Suppose you are the owner of a gym or a café/ restaurant and you love music ( who does not?) and you want to play the same in your gym or café/ restaurant. While playing the same will give you happiness, it wont be the same for the original artists. One fine day you play the music & the original artist comes and says that you have to play royalty to them or stop the music. Well, what rights does a singer have over his or her music? Section 38 of the Copyright Act, 1957, as amended in 2012, recognises “Performer’s Rights” of the Singer of a commercially recorded song for 50 years from the “beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the performance is made”. During this period, the performance, or “a substantial part thereof”, cannot be recorded, reproduced, broadcast or communicated without the performer’s consent. In case the performances are commercially utilised, the performers including singers have the right to Receive Royalty.
Under the Copyright Act, the performers including singers can license their Right to Receive Royalty (R3) to Copyright Societies to administer their right which issues the licence & collects royalty on their behalf. ISRA (Indian Singers’ Rights Association) which is a registered Copyright Society under the Copyright Act, can take legal action on behalf of the members of Indian film and music industry for violation of copyright. Any person making commercial use of a performance must obtain a “Performer’s Rights Clearance Certificate” from ISRA and pay royalties. Commercial utilisation means & includes both live as well as recorded performance of a song. Examples include playing music in a restaurant, or over the radio/TV/Internet, in shops, hospitals, airports or by DJs at commercial events. If these rules are not followed , then, it is a cognizable and non-bailable offence with penalties extending up to 3 years. The Delhi High Court in one case ruled that a South Delhi restaurant had violated the “inalienable Right to Receive Royalty (R3)” of performers by playing their songs “without obtaining Rights Clearance Certificate”, and asked the “defendant to render to the plaintiff the accounts of all the monies earned by it from the performance of the repertoire… of the performers”. In another case, Justice V Kameswar Rao passed similar orders against a lounge bar in North Delhi. So, if a restaurant/ café wants to play music, then, they will have to get a No-Objection Certificate from ISRA, and pay the price of “the least priced drink on the menu card” per day to each singer whose song it plays. One needs to make an application in a prescribed format to PPL or IPRS as the case may be. In fact, under copyright law, the copyright rests with the Producer, the Composer, as well as the Performer.
 Aneesha Mathur-Play the music, face the music: What the Copyright Act says, Play the music, face the music: What the Copyright Act says | Explained News,The Indian Express, visited on 07-08-2021 at 11:45hrs.
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