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Radios switched off in council offices to save money

SHETLAND Islands Council workers are no longer able to listen to the radio in the office – unless they are wearing headphones or are in the office on their own.

This is because the local authority has decided against continuing to pay for licences that legally allow them to play music in offices because it feels the money can be better spent elsewhere.

A SIC spokesperson said the council had been paying between £130 and £225 a year per office to PRS for Music, which collects royalties for songwriters, composers.

On top of this, a similar fee was required by Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), which pays money to record companies and performers for public plays of songs.

PRS says that playing music in an office constitutes a ‘public performance’, meaning that a licence needs to be in place.

“We have been contacted by the Performing Rights Society, to make sure we are operating within the law on this issue,” the council spokesperson said.

“Each office area, according to its size, must by law pay an annual licence fee of between £130 and £225 in order to play the radio. There is also an additional annual PPL licence required, at a similar cost per office.

“Obviously, costed out across the council, this could add up to a very large sum, and does not seem to be a good use of public money.

“We would like to point out, however, that staff can listen to the radio using headphones, or if they are in an office by themselves.”

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