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Delhi HC grants EEMA court stay against unregistered music licensing bodies

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Delhi HC grants EEMA court stay against unregistered music licensing bodies

The Delhi High Court on December 23, 2016 issued an injunction against Music Licensing bodies PPL, IPRS and Novex from granting licenses as registered copyright societies.

The Event & Entertainment Management Association of India (EEMA) has been working towards regularising and streamlining the Music Licensing regulatory framework for many years now. It has been engaged in a long, slow but constant legal battle against the exploitation by the so called ‘Registered Copyright Societies’ who charge ‘Royalty’ for music played out at events. There are cases going on in several courts by various associations and individuals against the malpractices being administered by these so called copyright societies.

EEMA had recently filed a fresh writ in Delhi High Court wherein it was highlighted that despite the fact that currently neither of the bodies issuing ‘licenses’ are infact Registered Copyright Societies – PPL / IPRS and Novex, however they still continue to grant licenses and continue to be in the business of granting licenses. The court took serious notice of the matter and issued an injunction in favour of EEMA restraining all these parties from issuing licenses unless they are registered under section 33 of the Indian Copyright Act.

Ankur Kalra, Secretary (Legal), EEMA, said, “The Music Licensing lobby (PPL/IPRS/Novex) has been engaged in illegal issuance of licenses since over two years now and flouts all laws by openly threatening venues to stop events unless the license is procured. Venues in turn pressurise event managers to do the same who despite knowing that it is wrong are forced to procure these licenses in order to safeguard their events. The music licensing ‘societies’ today are private limited companies operating purely for profit and very little or no money actually reaches the artists. It has become an organised syndicate and when we highlighted the same to the court we got an injunction almost immediately.  We will take this battle forward and ensure that all event managers, venues and police departments are educated on this matter so that they are not part of the exploitation.”

Abhishek Malhotra, Legal Counsel, EEMA, said, “The music industry has been going through a flux. While the law clearly provides that issue and grant of licenses can be done only through a registered copyright society, these three entities have been effectively carrying on this business in violation of the clear legal provisions. This order as well as the Government of India's endorsement of the issues facing the users of music is therefore a welcome development.”

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