Event organisers can use copyrighted songs if they pay, says Delhi HC

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Jan 03, 2017, 12:40 PM IST
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Any event organiser, if using copyrighted music or songs in a party, would have to inform the copyright societies which will issue an invoice for payment of royalty along with proof of their rights as per an interim arrangement arrived at in the Delhi High Court between a firm and three such societies.

Under the arrangement, anyone who is going to hold an event will inform the three societies -- Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) and Novex Communications Pvt Ltd -- about the copyrighted work to be used and one of these three, which holds the rights, shall issue an invoice for royalty along with proof of ownership of the copyright.

The event organiser would have to pay the royalty prior to holding the event, Justice Najmi Waziri noted in his order in which he also directed the respondent societies to "upload on their respective websites the (copyright) assignment deeds along with the list of songs pertaining to such assignment deed".

The order came after the societies claimed that they "are legitimate assignees of copyrighted works or are otherwise duly authorised agents of copyright owners" and sought to enforce their rights under section 18 (assignment of copyright) and 30 (licences by owners of copyright) of the Copyright Act.

They argued before the court that as long as the owner of a copyright exercises its rights under section 18 and section 30 read with section 19 (mode of assignment of copyright) of the Act, "there is no bar on the copyright owner or his agent or an assignee from monetising the copyrighted works".

The court was hearing an application moved by the three societies against its December 23, 2016, decision restraining them from granting any licence, as a copyright society under section 33 of the Act, to play music and songs of various artists in public.

The December 23, 2016 order had come on a plea by Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) which has claimed that registration of IPRS and PPL expired in 2013 and Novex was never registered and only registered societies can issue licences for playing music in public.