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News |  30 Dec 2010 15:24 |  By RnMTeam

Pay up or face the music: PPL

* Legal notices from PPL to defaulting hotels, pubs, discs, lounges may jeopardize New Year bashes countrywide

NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: With the music industry serving notices to various hotels and pubs in many cities and towns to pay requisite music licence fee to play music, events at these venues to mark the end of the year and the advent of 2011 may go without the usual music and dance.

Following intervention by the Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL), legal notices have been issued to venues that have not paid the requisite music licence fee to play music at their year-end events. PPL plans to initiate strict legal action against defaulters in case the licence fee does not get paid ahead of their planned events.

Sowmya Chowdhury, Country Head-Events, PPL, told that interim injunction had been granted by various High Courts for many cities and towns including Kolkata, Mumbai, Cochin, Gurgaon, Mysore, Mussoorie, Nainital, Solan and Manali, apart from Delhi.

The following, per a statement from PPL,  is the list where interim injunctions were given in Mumbai by Honorable Mumbai High Court to Hotel Renaissance & Convention Centre, Ice n Spice, JSM Corporation Pvt. Ltd., Sea Princess Hotels & Properties Ltd., Vie Lounge & Deck. PPL has issued notices to all these prominent places which haven't paid the music licence fee across the country 

Interim injunction has been given by the Delhi High Court for Kasbah Restaurant, Yum Yum Tree, Tao Restaurant, Tabula Rasa, Swagat's  S Lounge, Blanco, Chonas, Gola Westend, Urban Pind ( A Unit of Sun F & B Businesses), Wok In The Cloud, Hotel Diplomat, Asia 7, Olive Bar And Kitchen, DLF Services Limited, TK'S The Kitchen, Velocity, Amigo (A Unit of Elate Builders Pvt. Ltd.), Frequency, Hash Restobar (Millennium Designs Pvt. Ltd.), Peppers, Grand Sartaj, Hotel Clarks Inn, RTC Restaurants India Ltd., and The Claremount Hotel.

PPL has issued notices to all these prominent places which have not paid the music licence fee across the country 

Vipul Pradhan, CEO, PPL said "New Year parties attract people promising them a good time through a combination of entertainment, food and beverage. A significant component of the sum charged from the customers is for music – an integral element of entertainment. Therefore, the music companies whose sound recording is regularly used have a right towards claiming their due because their product is getting consumed too....

Under the statutory sanction of section 35 in the Indian Copyright Act, playing commercial music in public without paying the requisite licence fee is an offence liable to contempt of court. Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licences to hotels/pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event. The penalty can be imprisonment for three years and a fine of up to Rs 200,000.

According to Chowdhury, Musical nights and customized New year events rake in huge revenues for pubs organizers. A year ending event cannot be imagined without music! Yet, when it comes to paying for the commercial use of music, the event organizers chose to evade the licence fee....

According to Avinash D'Souza, National Sales Manager, PPL, Music labels have complete authority over the sound recordings and using them without a proper licence can bring the events and parties to a standstill. People should also act proactively and check with their chosen properties to avoid a last minute inconvenience or embarrassment. To prevent such situations, this year we have expanded our operations to a National Campaign in all major cities...  

Every year pubs/hotels target revenues with customized New Year packages but are reluctant to pay a nominal licence fee (which varies depending on the number of hours for which the music is played) to PPL. Thus, flouting the norms and eating into the royalties of the music labels. Disc Jockeys too need to abide by PPL guidelines if they continue to play music without paying the licence fees.

Some important facts:

The Music industry loses several crores every year due to the non-payment of licence fee by hotels/pubs/etc. in the country

Defaulter hotels/pubs/etc. across the key cities have been issued legal notices by PPL to pay up the licence fee

Legal notices have been issued to hotels and pubs in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Jaipur, Himachal Pradesh, Pune, Haryana, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Goa, Bhubaneswar, etc…

Non-payment of fee could lead to up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2 lakhss

Playing copyrighted music without permission from PPL is liable to contempt of court under Section 35 in the Indian Copyright Act.