Is royalty sharing still a dream for performing artists?

By Doyel Sengupta, Lall Lahiri & Salhotra

The Copyright Amendment Bill, 2010, has once again been cast under the spotlight following two recent orders passed by the high courts of Bombay and Delhi.

In a judgment pronounced on 25 July in Music Broadcast Private Limited v The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS), Bombay High Court held that the IPRS is not entitled to collect royalties or licence fees for the underlying musical and literary works in songs played by FM radio stations.

Doyel Sengupta,Senior associate,Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
Doyel Sengupta
Senior associate
Lall Lahiri & Salhotra

The case

The IPRS said that Music Broadcast Private Limited (MBPL) should not be entitled to broadcast songs, even though it had a licence from Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) members to do so. The IPRS said that MBPL should have also sought licences from individual authors or composers of those songs. According to the IPRS, a fee is paid by the owner of the underlying works only to make a sound recording. So the producer is not required to pay subsequent royalty to the author.

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Doyel Sengupta is a senior associate at Lall Lahiri & Salhotra, which is an IP boutique based in Gurgaon. Sengupta is actively involved in trademark litigation and has advised clients on enforcement strategies, drafting and filing of suits, and conducting IP raids.


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