| 15 Jun 2024
Singers get favourable Delhi High Court order on royalties

MUMBAI: It is being called a first step, a bold step, which has pleased the hearts of the Indian singing community. Just as Christmas was approaching, the Indian Singers' Rights Association (ISRA) got a judicial order in its favour.  

On 23 December 2014, the Delhi High Court passed an order ex-parte against the New Delhi (Pithampura)-based Night Fever Club & Lounge, restraining it from "communicating to the public, the plaintiff's repertoire comprising of performances of all its members without obtaining a license from the plaintiff (read ISRA) or doing any other act infringing the plaintiff's members performer's rights till further orders."

ISRA had filed a case against the lounge on 18 December in the Delhi High Court through its lawyers Pravin Anand and Dhruv Anand and T. Misra. The court issued summons to the club's owners and its representative- Hemant Gupta on 20 December, but as no one from the defendant's side turned up on 23 December, judge S P Garg passed the order ex-parte.

ISRA managing director Sanjay Tandon has labelled this as a landmark decision.  

Says he, "The Copyright amendment was passed in 2012, but its clauses, which protected singers’ rights, were not being followed. Now that we have got the order it will be followed."

Tandon says the organisation is going to go into overdrive to communicate the new dispensation to the user community - whether it is TV channels or clubs or lounges or event companies.  And it will take violators to court if they do not comply.

He added, "Like the actors have their onscreen performances, every singer is a performer. If a performer's voice is used for commercial purposes, then its exploitation needs to be compensated through royalties. Thus the users will have to pay for the licenses that we will issue to them. We will file many more cases if singers’ voices are exploited and they will have to pay the damages."

ISRA was constituted as a not-for-profit company on 3 May 2013 with the support of singers such as  Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Suresh Wadkar, Gurdaas Mann, Pankaj Udhas, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Sonu Nigam, Asha Bhosle, Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala, Sunidhi Chauhan and Mahalaxmi Iyer.