U.K. neighboring rights organization PPL's income fell in 2009 as a result of the Copyright Tribunal decision that went against it.

In its annual report, presented at the AGM in London today (June 9), PPL revealed that refunds totaled £18.1 million ($26.3 million) in 2009. The tribunal ruled against PPL in July 2009 (it was made public in October 2009) in a case covering its new tariff structure, which had been challenged by the hospitality sector.

PPL said it had been an "extremely tough trading environment" for the majority of its licensees and customers, but license fee income still increased year-on-year by 2% to £129.6 million ($188.4 million).

However, as a result of the refunds paid out in response to the Copyright Tribunal, license fee income fell 12.7% from £127.6 million ($185.5 million) in 2008 to £111.4 million ($161.9 million) in 2009.

"To say that PPL found last year's U.K. Copyright Tribunal decision hugely disappointing, if not shocking, is an understatement," said PPL chairman and CEO Fran Nevrkla in his AGM address. "Clearly normal business must continue but I regard this as a piece of unfinished business."

He added: "All our constituents, both the individual performers and the record companies may safely assume that PPL will never abdicate its primary role and duty to administer, manage and monetize the rights vested in us for the benefit of all. The underlying value of such rights must be maintained and enhanced by being paid for at sensible but commercially justifiable rates."

International revenue grew by £6.2 million ($9 million) - a 40% rise year-on-year - to £21.6 million ($31.4 million). PPL said it has an "increasingly robust operation" in which repertoire was identified more effectively and new agreements were put in place. A new deal has just been finalized with Bulgaria and PPL now has 48 international contracts.

The Netherlands is PPL's biggest source of international income for performance rights, totaling £8.6 million ($12.5 million).

The guest keynote speaker was Roger Wright, controller of BBC Radio 3 and controller of the BBC Proms.