The reprieve for music broadcasters like FM radio stations, hotels and organisers of live performances has turned out to be a short-lived one. A division bench of Bombay high court last week stayed the operation of an order issued by a judge exempting them from paying underlying right-holders such as lyricists, music composers and publishing houses for airing or playing songs.
In July, justice S J Vazifdar had held that broadcaster Music Broadcast Pvt. Ltd. (MBPL), which owns Radio City 91.1FM, is required to pay only the owners of sound recordings for airing songs on its radio stations, and not the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), which collects royalty on behalf of lyricists and composers.
When IPRS appealed against the verdict last week, a division bench of justices D K Deshmukh and Anoop Mohta stayed its operation stating that other interested parties apart from MBPL may also try to enforce the judgement despite having no decree in their favour.
While deciding a suit filed by MBPL against IPRS, justice Vazifdar had concluded: “Once a sound recording is made, it is only the producer, as the owner thereof, who can exploit it exclusively. The owners of the underlying musical and literary work (like lyricists and music composers) embodied in such sound recording cannot interfere with these rights of the owner.”