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Visit Scotland | Alba

1. Policies and regulations

Guidelines and regulations can change often. So, it's always good to keep informed about which licences your business need to operate.

Also don't forget to check our advice page with useful resources. Check out in particular Business Gateway who offer a range of professional resources, support and tools.

How do I get a licence?

There are two main film licensing companies who collect copyright royalties. They do so on behalf of different film studios in different circumstances:

  1. 1

    Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC)

    They collect the copyright for films shown on TV in commercial settings.


  2. 2

    FilmBank Media

    They provide films for businesses like hotels to show on in-house entertainment systems.

MPLC licence

Previously there has been an exemption for showing films and TV programmes via free-to-air services. For example, if you have TVs that play films on channels such as BBC or ITV.

However, you now need to gain a licence through the Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) to provide this service to your customers.


Do you either:

  • Broadcast on television (terrestrial, Freeview or satellite services), DVD/Blu-ray or TV programmes?
  • Allow for films being viewed from the internet within your hotel bedrooms, bars, restaurants or other similar areas?


If so, you might need a MPLC licence


Please note trade association UKHospitality has not yet accepted:

  • The legal basis for this new tariff

  • Its applicability to tourism accommodation operators


It has broadcast a podcast looking at what MPLC is and what UKHospitality has been doing to support its members on this issue.

3. Copyright licences for music

TheMusicLicence from PPL PRS allows you to legally play music for employees or customers in your business. You can do so through the radio, TV, other digital devices and live performances.

Previously, businesses and organisations had to obtain separate music licences from PPL and PRS for Music. However, it has come together to form PPL PRS Ltd and launch TheMusicLicence.

Good to know:

  • Why do I need a licence?

    Because of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You need permission from relevant copyright holders – those who create, record and publish music – to play or perform music in public. Broadly speaking, this includes any presentation of music outside of a domestic setting.

  • How do I get a licence?

    If you play or perform music in your business or organisation in the UK, you will usually need TheMusicLicence. They can give you permission to play or perform music from many thousands of music rights holders in a single, simple transaction.

  • How much does a licence cost?

    The cost of TheMusicLicence for a particular business or organisation depends on a number of factors. This can be the size of the business or organisation and the ways it uses music.

4. Television licences

If you watch, record or stream TV content, you might need a licence. This applies to any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

Does your business need a TV Licence?

  • Your business needs to be covered by a licence if staff, customers or visitors:

    • Watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV, on any channel

    • Watch or stream programmes live on an online TV service (such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Sky Go, etc.)

    • Download or watch any BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer

  • You may also need a licence if staff, customers or visitors:

    • Use their own devices that are plugged into the mains

    • Use their own devices not plugged into the mains and are not covered by a licence at their home address

5. Imagery and copyright

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 | Copyright law exists to protect the creators of media from theft and misuse of their work. So, it’s important only to use images you own or have permission to use.

If you’re in doubt, don’t use the image.

6. Food standards and guidance

Do you offer catering or sell food and drink on your premises? Then there are some resources which can help small catering or retail businesses with:

  • Food safety management
  • Food hygiene regulation


Take a look at the Food Standards Scotland website for more information.

Related links