Retailers can now claim refunds on excessive music copyright fees for the past five years, following an unsuccessful High Court appeal by Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), (Convenience Store, February 19).

Any retailer who has paid more than an additional £50 a year for each in-store music licence since 2005 is entitled to claim a refund from PPL. It is estimated that up to £20m could be returned to retailers in overpaid fees.

To obtain a refund, licensees need to calculate what they are owed and demand the money directly from PPL. To do this, they must submit the size of the store that music can be heard in, the amount they have paid to PPL each year since 2005, the amount that should have been paid under the new tariffs, and the refund due.

PPL's new rates will be based on 2005 levels with a 10% inflation adjustment.

It will be writing to all licensees to explain the situation and provide a refund claim form. This letter is expected to be sent out this month.

PPL is required to pay any refund due within 56 days of receiving the completed claim form, unless more information on the claim is required. In this case PPL has an additional 28 days to pay from the time it receives the required information. The refund will be considered a debt which licensees will be able to enforce if not paid within the deadline.

PPL has announced that licence-holders who wish to contact them before the claim forms are sent out can do so.

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