Monday 10 June 2013

BBC and EOS "widely divergent" on Welsh licence fee

In British Broadcasting Corporation v EOS- Yr Asiantaeth Hawliau Darlledu Cyfyngedig CT121/1 (on which, see Ben's earlier post here) the Copyright Tribunal issued a provisional ruling last month that BBCCymru (BBC Wales) should pay a licence fee to EOC, the licensing body for Welsh language music. This ruling, part of an ongoing dispute between the parties about the terms of the BBC's licence for the EOS repertoire, marks the first time that rule 35 of the Copyright Tribunal Rules has been invoked by a party seeking an interim order to permit it to use the repertoire according to terms set by the Tribunal pending a substantive hearing.

Before the interim hearing, the BBC and EOS had agreed an interim licence in the BBC's favour, for £10,000 per month. The Tribunal, noting that it had a wide discretion, took into account what would happen if the amount it ordered by way of a provisional fee turned out to be wrong. Since EOS was in financial difficulties, any overpayment might be difficult for the BBC to recover. Bearing this in mind, the balance of justice was best served by maintaining the status quo by ordering an interim licence fee of £10,000 per month. A final order is expected before the end of the calendar year.

According to the BBC (here):
""The parties have widely divergent views on what a reasonable licence fee should be -- the BBC says it should be £100,000 per annum and EOS says it should be £1.5m per annum. We are not in a position to pre-judge the final outcome of this matter and cannot now conclude with any certainty what the final fee may be".

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