Three leading trade associations have raised over £200,000 as a fighting fund to cover the costs of a potential legal battle with music royalties company PPL. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Noctis, the body for late night operators, are considering legal action against PPL’s proposals to increase the tariff on specially featured entertainment (SFE) events such as DJ nights and discos by up to 4,000%. Legal action lead by trade bodies has proved to be effective against PPL in the past. PPL was forced to refund £18.13m in 2009 to pubs, restaurants and hotels after the Copyright Tribunal ruled that the group had overstepped the mark in 2005 by raising fees for background music by up to 403%. The action was headed by the BBPA and the British Hospitality Association. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said the trade would fight the latest PPL proposals “all the way”. “PPL has put out a consultation that would be deeply damaging to the industry on its specially featured entertainment tariff,” said Simmonds. “We are working with Noctis and ALMR and have put together a campaign fund of over £200,000 with them, and with individual companies that are concerned about this, which would help to pay for the legal costs. “We have a QC in place and we have got a firm of economic consultants who are looking at the proposals PPL has put forward.” ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “This is an issue where the trade needs to be united and we are working together and utilising the expertise of three leading trade bodies. “We hope we can have a sensible dialogue (with PPL), but we are prepared to take it all the way because the effect this could have on our members is so significant.” John Hayes, vice-chairman of Noctis, added: “This would be the death knell for the trade should it end up at tribunal, and absolutely devastating for the late-night industry. “The silver lining is that this campaign has brought the industry together again and we will be behind it more than any other association.” A PPL spokesperson said: “PPL remains in a consultation phase in regard to the review of our specially featured entertainment tariff. “The BBPA, ALMR and Noctis have been actively engaging with us throughout this process, but have yet to submit any formal responses to the most recent consultation document. “Any further comment on the most recent announcement by the trade associations would therefore be inappropriate at this stage.” The proposed new charges are based on a calculation of how much extra customers would likely spend when an SFE event takes place, with fees based on average attendance, plus the number and duration of SFE events.