Including PPL performer payments in your will
When making or updating a will, you may wish to consider expressly making a provision for your PPL performer payments.
In the UK, a performer’s right to receive payment from PPL (so-called “equitable remuneration”) now lasts for 70 years from when the recording is made or released. If a performer dies within that period, the right continues and will be passed to a beneficiary as identified in the performer’s will (or under intestacy law if there is no will, or other inheritance laws that may apply outside the UK).
In addition, following changes in the UK law in 2013 to extend the term of copyright protection for sound recordings from 50 to 70 years, certain performers (primarily session musicians) have a right to receive ‘supplementary remuneration’ during the extended term of copyright (for recordings with a (P) date of 1963 and beyond, when the recordings are in the 20 year extended term). The longer term of copyright protection makes it even more likely that it may be a performer’s beneficiary, rather than the performer, who will become entitled to receive PPL payments at some stage.
It is also important to bear in mind that the UK rights to equitable remuneration and supplementary remuneration are personal rights which, under UK law (CDPA 1988), are not freely transferrable by a performer during their lifetime, so we expect the rights to form part of a performer’s estate.
PPL has dealt with a number of cases where a performer has died and it is unclear as to who should inherit the right. Where there is no separate instruction in a performer’s will, it could be that the right is divided between all those beneficiaries entitled to a share of the estate.
This may complicate the administration of the performer’s right to receive equitable remuneration (and other performer monies) for executor after the performer’s passing, particularly in terms of making sure that all the right people are paid. In addition, the more people who are entitled to a single performer’s revenue from PPL, the smaller the share that each beneficiary will receive. Note that it is PPL’s usual policy to pay a deceased performer’s monies into a single bank account.
When PPL becomes aware of a performer’s death, we actively take steps to contact the estates of deceased performers when we can, to make them aware of the potential for continuing PPL payments, but it is not always possible to find out who to contact. So in making or updating a will, please give some thought to expressly identifying the beneficiary of your right to receive a payment of equitable remuneration (and, where applicable, supplementary remuneration and similar performer payments), whether the income is from the UK or elsewhere.
By making such a provision in your will you can highlight this income to your executors, which may further help ensure that these payments are dealt with in accordance with your wishes. It may also be relevant to consider other performer payments you are entitled to receive in other countries (such as the “blank tape levy” operated in various countries).
Further advice should be sought from the legal advisor who is preparing the will on your behalf. You may also want to consider letting PPL know the details of your executor and making your executor aware of PPL.
Please refer to the FAQs for further information.