Stage performance board withdraws controversial circular | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Stage performance board withdraws controversial circular

mumbai Updated: Dec 14, 2011 00:52 IST
HT Correspondent

The Maharashtra Stage Performance Scrutiny Board (MSPSB) on Tuesday withdrew its circular that derecognises the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and instructs auditoriums to lodge criminal complaints against the copyright society if anyone insists on its no-objection certificate to let out such venues for live performances.

Assistant government pleader Ranjit Bhosale told the Bombay high court that the board would withdraw the circular, as suggested by the court earlier while hearing a petition filed by the IPRS.

The IPRS counsel Sandeep Marne clarified that the sole copyright society of the country had not issued any threatening letter to auditoriums and also assured the court that the society will not issue any communication to auditoriums insisting they should ensure an IPRS license or NOC before letting out their premises for live performances based on their copyrighted artistic works — primarily popular Hindi movie songs.

The copyright society, which has over 2,500 members, had approached the court challenging the circular issued by the MSPSB on August 10.

According to Marne, the board has no business and authority to issue such a circular as it is not concerned with copyright regulation.

The circular stated that for stage performances across Maharashtra, only a suitability certificate from the board is required, and no other permission is necessary.

The circular, purportedly issued after receiving several complaints against the IPRS, also advised auditoriums to lodge first information reports (FIRs) or make written complaints to the board if any stage performance was obstructed by the copyright society.

In its petition, the IPRS has stated that it is a non-profit, registered with the charity commissioner since 1969, and has been formed to protect copyrights of its members.

Arguing for the copyright society, advocate Marne stated that there would be no control over copyrighted artistic works if such a directive was issued, and it would amount to open theft.

On December 8, a division bench of justices PB Majmudar and Mridula Bhatkar had opined that the board should withdraw the circular after advocate Marne pointed out that the circular would encourage people to infringe copyrights of IPRS members.