New music copyright deal to save schools and LAs up to £4m annually

New centrally held copyright agreements will free schools from time-consuming paperwork relating to licences for music recording and performances, resulting in significant savings.

The government confirmed on 27 March 2015 that schools and local authorities across England will collectively save around £4 million after a copyright deal was struck for rights to the use of music in schools. The copyright licences will cover a wide variety of uses of music, including the recording of pupils’ performances on CD and DVD, school discos, radios in the staffroom and even holding music for telephones.

Previously, licences for the use of music had to be bought individually by schools and local authorities, often involving expensive and time-consuming negotiations. Now the government has agreed a deal to hold the copyright licences centrally, freeing schools from the burden of applying for them independently.

The latest deal follows previous agreements over the past two years on rights to use films, TV shows and newspapers in schools. The total potential savings for schools and councils as a result of dealing with copyright centrally will be up to £16.5 million per year of which £4m will arise from the latest agreement.

Jo Warner-Howard, Director of Education at the Copyright Licensing Agency, said:

'Building on the success of the first centralised copyright licensing model, this new plan, which extends over a longer period and includes more copyright licences, is testament to what can be achieved through the collaboration of the copyright industry and the Department for Education.

'The bottom line is that by simplifying copyright licensing in schools, the substantial administrative savings will directly benefit schools whilst rewarding the crucial role of creative content in school life.'

The new deals - which will come into effect from April 2015 - have been struck with the Performing Right Society (PRS), Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and CCLI.

Meanwhile, the Copyright Licensing Agency licence, the Schools Printed Music licence and the Newspaper Licensing Agency licence have been extended for a further 5 years.