In a series of orders issued against individual establishments in December 2022, the Bombay High Court has restrained the use of copyright-protected sound recordings of Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) without a license by hundreds of popular commercial establishments like hotels, resorts, lounges, pubs, clubs, bars, etc.
This includes Xeco Media LLP (Discover Resorts), Digi1 Electronics, The Bar Stock Exchange, Snow World Entertainment, Adyar Gate Hotels, Byke Hospitality, Siddhivinayak Hospitality, FML Hospitality, Sai Silks (Kalamandir), Ambuja Neotia Holdings, GRT Hotels and Resorts and their outlets across the country.
The recent court orders assume great significance, as the order applies to all usage of music including ones being played in public places on Christmas, New Year’s Eve and any other events, or in the background throughout the year.
The eighty-year-old establishment PPL India is a music licensing company that controls/owns on-ground performance rights of more than 350 music labels, controlling over 4 million domestic and international sound recordings in several languages like Hindi, English, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Haryanvi, Bhojpuri, etc.
It controls rights for on-ground usage of recorded songs of some of the biggest record labels such as Aditya Music, Ananda Audio, Divo, Diljit Dosanjh, Lahari Music, Saregama, Sony Music, Sonotek, T-Series, Times Music, Universal Music, Warner Music and many more.
The commercial establishments are required to obtain two types of licenses, one for playing copyrighted songs in the background on the premises throughout the year and another for events like New Year, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Holi or corporate events, etc, helping people to celebrate featured usage of music.
GB Aayeer, MD & CEO of PPL India said, “Music copyrights are very expensive the world over where the investments by music companies run into several billion and trillion to make and acquire music. The license fee that PPL seeks from the establishments that are using its music is very nominal and is based on rationalised/published tariffs.
Even though in India music plays an essential part on every occasion, many people have a mindset of not paying for its usage, resulting in huge losses not only for the rightful owners but also for the entire creative community.
While PPL earnestly thanks all the establishments that have come forward and procured licenses in advance, it has no other alternative but to seek relief from courts against the adamant infringers.”
After hearing about the restraining orders issued by the Bombay High Court against the few non-compliant users, many other establishments have voluntarily come forward and obtained licenses from PPL.