Madras HC pass interim orders to restrain hotels, clubs from playing music sans license at Xmas, NYE parties

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INDIABombay HC, Madras HC pass interim orders to restrain hotels, clubs from playing music sans license at Xmas, NYE parties
Swati Deshpande | TNN | Dec 23, 2019, 22:46 IST


MUMBAI: It is that time of the year when music rules. As Christmas and New Years Eve parties are on everyone’s mind, protecting their copyright is what on the mind of assignees to public performance rights in musical tracks.

The high court in Chennai last week, protected such right recently for the parties to come in the southern metropolis. The Madras HC orders followed similar interim orders passed by the Bombay high court for Xmas and NYE events to be held in Mumbai at various five stars hotels, high end pubs, lounges, clubs and restaurants.
Be they from Bollywood, Tollywood or national beyond borders including
Hollywood, music companies and labels have assigned rights to their tracks popular or otherwise to Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS), Phonographic Performance Ltd and Novex Communications, all three Mumbai based.
The Madras HC order passed on December 19 was in an application filed by IPRS, which is the only registered copyright society under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 which serves to protect and enforce the rights of its Authors, Music Composers and Music Publishers members and collects/distributes royalties for the exploitation of its member’s literary and musical works by various end users.
The Bombay HC orders passed recently too were in a bunch of applications filed by PPL and Novex. PPL, a pre-Independence collective rights management organization which claims to have public performance rights of over 25 lakh songs assigned to it by the music companies licenses to over 25 lakh songs and Novex a much more recent entity, created in 2002 in Mumbai also claims to hold public performance rights of songs and works of many big music companies as well.

The Chennai order restrains a club situated in the city which also organizes and hosts musical events, from publicly performing the literary and musical works belonging to the repertoire of IPRS in any form even through an orchestra without first obtaining a license from IPRS and paying the statutorily mandated authors’ royalties. The events titled “ Happy New Year 2020” and “ Rajiniyum Naanum” are scheduled to be held on December 31, 2019 and January 5, 2020.
IPRS, regularly issues licenses and collects royalty on behalf of its author, music composer and music publisher members all over India.
Rakesh Nigam, CEO of IPRS welcoming the Madras HC interim order said that it reinforces the rights of the author and music composer community by ensuring that end users of music utilize such literary and musical works only upon procuring a proper license for such use.
In Mumbai too, the HC orders in restraining over 600 hotels, restaurants and Pubs from using the PPL repertoire of songs without first obtaining a license for the Christmas and NYE events as well as the injunction against over 10 hotels and pubs in the Novex case, has put the copyright law and its salutary provisions to protect the rights of its authors’ and music composer’ into spotlight.

The dispute over whether the assignee like PPL and Novex has the rights to collect the royalties is still to be finally decided before the Bombay high court but till then the HC is telling hotels and restaurants to play by the rule book or face music.
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