The FM radio stations that were paying separately to both music producers and copyright societies such as the Indian Performing Rights Society, which administer rights of lyricists, music composers, will now be required to pay only to the music producers — the owners of the sound recording.
In a landmark judgement, the Bombay high court on Monday ruled in favour of the Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd seeking a declaration that the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) was not entitled to demand and receive any licence fee or royalty for broadcast of sound recordings on its FM radio stations.
The IPRS can now challenge the verdict of the single judge bench in an appeal before a division bench of the same HC.
Justice SJ Vazifdar said, “Once a sound recording is made, it is only the producer, as the owner thereof, who can exploit it exclusively.” He added, “The owners of the underlying musical and literary work (such as lyricists, music composers) embodied in such sound recording cannot interfere with these rights of the owner.”
The court held that once the author of a lyric or a musical work parts with his copyright by authorising the producer of a sound recording in respect of his work and thereby to have his work incorporated or recorded in the sound recording, the producer of the sound recording acquires copyright, which gives him the exclusive rights.
Justice Vazifdar said, “this exclusive right includes the right to broadcast the sound recording to the public, and the persons holding underlying works can’t seek separate licence fee or royalty for broadcasting of such sound recording.”
Music Broadcast, which has established private FM radio stations across the country, had, however, been paying to the IPRS “under misconception of law.” The broadcaster had paid Rs1.27 crore between August 2003 and July 2006 towards licence fee.