The evidence should therefore contain the relevant weekly, monthly or quarterly detail with the fullest information available to be supplied on the type of music used (ie PPL music, cover version, no music).

When do I need to pay?

Payment is due before the start date of your licence. In the event of non-payment, there will be a 28 day grace period, after which invoices will be subject to removal of the ukactive member discount.

This tariff also includes a 50% surcharge for instructors and fitness centres who fail to obtain a licence (or renew their licence) in advance of playing PPL’s recorded music. PPL can and will take further legal action as necessary.

Can I pay in instalments?

We can accept your payment by direct debit in four instalments due over the first months of the licence period.

Will I be able to apply for a refund if I close/sell a club part way through the year.

ukactive will do its utmost to secure refunds. However, the decision to refund will be made by PPL. Refunds are subject to an administration fee.

What is the definition of a Fitness Centre?

This means any public or private exercise or leisure centre whether operated as a business, by a Local Authority, Leisure Trust, on a voluntary basis or otherwise (including, without limitation, gymnasiums, leisure centres, health clubs, aquatic centres, recreation centres, sport centres, incidental fitness amenities and speciality centres.)

My facility isn't a Fitness Centre but we do hire out the sportshall to instructors who have their own PPL licences.

If you’re not a Fitness Centre you are not required to hold a licence for ‘Exercise to Music’ classes. Please email ppl@ukactive.org.uk so we can check this and remove you from our records. You should ensure that anyone hiring your facility for ‘Exercise to Music’ classes is correctly licensed.

What is the definition of a Fitness Class?

A Fitness Class is a form of group exercise conducted in a class environment including, without limitation, the following types of classes: aerobics, keep fit, step, dance-exercise, group cycling/spin, strength/resistance, hybrid, boxing/combat, flexilibity/stretching/abdominal (including yoga and pilates), speciality, aqua and age/lifestyle, whether or not such class is presented by a Fitness Instructor, video instruction or otherwise.

Is a PPL Licence required for Zumba classes?

The music supplied by the official Zumba organisation via the Zumba Instructor Network (‘ZIN’) contains Zumba’s specially created music. Therefore if you only use ZIN music in a class then a PPL Licence is not required.

However. many instructors often play additional music from PPL’s repertoire during a class, often for warm-ups or warm-downs. There are also a number of organisations that provide music containing PPL’s repertoire for classes billed as Zumba classes but which are not affiliated with the official Zumba organisation or its ZIN programme. Consequently in these cases an instructor will require a PPL Licence for their class.

Some of our classes only play cover versions, so are these classes exempt from a PPL licence?

Some companies do specifically create and supply recorded music that is not subject to PPL control (e.g. cover versions or ‘royalty free’ music). A PPL licence is therefore not required when that recorded music is played in public. Customers should seek confirmation from the supplier of their music in the first instance as to whether it contains PPL repertoire or not. For the avoidance of doubt as to whether a particular source or supplier contains music which is subject to PPL’s control customers may also contact PPL for further assistance.

I use only 'royalty-free' music in my exercise classes.

There are a number of companies that provide music for use in exercise classes that does not incorporate any recorded music that is controlled by PPL. If operators use only this music then a PPL licence is not required.

Why do we need a licence for music played in yoga and pilates classes?

An activity or class is considered Exercise To Music both if the music specifically directs, aids or motivates the activity or if the music is deliberately selected to accompany the activity. For example, a Pilates class where music is used to accompany and create an atmosphere for the session is considered Exercise To Music and is licensable under the PPL tariff in exactly the same way as a STEP or spinning class.

Do ukactive have procedures in place to ensure that operators are declaring accurate class numbers?

A rolling audit process will be conducted throughout the year, including random assessment of class numbers and requests to supply documentation to verify the accuracy of the return that you have made.

MPLC FAQs

Who are MPLC?

The Motion Picture Licensing Company is a copyright licensing agency representing over 850 film studios and television production companies. MPLC operates in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Why am I being asked to buy an MPLC Licence?

In June 2016 there was a change in copyright law which means that operators now require a licence to show television programmes and/or films on their premises.

Why is ukactive working with MPLC?

In the same way that we have worked with PPL on their ‘exercise to music’ tariff, we have worked with MPLC to get the best deal for ukactive members and the industry.

I already pay for a TV Licence. Why do I need an MPLC Licence as well?

Your TV Licence covers the use and installation of TV receiving equipment at the premises specified on the licence. It doesn’t cover business premises for the public performance of copyright material contained within films and television programmes.

Why am I being asked to pay from January 2017?

The change to the law happened in June 2016. ukactive and MPLC agreed that a grace period would be given for the period July – December 2016.

I do not provide film screenings or television programmes for my customers to watch. Does that mean I don’t need this licence?

Correct, but you will need to declare this to ukactive so we can update our records.

I read that this licence only applies to venues who do not charge an entrance fee. My customers pay a membership fee so why do I need this licence?

Although users of fitness facilities may pay a membership fee, they are not charged an entrance fee for the purpose of viewing TV/film broadcasts. This is covered in clause 3b of section 72 CDPA:

(3) The following shall not be regarded as having paid for admission to a place—

(b) persons admitted as members of a club or society where the payment is only for membership of the club or society and the provision of facilities for seeing or hearing broadcasts is only incidental to the main purposes of the club or society.

Are there any TV channels which don’t require an MPLC Licence?

An MPLC licence is not required for the following channels providing the screens are locked to these channels:
  • BT Sport
  • Sky Sports
  • News Channels
  • Music channels
  • Zoom Media (a VPL licence covers you for the film copyright contained in music videos)
If you provide any other channels you will still need the MPLC licence.

Do I still need an MPLC licence if we are based in a hotel?

If the fitness centre is owned and managed by the hotel, they will be covered under a different tariff. Please contact MPLC for more information.

Do I still need an MPLC licence if we are a corporate gym?

If the facilities in a corporate setting are self-managed (ie not contracted out) please contact MPLC as this will be covered under a different tariff. If the facilities are contracted out please apply for the licence through ukactive.

Do I still need an MPLC licence if I have screens on the cardio equipment only?

Yes, if there are screens on the equipment showing television programmes and/or films then an MPLC licence is required.

What if I do not provide customers with live, real time broadcast television/films?

An MPLC licence is still required whether you show television programmes/films when they’re broadcast live, or on demand (ie downloads/streaming/DVD/Blu-ray).

What are the penalties for screening television programmes or films without the MPLC licence?

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act prescribes damages for infringement of copyright that may subject you to substantial fines and penalties.

Who would prosecute?

The Federation Against Copyright Theft Organisation (FACT). They work with the Police, Trading Standards and Customs and Excise departments to investigate and prosecute illegal showings on behalf of the film and TV industry.

Do you offer a payment plan?

We can accept payment by direct debit over four consecutive months.

How do I apply for the MPLC licence?

Please email ukactive’s licensing team by sending an email at licensing@ukactive.org.uk

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