PPL has been on a bit of a blitz again - I can always tell because I get a raft of calls: Is this legit? Is this for real? I already pay a PRS music licence

Yes, it is legit and PPL even advertises in Convenience Store (and should obviously continue doing so until everyone gets the message).

Some of the calls I get are quite interesting. Mary Darbar has a 75sq m shop (London Road Stores, Bath) and has been playing the same Mozart CD for years. She objected to a backdated bill and PPL accepted this.

Most entertaining, though, was Ian Macintyre’s experience. He got a call from PPL asking him if he had recorded music in his store in Tarbert, Argyll, and he said no. What about a radio? Yes, in my office. Does anyone else hear it? Only my daughter if she happens in. (Just to remind: PRS and PPL rules say that offices on premises count as public places their rules have got more wrinkles than I have!) Then he got a bill for £130.

He said ‘I’m removing the radio and they said, ‘Well, you owe it anyway’. Now, there is a bit of a back story here. In the first place there is no public access to the office. Ian bought the premises of the Clydesdale Bank next door and has reunited it with the store - before being a bank it was a bakery. Anyway, it has a separate entrance. The radio is now gone and wasn’t his in the first place. He gave it refuge from the thrift shop next door which wasn’t allowed to resell electrical appliances.

Ian has an admirable stick-to-it-ness and wrote to PPL, copying it to his MP, and faxed me a copy. Rather a good letter about infringed rights and inviting all to visit whenever they liked.

Upshot was a call from PPL telling him the charges had been withdrawn. “But they suggested how useful it is to play music in-store and I said, ‘hang on, you’re trying to SELL me something and I’m registered with the Telephone Preference Service’,” said Ian. He has a point.