| 18 Jun 2024
Collection of royalty by IPRS and PPL is illegal, says artistes and organisers from Delhi and Mumbai

NEW DELHI: In a show of solidarity, two registered organisations from Delhi and Mumbai, today, told the media in a joint press meet that Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) have been illegally collecting money from stage organisers for the last two years.

The Delhi Organisers and Artists Society and the Mumbai based Organisers and Artists Welfare Trust said that the IPRS and PPL had been de-registered after the amendment to the Copyright Act in 2012 when it was laid down that any organisation had to re-apply for registration, which would be valid for five years.

Kaushik Kothari, an eminent lawyer from Mumbai and President of the Trust, said that the IPRS was a private body set up in south India as the Government had failed to set up any unit after it amended the Act in 1957. Since the major business at that time was in Mumbai, IPRS shifted base to Mumbai and managed to get registered on 27 March 1996.

He also pointed out that no artiste ever received the money collected by IPRS and it has several cases pending against it in Mumbai.

The bodies have been forcing organisers of live shows to pay royalty since 2002, initially at the rate of Rs six per seat and then going up to Rs 35 a seat.

In any case, both Kothari and Delhi Organizers and Artists Society president, Amarjit Singh Kohli, said that the Act was clear and that no copyright could be charged on songs that were rendered by someone other than the original artiste or played for non-commercial purposes such as marriages etc.

Kothari said that the Act was clear that copyright related to the original notation and not to words and action (like dancing) to the original music.

Following a legal case, the Government had set up an inquiry into where the money was going, but this was manifestly wrong as the bodies had no right to collect the money.

However, they said ignorance of law made people easy bait and the IPRS and PPL personnel could easily get away as they received money to avoid embarrassment for the organisers.

Both, Kohli and Kothari, along with eminent artiste I P S Bawa, appealed to the police authorities to send out circulars to all hotels that it was illegal to pay anything to IPRS or PPL.

(Kothari told that he was holding a similar press meet in Agra tomorrow and later in Jaipur to create awareness.)

Kohli said that the IPRS and PPL, which were earlier Copyright Societies, automatically got de-registered on 21 June 2013 as a consequence of publication of Amendment of the Act on 7 June 2012 which came into force from 21 June 2012.

Section 33 (3A) of amendment required that previous Copyright Societies apply for re-registration should furnish full accounts before the Copyright Board on or before 21 June.2013, but these two societies failed to get registration from the Board.

Kothari said there are innumerable court cases against IPRS and PPL in various cities of India for illegally collecting money. He said that in an attempt to save themselves from the clutches of the law, both IPRS and PPL, whose headquarters are in Mumbai, have admitted on their own letterheads that they are no longer Copyright Societies.

Kothari produced photocopies of this admission but said he was shocked to know that Delhi Branch Offices of IPRS and PPL have kept everybody in the dark, including the Delhi Police Licensing Department, Stage Organisers, Auditoriums, Restaurants and Hotels and they have been collecting money illegally from them for the last two years which may run into crores.
He said that this is a case of large scale cheating and extortion of money by these two private societies and urged Delhi Police to take appropriate action against them. As a first step, Delhi Police may ask these two Societies to furnish Renewed Certificate of Registration from the Copyright Board and take suitable action against them under various laws. In the meantime, receipts of money given by IPRS and PPL to various organisers of Delhi can be collected and a consolidated list furnished to Delhi Police.

The Conference was also attended by representatives of Delhi Police who stated that Delhi Police is committed to strict enforcement of law. It will first gather full information on the subject and satisfy itself about the stated facts and then initiate further action under the law.