Australian neighboring rights body PPCA may have to hold off celebrating any new windfalls from the fitness sector.
National heath and fitness trade association Fitness Australia, whose members operate 1,100 gyms, has appealed the Copyright Tribunal's recent decision to pump-up rates for the use of music in fitness classes.
Currently, a gym's PPCA license costs just $0.968 Australian ($0.80) per class, capped annually at $2,654 Australian ($2,202).
Those sums don't stack up, according to the PPCA, which brought the case to the Tribunal in March 2009 to find a "fairer deal". After a bruising battle staged by both sides, the Tribunal on May 17 applied a new rate of $1 Australian ($0.83) for each fitness class attendee or an optional tariff of $15 Australian ($12.44) per class, a hike of more than 1,500%.
"Yes, we have decided to proceed with an Appeal," FA CEO Lauretta Stace tells Billboard.biz. "We do not know when it will be heard by the Federal Court at this stage, but hope to know more by mid July."
An appeal comes as no great shock. Following the Tribunal decision, the FA had declared the ruling "extremely disappointing" and admitted it was consulting with its legal advisers on whether to proceed to the next stage.
The country's biggest fitness operator, Fitness First Australia, now sources only PPCA-free music for use in its fitness classes. "It's an out-of-this-world rate hike," said FFA marketing director Andy Mallinson following the Tribunal's original decision. "Ninety percent of gym operators will not be able to afford to pay that, and they'll move to a credible alternative."