Welcome to our January licensing update
Welcome to our first Newsletter of 2020. Every best wish to all our readers for a prosperous and (hopefully) peaceful New Year! We hope that trade over the Festive period was as good as hoped.
Major change if you have TVs In Bedroom Accommodation
The Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) is a royalty collection society which represents the majority of the big film companies and some television companies/producers and recovers royalty fees for broadcast of productions by its members in a similar way to the collection of royalties on the playing of music in public spaces by PPL/PRS. Since June 2016 by virtue of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, MPLC have been actively collecting Licence fees in relation to the use of television and film content provided by their members to communal areas such as bars, lounges, gyms or reception areas.
In recent times they have stated that a Licence fee should also be paid for the use of televisions in hotel bedrooms, pub guest rooms or similar accommodation.
Representatives of the industry, particularly UK Hospitality and BBPA, have entered into detailed discussions on the validity of such a Licence payment. The position is not entirely clear cut. However, MPLC have stated that from January 2020 the bedroom licence fee will fall due in any event. This will be at a rate of £4.00 plus VAT per bedroom per annum as an introductory rate i.e. for those persons who make voluntary application to them for a Licence. Payment at a higher rate of £6 plus VAT will be charged to those operations who do not apply when first approached. Operators approached for payment would be well advised to seek a legal opinion on the position which they face.
The MPLC have put together an explanatory leaflet this includes an application form, however it should be noted that many of the sector Trade Associations remain unconvinced as to the legal basis for collection of licence fees in this area and UK Hospitality and BBPA have confirmed that they intend to continue to review the legality of the licence payment demand.
Please note that live broadcast such as rolling news and live sporting events are not subject to copyright licences issued by MPLC.
National Living Wage – April 2020 increases
The government has announced increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates to take effect from April 2020. An increase in some cases of 6.5%.
On New Year’s Eve the government announced increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates to take effect from April 2020. The new rates have been recommended by the Low Pay Commission, and have now satisfy the target set by the Government in 2015 of the NLW equalling 60% of median earnings by 2020.
The new rates will be as follows:
Current Hourly Rate
New Hourly Rate (April 2020)
NLW for ages 25 and above
NMW for 21-24 year olds
NMW for 18-20 year olds
NMW for under 18s
** The Accommodation Offset is an allowable deduction from wages for accommodation, applicable for each day of the week.
Best Bar None – Announce Shortlist
On Friday Best Bar None (BBN) announced their 2019 short list for their National Awards.
The competition will now go into its final stage of judging, ahead of the awards ceremony held at the House of Lords on Tuesday 4th February 2020.
Sheffield once again features in the short list for the Best Overall Scheme; our many congratulations to Tracey Ford and the rest of Sheffield DACT, and all the team involved in the scheme.
Our Tim Shield, who has acted as a Judge for the Sheffield Scheme for several years, said:
“Best Bar None is an important scheme and the drive and passion of the Sheffield BBN team has once again been reflected in this nomination. We at John Gaunt & Partners are proud to continue to support the scheme…. Sheffield has a very active and healthy scheme and from the applications the Judges reviewed as part of the blind judging process this year, it is clear that standards are continuing to rise with all participants fully buying in to the ethos of continuing to make Sheffield a safe late night community.”
BBN continues to grow across the UK and we reported in January about a new scheme in Manchester Airport. Best new schemes (those open less than 18 months) shortlisted this year are Cumbria, Worcester and Havering.
Criminal Justice Statistics (England and Wales) – penalty notices
Towards the end of last year, the Ministry of Justice published its Criminal Justice Statistics for England and Wales, part of which show the number of penalty notices issued for certain offences. The relevant overview tables show a pattern of the last 10 years of significant declines in penalty notices issued for numerous offences.
The relevant overview tables (which can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-justice-system-statistics-quarterly-june-2019) show a pattern of the last 10 years of significant declines in penalty notices issued for numerous offences. Those of perhaps most interest to the licensed trade are shown in the table below.
Two of the most remarkable declines relate to (of those flagged) the two offences with the most penalty notices issued in 2009 i.e. ‘Theft (retail under £100)’ and ‘Sale of alcohol to a person under 18’ as these have seen a decline of around 95% and 90% respectfully.
Barking & Dagenham – Opt for zero SEV policy
At their Assembly meeting on 20 November 2019, Barking & Dagenham opted for a zero SEV (Sexual Entertainment Venue) policy. Although a zero policy was adopted, which means that the members feel that zero SEV premises is the appropriate number for their area, each application for a licence will be considered on its own merits.
The adopted policy reads:
“The Council will continue to consider applications and to consider each application upon its own individual merits, but it is expected that this policy will be strictly applied and licences will therefore only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The ability of an applicant to demonstrate that they are of good character and could provide a high standard of management will not alone constitute exceptional circumstances.”
Advertising Standards Authority and KFC…
The ASA has recently upheld a complaint about a poster advertisement and a press advertisement for KFC, on the basis that the use of the word ‘cluck’ was too close to a commonly used profanity.
The ‘offending’ poster, seen at bus stops and other locations during September 2019, featured the phrase “WHAT THE CLUCK?! £1.99 FILL UP LUNCH” alongside an image of food items on a menu.
In their assessment of the complaints received, the ASA found that the use of the word “cluck” was a reference to the sound a chicken made and that that was relevant to the product being advertised. They also acknowledged that the ad did not contain the rhyming expletive. They concluded that “the allusion to the word ‘f**k’ in ads with a general adult audience was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, and that it was irresponsible for them to appear where children could see them.”
In their assessment of the complaints received, the ASA found that the use of the word “cluck” was a reference to the sound a chicken made and that that was relevant to the product being advertised. They also acknowledged that the ad did not contain the rhyming expletive .They recognised that there were several variations of the “what the…” expression, all commonly used to denote surprise or outrage, and not all of which finished with an expletive. The chicken sound effect used to complete the expression in the radio and TV ads in the campaign did not therefore directly substitute for an expletive. However, the written word “cluck” was used in the poster and press ads and they considered people would interpret that as alluding specifically to the expression, “what the f**k”.
They commented that this ending to the saying was so likely to offend that it should not generally be used or alluded to in advertising, regardless of whether the ad was featured in a newspaper which had an adult target audience. The report stated “We also considered it likely that parents may want their children to avoid the word, or obvious allusions to it. The poster was likely to be seen by people of all ages and while we recognised that the press ads would have a primarily adult audience, they could still be seen by children. For those reasons we concluded that the allusion to the word ‘f**k’ in ads with a general adult audience was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, and that it was irresponsible for them to appear where children could see them.”
As from the 1 January 2020 Gambling operators must direct an annual financial contribution for gambling research, prevention and treatment required by the LCCP SR code 3.1.1 to one or more of the organisation approved by the Commission.
The contribution(s) therefore must cover all three areas research, prevention and treatment. Operators may make contributions to other organisations however only donations to approved organisations will count towards satisfying the code. The current approved list only includes three organisations and only one, GambleAware, would satisfy the ‘research’ element.