HC orders EEMA to pay music copyright owners through IPRS, others

New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has ordered Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), an event organiser group, to pay money to copyright owners of music that they use in their programmes.

Justice Najmi Waziri also directed the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) and Novex Communications to put search options in their websites to identify the real copyright owners.

“By December 31, 2016, the respondent will, in deference to the confidential information as may be, upload on their respective websites the assignment deeds along with the list of songs pertaining to such assignment deed,” the court said in its December 29 order after hearing of an agreement between respondent EEMA and defendants IPRS, PPL and others.

EEMA is an association of event managers, while IPRS, a representative body of owners of music, composers, lyricists and publishers of music, is also the sole authorised body to issue licences permitting use of music within India by any person, while PPL owns, as assignee, and exclusively controls public performance rights and radio broadcasting rights of more than five lakh songs in Hindi and other languages.

The court observed that the parties have agreed that if an event in which a copyrighted work is used by EEMA, then the owner claiming intellectual property rights of the work will issue an invoice for the royalty of the copyrighted work.

“…monies shall be paid by the petitioner or the holder of the event, i.e. user of the copyrighted work, to the respondent in terms the invoice prior to holding of the event, or as per such arrangement as may be agreed between the parties,” the court stated in its order.

The court was hearing a writ petition filed by EEMA which has sought an enquiry against PPL, IPRS and Novex for allegedly violating section 33 of the Act.

The vacation court, however, listed the matter for April 24, 2017, which will be heard by the roster bench.

However, EEMA, in a statement, claimed: “For the first time, the PPL, IPRS, Novex have been forced by the court to prove their ownership of copyright.”

It added that EEMA believes that copyright fees should be paid to the rightful owners, creators and artists in a transparent and reasonable manner so that they receive their due, and the rates being charged are logical and reasonable.

On the other hand, IPRS contended the order was a setback for EEMA as they will now have to pay license fees before any event based on the assignment details with IPRS.

“Their (EEMA) injunction against IPRS is nullified and no relief is granted for not paying to IPRS and stage events,” IPRS said in a statement.

The statement added that it was a victory for thousands of authors, composers, publishers and owners of music that their work will not be used at events without obtaining an IPRS licence.

On December 23, another bench of the Delhi High Court had accepted that IPRS, PPL and Novex were not registered copyright societies under section 33 of the Copyright Act, and had therefore restrained them from collecting any licence fee from performers or performing societies.

–IANS

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