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Fact sheets and legal compliance info
LC1. Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988)
Date Posted: 13 March 2019
This Act gives the creators of literary, dramatic, artistic and musical work the right to control the ways in which their products can be used.

This Act gives the creators of literary, dramatic, artistic and musical work the right to control the ways in which their products can be used. Most music is protected by two rights: the musical and lyrical composition itself, and the recording of the music. In order to play recorded music in a public place (which includes a dance class) a licence has to be obtained in order to comply with the Act.



The Performing Right Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) work together to provide a licence that allows individuals and organisations to play and perform music in public. PPL collects and distributes money on behalf of performers and record companies for the use of their recorded music. PRS for Music collects and distributes money on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers, for the use of their musical compositions and lyrics. 

The PRS receives licence fees from the individuals or organisations responsible for the locations in which music is going to be played or performed (i.e. shops, village halls, community centres, schools, dance studios, theatres, care homes, hospitals, etc). PPL receives licence fees from individuals or organisations for using recorded music. 

Dance teachers and dancing schools using live or recorded music as an accompaniment to tuition require a licence - as do people teaching exercise to music. 


In order to create a streamlined licencing process, these two companies joined forces to launch PPL PRS Ltd, which offers a combined service called TheMusicLicence. For licence holders, this means there is now only one invoice to pay and one point of contact. Each of the parent companies then distributes their portion of the licence fee to the rightsholders they represent and they continue to operate as two separate entities in other aspects of their businesses, including setting their own separate tariffs. To view tariffs for those working in dance and fitness, visit:

Some material is not covered by TheMusicLicence, such as royalty-free music, scores written for dramatic performances (musicals, operas, ballets, etc) and music for which the copyright protection period has expired. If you wish to use music written for dramatic performances, you may need to contact the music publisher (or other rightsholder) directly for permission. For more information about who needs to obtain a licence and what is excluded, visit:

Whether or not you are responsible for obtaining TheMusicLicence also depends on the locations in which your work takes place and what type of licence is held by each venue.

Primary and secondary schools
Most primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales pay fees to both PRS and PPL. Dance teachers should check with the school to ensure that the school’s music licence covers both of these fees. If it does, this licence covers the use of music for all educational purposes arranged by the school - including dance lessons that are part of the curriculum, end-of-term performances and after-school activities. If the activity has been arranged by the school or the school's Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), a dance teacher does not need to obtain TheMusicLicence when teaching within the school premises.

However if the dance provision is not arranged by the school or the Parent-Teacher Association, the dance teacher is responsible for obtaining a licence. This might arise if the dance teacher hired the school premises as a location in which to teach dance (whether to children or adults) but the dance classes had not been organised by the school or the PTA.

Dance schools
Some vocational dance schools have been designated as 'educational establishments'. Where a dance school qualifies as an educational establishment, section 34 of the 1988 Act provides that a public performance licence will not be required from PRS (or any other copyright owner) for performances before an audience of teachers and pupils/students at the school (and other persons directly connected with it) provided that the performance is given:
- by a teacher or pupil in the course of the activities of the dance school; or
- at the dance school by any person for the purposes of instruction.

All other venues in which music is played require TheMusicLicense in order to contribute to the PRS (this also includes outside locations). Dance teachers should check with the owners of the locations in which they are delivering classes or performance to ensure that a licence is in place and should check whether that licence also covers PPL licence fees. If it is not, the dance teacher is responsible for obtaining TheMusicLicence. 

PRS for Music

PRS ProDub Licence 

This licence allows individuals to copy music that they privately own into a format that they can use in relation to their work (i.e. from a CD in to a digital format that they can play in class). PRS operate a tiered payment system with prices that vary depending on the number of tracks that you want to copy over the course of a year. 

PRS ProDub information:

Reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure the information in this document is accurate and the information on this site is updated and checked for accuracy and completeness from time to time. However, it is not intended to be legally comprehensive; it is designed to provide guidance in good faith at the stated date but without accepting liability.

Users must be aware that whilst an Act or Regulation may still be in force, parts may have been superseded by later legislation or completely withdrawn. You should seek independent legal advice if you require verified up-to-date information in relation to your own individual circumstances.