IPL inaugural’s music copyright issue unresolved

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Kolkata, April 6 (IANS) With only a day to go for the Indian Premier League (IPL) inaugural, the row between an official body that works to protect the rights of artists and the organisers of the tournament’s opening ceremony remains unresolved over paying of fees for playing music at the programme slated for Tuesday.

“The organisers are opening up to discussion. We are hoping for the best,” Indian Performing Right Society Ltd. (IPRS) regional head Avishek Basu told IANS on Monday.

The IPRS recently slapped legal notices on the IPL Governing Council, the West Bengal government and the event managers, claiming they are “reluctant” to pay fees for playing music.

Bollywood stars Farhan Akhtar, Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Pritam and Hrithik Roshan are set to light up the ceremony which will take place here after a gap of two years at the state-run Salt Lake Stadium.

IPRS has around 3,500 authors, lyricists, music composers, publishers, and film producers as members, and is responsible for issuing licences to those playing music in public or commercial establishments and then distributing the fees as royalty among members.

The notices were sent to organisers (Encompass Events Pvt. Ltd.) of the opening ceremony, IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal, and CEO of the stadium for payment of ‘Performance Licence (Royalty) Fees’ for playing music as per the provisions of the Copyright Act 1957.

“As in previous years, this year too, the IPL matches’ music licences have been procured by the organisers (DNA Entertainment Networks procured licenses). But the mandatory Public Performance Licence for playing music at the opening ceremony has not yet been procured,” Basu explained.

“We were pursuing the payment of royalty fees for quite some time only to get avoidance and indifference from the organisers of the show who are reluctant to pay the requisite fees. This has forced us to serve legal notice to them.”

According to Basu, most of the music genres (over 10 million), be it film or non-film music, pop, rock, ghazals, bhajans or classical and international music of more than 100 countries are included in the society’s repertoire.

“Any performance of musical and literary works by way of live performance or by usage of recorded music without a licence granted by the owner under Section 30 of the Copyright Act 1957 is illegal,” Basu said.

The organisers have been informed that they would be “liable for infringing the copyright in musical and literary works belonging to members of IPRS under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, if you permit or authorise the exploitation of musical and literary works for which permission has not been obtained” from the IPRS.

The body has urged the organisers to “ensure the event doesn’t begin without a proper licence being obtained from us”.

Musicians like A.R. Rahman, Anu Malik, Gulzar, Bappi Lahiri, Ravinder Jain, Jatin Pandit (of duo Jatin-Lalit), Shravan Rathod (of duo Nadeem-Shravan), and IIayaraaja are members of IPRS.

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