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ukactive strikes deal to save gym operators in licensing fees

By Deven Pamben    14 Feb 2017
Gyms that show TV or film content will be subject to new charges / Flickr - JBLM MWR marketing

UK gym operators will be able to save thousands of pounds in the face of new legislation around the use of video content on commercial premises after an intervention by ukactive.

The physical activity sector body has been in talks with licensing authorities to reduce the cost to gyms as a result of legal changes, as well as delaying their implementation.

 Following changes in legislation, health club operators that show television and film content on their premises were facing significant charges for its use – under a similar model to how PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) and PRS (Performing Rights Society) are paid for music licensing.

 In October 2016, health club operators received letters from the body tasked with collecting the 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, after consulting with copyright lawyers and health club operators, ukactive held talks with MPLC resulting in a settlement whereby ukactive members requiring the new licence will only pay an annual fee 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.

 ukactive has begun working with the sector on behalf of MPLC to collect the licence fee. The body will receive a small administration fee from MPLC for the costs of collection. As a result of administering the licence, the not-for-profit organisation is able to provide a discount to gyms who are ukactive members, that being a minimum of £213.75 (plus VAT).

 Only gyms that show television or film content will be subject to the charge, 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 gyms are already covered under their existing hospitality permit.

 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.”

ukactive  licensing 
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