Pubs in the UK could save a combined GBP5m (US$8m) per year after two industry trade associations secured a tribunal ruling to reduce fees for playing music in public places.

The on-trade is also due between GBP15m and GBP20m in refunds following the tribunal ruling last week, secured by the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Hospitality Association.

The dispute began when Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), a London-based company that licenses recorded music and music videos for public performance, raised tariffs for playing music in bars, hotels, restaurants and pubs by up to 400% in some cases in 2005/06.

A copyright tribunal hearing was ordered by ministers, following opposition from the on-trade.

PPL was last week ordered to make repayments and reduce charges, although the company is set to appeal the decision.

British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) CEO Brigid Simmonds called the tribunal ruling a "major victory" for the on-trade.

"We will be doing everything we can to ensure that any appeal case is heard quickly, so that the matter of repayments can be settled as soon as possible," she said.

Should PPL's appeal also fail, licensees will be able to claim refunds based on their own calculations of what they are owed, or they will be able to ask PPL to make the calculation for them.

As an example of the expected new tariffs, the BBPA said: "A hotel, pub, restaurant or bar playing CDs/tapes or radio/TV with an audible area of just under 400 square metres would be paying GBP464.80 for its licence this year under the new PPL tariff, but the Tribunal decision has reduced this to around GBP110."