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News |  30 Dec 2009 18:04 |  By AnitaIyer

PPL notices may mar New Year bashes in Mumbai

MUMBAI: New Year's eve events at prominent venues in Mumbai may get jeopardised due to the issuing  of legal notices by licensing body PPL to defaulting hotels and pubs for not securing licences for public performances for the scheduled events.

Interim injunctions have been issued by the Mumbai High court to BJN Hotels Ltd, Hotel Leela Kempinski, Nerul Gymkhana, Suraj Water Park, Marine Centre, Ice n Spice, The Park and BJR (Gallops Mall). PPL has issued notices to all these prominent places which haven't paid the music licence fee for their venues across the country, say PPL officials.

PPL plans to initiate strict legal action against defaulters in case the license fee does not get paid ahead of their planned events.

After the injunction, JSM Corporation and Supreme Heritage have agreed to pay the license fee. Hotel Taj Lands End, Tikuji Ni Wadi, Imperial Banquets, Vie Lounge, Le Meridien, Hotel JW Marriot, Hotel Tunga Regency have already paid the licence fees.

Says PPL CEO Vipul Pradhan, 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 for the same 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.

According to PPL Country Head-Events Sowmya Chowdhury, Musical nights and customized New year events rake in huge revenues for pubs and organisers. 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... 

Asserts PPL National Sales Manager Avinash D'Souza, Music labels have complete authority over the sound recordings and using them without a proper licence can bring the events & 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, according to the PPL, are reluctant to pay licence fees (which varies depending on the number of hours for which the music is played), 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.