National Enforcement Program

PPCA operates a nation-wide inspection and enforcement program which is utilised in circumstances where business owners, despite PPCA’s repeated efforts, refuse to take out the necessary licences for the public performance of protected sound recordings on their premises. To protect artists, labels and our compliant licensees, PPCA has added resources to the National Enforcement Program including teams of inspectors visiting venues and premises all around Australia.

Where a PPCA inspection confirms the unauthorised public performance of sound recordings or music videos by a business, PPCA’s Department of Business and Legal Affairs pursues that business, either through legal proceedings or negotiation, to ensure that successful licensing arrangement is implemented, including payment of back fees.

PPCA always prefers that a business takes out the appropriate licence without the need to resort to legal action. We have licensing staff to assist businesses in what can be a complex area of legal compliance, particularly for those who encounter copyright issues for the first time. Unfortunately some business owners, despite PPCA’s efforts, do on occasion refuse to take out the necessary licences and in these circumstances they leave PPCA little alternative than to carry out site inspections and commence legal proceedings.  

It is important for business owners to know their legal obligations with regard to playing copyright protected sound recordings and music videos in a commercial environment, and to seek legal advice if they are uncertain.

If you are using sound recordings in your business, and do not have a licence from either PPCA or the relevant record companies, we urge you to please contact our licensing department on 02 8569 1111 or licensing.mail@ppca.com.au.

Restaurants and Cafes

In April 2013, PPCA brought legal proceedings against the directors of a company trading as a restaurant without a PPCA licence. The Court ordered that those company directors pay PPCA damages of $2,074.59, plus PPCA’s legal costs of $8,200 and additional damages in the amount of $60,000.

Retail

In October 2011, in proceedings brought by PPCA in respect of a small chain of clothing stores in New South Wales, the Federal Magistrates Court issued a judgment against the company which owned the chain as well as the directors of that company. The Court ordered that the company and the directors pay PPCA $1844.48 for tariff M licence fees (including back fees for all stores for the whole of the time during which PPCA had been writing to the business about its licensing obligations), $8200 in respect of legal costs and additional damages of $30,000.  

In early 2011, proceedings were commenced by PPCA against a company trading as a small, well known chain of boutique Australian fashion stores and the director of that company. The proceedings were settled and the Federal Magistrates Court ordered that the company and its director pay PPCA $6,000. Again, this sum included payment of PPCA licence fees for all stores for the period that PPCA had been in communication with them.

Nightclubs

In early 2013, PPCA commenced legal proceedings against a company and its directors, trading as a nightclub. The Court ordered that all PPCA licence fees must be paid for the period the nightclub was unlicensed. The Court also ordered that the company and the individual directors pay additional damages.  The company and one of its directors, who had been involved with the venue for only a short period, were each ordered to pay $25,000. Two other directors were each ordered to pay the sum of $40,000.  PPCA’s legal costs of $8,200 were also payable.

In late 2012, PPCA commenced litigation against the company and the director operating a well-known Sydney nightclub. The Court again ordered that all PPCA licence fees must be paid for the period the nightclub was unlicensed. The Court also ordered that the company and the individual director pay additional damages of $200,000 as well as PPCA’s legal costs.

Fitness Centres

In April 2012, PPCA commenced legal proceedings against a company and its sole director, operating a fitness centre in South Australia. The Court ordered that the company, and its director, pay PPCA the sum of $2,769.78 for licence fees throughout the period that the centre was unlicensed, plus PPCA’s legal costs of $8,200 and additional damages of $50,000.

Hair and/or Beauty Salons

In June 2012, PPCA brought legal proceedings against a company, and its directors, operating a beauty salon in Sydney. The Court ordered that the company and the directors pay PPCA $541.97 for licence fees, plus PPCA’s legal costs of $8,200 legal costs and additional damages of $50,000. In total, the company and its directors were ordered to pay the amount of $58,741.97 to PPCA when licence fees amounted to only $541.97.

Hotels/Pubs

Proceedings for copyright infringement were lodged in the Federal Magistrates Court in June 2011 in relation to a Sydney pub that did not have a licence for its jukebox. After one court hearing, settlement was agreed, and the respondents (the company that owned the hotel and its officers) must pay PPCA $6000, as ordered by the Court.

In mid 2010, PPCA started proceedings against the corporate business owner of a small suburban hotel just outside Adelaide and its officers. The proceedings were quickly settled and the Federal Magistrates Court made an order in July 2010 that PPCA was to be paid $2,400.00. In particular, this sum included all licence fees due for the hotel’s jukebox, for the whole period over which PPCA had been in communication with the hotel.

On 21 January 2009, PPCA lodged proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court against a hotel in Tasmania for infringement of copyright in music videos. The matter settled out of court in February 2009. As part of settlement, the owners of the hotel applied for a PPCA licence and paid all backdated fees, interest on those fees, PPCA’s legal costs and additional damages.

Function Centres

For several years, PPCA had been communicating with an entertainment complex in Western Australia which regularly hired its premises out to third parties for music festivals, weddings and other functions. According to the Copyright Act, the occupier of the premises, typically the owner, has the primary responsibility to hold all necessary music licences. However, the owners of the entertainment complex refused to obtain licences for any third party events held at the complex involving the public performance of sound recordings because they hired the premises out for these purposes.

PPCA’s inspector attended a music festival held at the entertainment complex and identified protected sound recordings playing. In December 2009, PPCA commenced proceedings against the owners of the entertainment complex using the evidence obtained at the music festival. The matter settled in April 2010. PPCA obtained licence fees for the inspected festival, interest on unpaid fees, legal costs and additional damages to reflect the owners’ ongoing infringement of copyright. The owners also submitted a PPCA licence application in respect of private functions (e.g., weddings) held at the entertainment complex. 

Festival