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Delhi High Court bars Hello FM from playing music without proper license

23-November-2006
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Delhi High Court bars Hello FM from playing music without proper license

The Delhi High Court has prohibited Hello FM of Malar Publications from playing music without obtaining a license from the Indian Performing Right Society Ltd (IPRS). This order would technically mean that the Hello FM radio station would either have to stop broadcast or obtain a licence, or both.

In his order dated November 15, 2006, Justice Pradeep Nandrajog had said that court had “restrained the defendants (Hello FM – Malar Publications Ltd), their servants, agents, director, subsidiaries, and all others acting on their behalf from causing the broadcast or broadcasting/performing or communication to the public, literary and/or musical works of the plaintiff society or those of the foreign sister societies of the plaintiff or broadcasting any works of the plaintiff by any means without obtaining a licence from the plaintiff, thereby amounting to infringement of the plaintiff Society’s performing rights and communication to the public rights in the same.”

With the rapid growth of the FM radio industry in India, there have been numerous court cases wherein it has been alleged that some radio stations are trying to circumvent the rights of the copyright holders. The IPRS said in a statement that the High Court order was a warning to all such establishments operating without a licence that they were not above the law and that they would not be allowed to continue functioning.

All users of music, including radio stations, TV stations, etc., need to obtain a licence for public performance whenever they broadcast or perform these literary and musical works, the licence must be obtained prior to the event or broadcast, else it is a violation of the Copyright Act, 1957.

“The consumption of entertainment is changing and so will the earning pattern of artists. Newer forms of entertainment need to compensate artists adequately. Such ruling will set the correct benchmark,” said Rakesh Nigam, CEO, IPRS.

IPRS is a non-profit making company authorised under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957 to operate as a copyright society for musical works and literary works performed along with the musical works. It is a body that has more than 1,500 members who are local composers, lyric writers and publishers and also represents international music.

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