High Court Lifts Lid on Tense ITV Music Licensing Negotiations

Popular jingles and melodies are often played on television and few will be surprised to hear that their use is not free. However, one revealing High Court case lifted the lid on negotiations between ITV and collection societies charged with gathering in licence fees on behalf of musical artists.

Following a reference, the Copyright Tribunal had fixed certain terms on which ITV would be licensed by the societies to make use of their members’ copyright works. In calculating royalties payable, the Tribunal used as its starting point a sum of just over £24 million that had been agreed in respect of a three-year period under a previous licence in 2009, before making adjustments to bring the figure up to date.

ITV argued that the Tribunal should have used royalties fixed by another agreement, reached in 2012, as its guide. However, in rejecting that complaint, the Court noted that the 2012 agreement specifically stated that it should not have the status of a precedent. On a true reading of the 2012 agreement, the Tribunal had rightly found that it could not be deployed as a comparable by ITV.