Why licences is a must for public use of music

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 29, 2015 18:33 IST

Amidst confusion about copyrights for music, representatives of two governing bodies -- Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) -- explain why it is important to get your licences in place before using someone's music for entertainment on a public platform.

Rakesh Nigam, CEO, IPRS, says, "There is a debate about paying for reproducing music. And those who lobby against getting licences usually cite the amendment of the law as their main reason. The basic thrust of the 'won't pay-for-music campaign' is that PPL and IPRS were copyright societies earlier, but haven't applied for re-registration as required by the amended copyright laws. Therefore, they need not be paid anymore."

A statement issued by Nigam as well as Vipul Pradhan, CEO, PPL, reads, "PPL and IPRS have chosen not to re-register as copyright societies, but are now conducting business as private limited companies. Earlier, they operated under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, and now they operate under Section 30 of the Copyright Act."

Under both scenarios, PPL and IPRS represent a certain class of owners of music, and if someone wants to use their rights in a commercial environment then it's only fair that you pay for the usage - both from a moral and a legal standpoint.

Pradhan adds, "It is up to the end users -- the music loving masses -- to ponder over what this denial of rightful dues to the owners of music would mean for the future of music in our country."

Says Nigam, "In response to a case filed this year by IPRS, a Chandigarh court upheld that IPRS, as the owner, can issue licences to musical and literary works as per Section 30 of the Copyright Act. It directed the organiser (who did not take a licence to play music at the event) to obtain a licence from IPRS to play the music in public. Similarly, PPL also filed a suit and the court upheld that PPL is entitled to issue a license under Section 30 as the owner of the rights for playing the music. This counters the campaign that PPL and IPRS need not be paid because they did not re-register themselves as Copyright Societies."

Nigam says, "In a recent case, the Delhi High Court upheld the rights of IPRS, and granted injunction to an individual for infringement of copyright. The individual, who runs an orchestra refused to take the necessary licence to play the music. However, he has refused to comply with the order."

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