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ukactive has staged a key intervention to save UK gym operators thousands of pounds in the face of new legislation around the use of video content on commercial premises.

The physical activity sector body has led successful discussions with licensing authorities to substantially reduce the cost to gyms as a result of these new changes, as well as delaying their implementation.

Following recent changes in legislation, health club operators which show TV and film content on their premises were facing significant charges for the use of this content – under a similar model to how PPL and PRS are paid for music licensing.

In October 2016, a large number of health club operators received letters from the body tasked with collecting these charges – Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) – with each site facing new licensing costs of up to £500 per year, which would have been backdated to July 2016 when the new law came into effect.

However, proactive representation of the sector by ukactive means that it has been able to significantly mitigate the impact on gym operators. After consulting with copyright lawyers and health club operators, ukactive held productive discussions with MPLC resulting in a settlement whereby ukactive members requiring the new licence will now only pay an annual sum of £213.75 (plus VAT) per site. In addition, a six-month grace period has been agreed, meaning the charges only come into effect from January 2017.

The negotiations were overseen by ukactive’s Music Licensing Working Group, an expert body formed of ukactive members across the public, private and third sector. The final decision to approve the tariff was taken by the ukactive Board at its meeting on 24 January.

As part of the conditions of the agreement, ukactive has begun working directly with the sector on behalf of MPLC to collect the licence fee, enabling gym operators to have the option of a flexible payment schedule as well as the flat fee method that was originally proposed. ukactive will receive a small administration fee from MPLC for the resource costs of collecting the licence. As a result of administering the licence, the not-for-profit organisation is able to provide a discount to gyms who are ukactive members, helping to bring these gyms’ premium down to the minimum possible amount of £213.75 (plus VAT). This adds the MPLC licence to the discounts already available to ukactive members on their PPL and VPL licence fees.

Only gyms which show TV or film content will be subject to the new licence fee, while there are also a number of exceptions. Gyms whose screens are locked to only show news channels, Sky Sports, BT Sport, Zoom Media or music channels will not require the licence, while hotel’s gyms are already covered under their existing hospitality licence.

Steven Ward, ukactive Executive Director, said: “Clearly no gym is going to be thrilled at the prospect of an added cost when times are tough, but the diligent work of ukactive to engage with MPLC has meant that we have been able to secure a substantially better deal for the sector than the original proposal.”

David Taylor, MPLC Country Manager, added: “The change to copyright legislation has ensured a level playing field for all, corrected an inconsistency with EU legislation and ensured that the TV and film producers copyright within a broadcast is now recognised in that same way as music has been for many years.

“Following the change, MPLC has listened carefully to representatives within the fitness industry and introduced a new tariff to take effect from 1 January 2017.

“The result is a major benefit to the industry with the ability to show films and TV shows via broadcasts throughout the entire year for what we consider to be a very reasonable fee.”

For more information on the changes to legislation or how this will affect your business, contact the ukactive Licensing Team via email: or call: 0207 400 8635

Background on the new law

From 28 July 2016, changes to Section 72 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 came into effect meaning that public premises broadcasting certain types of film and TV content were no longer exempt from showing this without the permission of certain copyright owners. Led by the government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) the changes were enacted to close a number of loopholes and bring UK legislation in line with international standards.

What is Section 72 CDPA?

Section 72(1) permits premises allowing free public access to show television broadcasts without the permission of certain copyright owners. Previously, Section 72(1) applied to film, broadcast and certain sound recording copyrights. Following amendment, film has been removed from the scope of this exception.

Section 72(1B) provides an exception to copyright infringement for the playing or showing of a broadcast, and any films and sound recordings included in it, where the use is necessary for the demonstration or repair of radios, televisions and similar equipment for receiving broadcasts. This exception has been retained.

For further information on the new legislation, read the Intellectual Property Office’s guidance notes on changes to Section 72 by visiting:

About ukactive

ukactive is the UK’s leading not-for-profit body for physical activity, working with over 4,000 members and stakeholders across the UK. We champion the fun, enjoyment and benefits of being active and we facilitate big impact partnerships across the public and private sector.

We grow the value and importance of physical activity to society as a whole from cradle to grave. This also includes specific sub-sectors where we have developed significant stakeholder relationships including social, political, economic, health, technological, consumer, and financial.

ukactive provides leading research and evaluation, insight and thought-leadership, strategic project and stakeholder management, campaigning and promoting best practice for its partners.