IPRS can claim royalties from Indian FM Radio Stations

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Frontier India News Network
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Indian FM Radio Stations have to pay royalties to the lyricist and music composer if they have used their lyrics and music in any form states a ruling by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). IPAB headed by Justice Manmohan Singh and Technical Members N Surya Senthil and SP  Chockalingam, comprising the expert tribunal under the Copyright Act, 1957, pronounced the landmark judgement on 31st December 2020 upholding the rights of the Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) and its lyricist, music composer and music publisher members to claim royalties in respect of the broadcast of lyrics and music underlying sound recordings by FM Radio Stations in India.

The judgment specifically recognises the rights of lyricists and music composers to claim royalties on the basis of the 2012 amendments to the Copyright Act, 1957. As per the judgement, separate royalty rates are payable by radio broadcasting stations across India through 2021 in respect of sound recordings as well as literary works and musical works.

The judgement was pronounced in attendance from major FM Radio Companies, Music Companies and Copyright Society like IPRS to fix royalty rates for radio broadcasting under the statutory license provision of the Copyright Act, 1957.

“This landmark decision has applied the law by recognising the rights of creators like lyricists and music composers to an equal share of royalty from the utilization of the lyrics and music in any form. This judgment will greatly benefit impoverished creators and their families as well as the entire creative community in India and internationally,” said Poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar who is the Chairperson of IPRS.  

In 2011, a judgement by the Bombay High Court stated that IPRS is not entitled to claim or demand royalty or licence fees from FM channel for the recorded songs and music it plays on its stations.  The Bombay High Court had confined its judgement on deciding If IPRS is entitled to claim and/or demand Fees from the appellant. The judgement was passed based on a  Music Broadcast Private Limited (MBPL) appeal in 2006 stating that they are already paying royalties to Phonographic Performances Limited (PPL), a body of film producers.

As per Section 13(4) of the Act, the author of the Work remains at all times the owner of the copyright in such Underlying Works (despite such Underlying Works being embedded in a sound recording); therefore, there always exists two separate copyrights upon the making of a sound recording i.e. one in the sound recording itself and the other in the Underlying Works. Accordingly, any communication of a sound recording necessarily also involves the communication of the Underlying Works; this creates the necessity for the owner of the sound recording to obtain a license and Fees not only at the time of creating such sound recording but also at the time of communicating to the public by broadcast.  

IPRS,  India’s only Copyright Society registered under the Copyright Act 1957,  issues Licences and collects Royalties from Music Users, for and on behalf of IPRS members including the Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music. MB Srinivasan, the composer from South India and Naqsh Lyallpuri,  ghazal and Bollywood film lyricist, are key people associated with the origin of the company.


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