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October 14, 2020

Royalty Rate for Statutory Licensing Of Musical And Sound Recordings Broadcast Via Radio

Author: Janaki Arun

In the matters of Music Broadcast Ltd. v. Tips Industries Ltd. & Ors. [SR.NO.18/2020/CR/DEL & Ors.], the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, vide its order dated September 18, 2020 held that status quo will be maintained and the rate of royalty for broadcast of musical and sound recordings via radio fixed by the erstwhile Copyright Board vide its order dated August 8, 2010 will be applicable retrospectively w.e.f. October 1, 2020.

It was submitted on behalf of the applicants that if an order for maintenance of status quo is not passed before September 30, 2020 when the licence(s) granted by the Copyright Board expires, the applicants will be forced to enter into voluntary agreements with various music labels for exploitation of the repertoire. The applicants submitted that, alternatively, an interim relief be granted to them by determination of an interim rate of Royalty/license fee to be paid for broadcast of sound recordings through radio. While objections were raised on behalf of the respondents in earlier hearings, almost all parties were agreeable to status quo being maintained in view of a final date of hearing on substantives being fixed.

The IPAB, therefore, stated that “…without going into the merits of the case, we direct that till the petitions/applications are decided, the status quo shall continue between the parties in as per order of Copyright Board dated 25th august 2010…”. In light of the applications, the IPAB has also issued a public notice notifying its intention to fix royalties for statutory licensing of musical works and sound recordings broadcast via radio, and inviting suggestions for determining the same. The public notice was issued in compliance with Section 31D of the Copyright Act read with Rule 31 of the Copyright Rules, 2013 whereby once an application is made, the IPAB is required to fix a rate of interest by following the process laid out therein.

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