Absurd Bombay High Court royalty judgment


MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court judgment freeing FM radio player Radio City from paying royalties or licence fees to the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) is making singers, music composers and lyricists see red. They have demanded that the IPRS should take prompt and stringent action against what they called a “strangely out of tune ruling.”

Says a livid music composer Anu Malik, “The judgment is quite distressing as music directors’ and lyricists work very hard. If they are not going to be paid royalty for their songs, then they are going to be demotivated.”

Adds music composer Aadesh Shrivastava: “Artistes are the creators ofa song and the FM stations are playing our music, and, in turn, our creativity and making money out of these. The IPRS will appeal in the HC and I am sure that the decision will come in our favour. Javedji (poet, writer and member of parliament Javed Akhtar) who is very active with the copyright issue, with other senior members of the fraternity are really working hard and will work out something effective as it is a matter of creativity.”

Music composer Lalit Pandit adds that “it is a very painful situation to see that the Indian musicians are not getting paid for their work, unlike globally.”

“The Indian music industry collects both music recording and performance royalties and licence fees from radio stations in other countries, then why are we merging the two rights in India?” questions enraged music composer Raju Singh,

“International collecting societies are collecting both music recording and performance royalties from India for international music being played out on FM radio stations in India,” points out Javed Akhtar. “Will Indian FM radio stations now refuse to pay a penny to these international societies? Do you think the international collecting societies will accept this? Clearly this judgment is contrary to international practices prevalent in the music business.”

The Bombay High Court verdict favouring Radio City may have provided some relief and could probably open the floodgates for all FM radio broadcasters. With the Union Cabinet’s approval of Phase-III licensing norms, this ruling has come as an icing on the cake.

But for the creators of music and songs, the Bombay High Court judgment seems like a whole lot of cacophony.

RadioCity Source :

The Bombay High court in a judgment has stated that FM player Radio City would now have deal only with the Phonographic Performances Limited for obtaining a licence to play music on its staions and the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) cannot claim or demand royalty or license fees for playing recorded music from it.

Music Broadcast Private Limited (MBPL), the parent company of Radio City had earlier in 2006 filed a case against Indian Performing Right Society claiming that the company had been paying IPRS royalties for broadcast of sound recordings under a mistaken belief of law for almost a decade.

MBPL also sought a refund of the Rs. 12.7 million which it claimed it had paid to IPRS as royalty/license fees from 1 August, 2003 to 31 July, 2006.

Terming the court’s decision as a landmark judgment for the entire radio industry, Radio City 91.1 FM CEO, Apurva Purohit said that the judgment vindicates the station’s position on the actual ownership of the music played which means that the music labels/producers have bought the rights to all sound recordings.

However IPRS CEO Rakesh Nigam did not share the same opinion and termed the decision to be as “the most absurd judgment”. He further added that will definitely go ahead and appeal as soon as possible.

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Source : Rodioandmusic.com | Radiocity

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