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NZ fitness fears music licensing fee rises

NZ fitness fears music licensing fee rises
August 19, 2009

The New Zealand Herald newspaper has reported on fitness and recreation industry fears that the record industry in New Zealand wants to follow the example of Australia and raise licensing fees for the public performance of music in exercise classes, fitness clubs and recreation centres.

The newspaper reported yesterday that âNew Zealand fitness clubs are up in arms over a feared 40-fold increase in copyright charges for music at aerobics lessons and other fitness classes.�?

Fitness New Zealand Chief Executive Richard Beddie was quoted saying he has "absolutely no doubt" that if the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) is successful in getting the Australian Copyright Tribunal to approve its massive planned rise in the licence fee paid by fitness clubs and recreation centres, then the New Zealand would look for similar rises.

Beddie added that small independent fitness operators "would go to the wall" if this were to happen.

The newspaper quoted YMCA Auckland General Manager of Fitness Jo Clark saying that the prospect of a big fee rise was a "huge issue for fitness clubs".

Fitness New Zealand, which represents about 275 fitness centres in the country, said the PPCA's proposal amounted to a 4,000% rise.

Phonographic Performances New Zealand (PPNZ) spokesman Quentin Reade said assumptions that the fees here would go up if Australia's rose were "erroneous", stating "there are more than 40 similar industry bodies around the world, and the PPNZ looks at best practice."

Reade said the bodies were "wholly independent of one another and operate under different economic circumstances".

Beddie reportedly had tried to speak with the New Zealand copyright body and suggest alternative and increased payments, but he it was not prepared to discuss the matter.

Beddie said PPCA and PPNZ represented the same big multinational record companies and that he had no doubt that if the Australian claims went through, they would be applied in New Zealand.

The FitnessNZ Chief Executive added that Australia was seen as a test case and that New Zealand clubs had contributed "tens of thousands of dollars" to help Fitness Australia to fight the PPCA plan.

In recent months it has also been reported that PPNZ has been particularly vigilant in ensuring businesses pay their licence fees for the public performance of music, going as far as hiring private investigators to ensure businesses are compliant.

Cases include a company show-room with low level background music playing softly an MP3, with PPNZ lawyers now proceeding with legal action to get their $155 licence fee.

Auckland cafes playing background music around the city are also being being pursued.

As Paul Richards, Chief Executive of Auckland fitness club Club Physical says, "if this is the extent that PPNZ will go to for minor amounts, how much harder will the music industry behemoths fight for the 4,000% increase they are currently pursuing from Australian gyms?"

For more information go to www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10591438&pnum=0

5th August 2009 - CLUB PHYSICAL HELPS COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

16th March 2009 - FITNESS MUSIC BATTLE HEADS TO COURT 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

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