In a landmark decision, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has upheld the right of Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) to collect royalty from FM Radio Stations.
IPRS is a copyright society of authors, composers, lyricists, and publishers registered under the Copyrights Act. It maintains a proper record of the artistic/musical works of its members being published and broadcasted through any medium. Its main purpose is to collect royalty from such users on behalf of its members. It also grants licenses and certificates to users for making use of such musical works. It deducts its own functional and administrative costs and distributes the remaining portion of royalties to its members. IPRS presently has more than 5,500 members. Music Broadcast Ltd. and other radio broadcasters approached the IPAB, calling upon IPAB to fix royalties for broadcasting songs through radio.
IPRS, in its application before the IPAB, stated that when songs are broadcasted on radio, the payment of royalties are implicated/triggered on two main basis:
Firstly, IPRS is an owner of rights (through assignment from its members) in relation to literary and musical works incorporated in sound recordings.
Secondly, with respect to royalties on the sound recording as a whole and as a separate work, the right to receive royalty lies with the producers or his/her assignee i.e. music companies or other successors. These music companies are members of IPRS.
Hence, IPRS contended that it has the right to collect royalty from FM stations.
A bench headed by the IPAB Chairman Justice Manmohan Singh and Technical Members N Surya Senthil and SP Chockalingam in its verdict upheld the rights of the IPRS and its members to claim royalties in respect of the broadcasts of lyrics, music and underlying sound recordings by FM Radio Stations in India. The verdict was delivered keeping in view the amendments made in the Copyright (Amendment) Act of 2012 pertaining to the ‘Right to Receive Royalty’.
All major FM Radio corporations were present before IPAB and witnessed the landmark proceeding. The IPAB also established separate royalty rates for literary work, musical work, and sound recordings. Lexology