INTRODUCTION

Many people are not aware, or at least not very clear about the functioning of The Indian Performing Rights Society Limited (IPRS). They often ask, “What is the business of IPRS?”

Briefly put, the business of IPRS is to administer rights of its members including by issuing Licenses to users of music and by collecting Royalties from them, for and on behalf of its Members i.e.  the Authors, the Composers and the Publishers of Music and to distribute this Royalty amongst them after deducting its administrative costs.

The IPRS came into existence on 23rd August 1969. The IPRS is a representative body of Owners of Music, viz. The Composers, Lyricists (or Authors) and the Publishers of Music and is also the sole Authorised Body to issue Licences for usage of Musical Works & Literary Music within India by any person.

Composers are those who are better known as Music Directors, Authors are better known as Lyricists, Publishers of Music are the Music Companies, or those who hold Publishing Rights of the Musical & Literary Works.

IPRS is a non-profit Organisation and is structured as a Company Limited by Guarantee and under the Companies Act 1956. IPRS is a Copyright Society registered by the Central Government under Section 33(3) of the Copyright Act, 1957 authorised to carry on the Copyright Business in Musical Works as defined in section 2(p) of the Copyright Act, 1957 and Literary Work associated with Musical Work.

 

BRIEF HISTORY

The Indian Performing Right Society Ltd. (IPRS) as seen today is not an overnight creation. The Society has evolved and emerged through good and rough weather during the past 46 years since its founding and incorporation. It is a history of a journey full of pains, struggle, frustration, but ultimately some achievement at last.

The task was very difficult and tedious because copyright law in India was not well defined. There was confusion over ownership of Rights as also acute lack of knowledge and information amongst not only the Users of copyrighted material but also amongst owners themselves. The IPRS Members themselves were not too interested in the affairs of the Society, simply because they, like the common man of the Country, were nor aware of the importance of the Copyright Law and had no idea what this business was all about. Words like Copyright Ownership, Performing Right and Licence Fees were alien not only to the common public but also to them. IPRS thus waged its way through these difficult times and situations and managed to keep the fight for a better Copyright Environment and awareness in the Country.

It was Mr. M.B. Srinivasan, a renowned composer of South India and an active Trade Unionist who mobilised the Members of the Society and persuaded them to take full control of the management of the Society and run it in this struggle he was ably supported by Mr. Naqsh Lyallpuri.

In 1990’s, the Society underwent a change in directions when it appointed young professionals to run the Society, thereby enthusing new blood into the Society.

The recent changes made in “The Copyright Act-1957”, by  the Parliament of India through “The Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012” states as:

a. The Amended Copyright Act, 1957 which came in to force on 21st June2012 clearly specifies that the authors of underlying literary or musical works incorporated in a cinematographic film or a sound recording are entitled to receive royalties for the utilization of their work in any form. The relevant provisions are reproduced herein below;

Section 17 Provided that in case of any work incorporated in a cinematograph work, nothing contained in clauses (b) and (c) shall affect the right of the author in the work referred to in clause (a) of subsection(1) of section13.

3rd Proviso to Section 18(1): Provided also that the author of the literary or musical work included in a cinematograph film shall not assign or waive the right to receive royalties to be shared on an equal basis with the assignee of copyright for the utilization of such work inany form other than for the communication to the public of the work along with the cinematograph film in a cinema hall, except to the legal heirs of the authors or to a copy right society for collection and distribution and any agreement to contrary shall be void:

4th Provisio to Section 18(1): Provided also that the author of the literary or musical work included in the sound recording but not forming part of any cinematograph film shall not assign or waive the right to receive royalties to be shared on an equal basis with the assignee of copyright for any utilization of such work except to the legal
heirs of the authors or to a collecting society for collection and distribution and any assignment to the contrary shall be void.”

Section-19(9)-No assignment of copyright in any work to make a cinematograph film shall affect the right of the author of the work to claim an equal share of royalties and consideration payable in case of utilization of the work in any form other than for the communication to the public of the work, along with the cinematograph film in a
cinema hall.

Section-19(10)-No assignment of the copyright in any work to make a sound recording which does not form part of any cinematograph film shall affect the right of the author of the work to claim an equal share of royalties and consideration payable for any utilization of such work in any form.

The amendments further clarify that the business of issuing or granting license to users of the literary and musical works can be carried out only through a duly registered copyright society.

Section-33(1)-Provided further that the business of issuing or granting license in respect of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works incorporated in a cinematograph films or sound recordings shall be carried out only through a copyright society duly registered under this Act.

Thus, after amendments to the Act in the year 2012, it is now explicitly clear that utilization of musical and literary works in any form and for any purpose (except for exhibition along with cinematograph film in cinema hall) requires the payment of royalty to the authors and owners of the said works. The IPRS membership comprises of authors as well as owners of musical and literary works. The (amended) Act further makes it clear that no other body or entity, except IPRS, is empowered to grant licenses and collect royalties in respect of the utilization in any form of musical and literary works incorporated in cinematograph films and sound recordings. The amended Act thus provides a “single window system” to the exploiters of copyrights in musical and literary works by obtaining a single license from IPRS for performing and/or communicating to the public in India the musical and literary works on television channels and radio stations and/or for the reproduction of the said works.

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFILIATIONS

IPRS has agreements of Reciprocal Representation with 50 plus similar Societies in other Countries, by virtue of which it is authorised to control and administer the Performing Rights in respect of Foreign Musical Works within India. Similarly, the Sister Societies in other Countries control the Performing Rights of Indian Music within their Territories.

Thus, IPRS collects Royalty for International Music and repatriates these Royalties to the respective Societies to which the Owners of that Music are affiliated. Similarly, IPRS receives Royalties from the affiliated Societies for the Indian Music being exploited in the Countries of the World.

The IPRS today has Direct Reciprocal Agreements with APRA (Australia), BMI (U.S.A.) CASH (Hongkong), COMPASS (Singapore) IMRO (Ireland), KCI (Indonesia), MACP (Malaysia), PRS (U.K.), SAMRO (South Africa), ASCAP (USA), SESAC (USA), MASA (Mauritius), MCPS-PRS (U.K.), COTT (Trinidad & Tobago), GEMA (Germany), etc.

 

LEGALITY

IPRS administers and controls on behalf of its Members. All our members i.e. Composers, Authors and Owner / Publishers / Film Producers have executed the assignment deeds assigning in favor of IPRS thereby assigning their past, present and future public performance rights (performing rights) and reproduction (mechanical) rights in their musical and literary works created and / or owned by them. By virtue of the said Deeds of Assignments, IPRS has become Owners of such musical and literary works. Therefore , under Section 33 of the Copyright Act as a registered Copyright Society and under Section 30 of the Copyright Act, 1957 in its capacity as Owner of Copyrights, IPRS is entitled to issue licenses for performance and/or communication to the public of the works owned by it. In return for such assignment, we identify users of our members’ lyrics and music, collect royalty and thereafter disburse the collected royalty to the Owner / Publisher and / or authors whose works are being performed or communicated to the public. We control and administer for our members, the right most commonly used and referred to as the “Performing and Mechanical Rights”.

1) The Performing Right in Musical Works which are :-

  • The Right to Perform to Musical Work in Public.
  • The right to communicate the work to the public by making it available for being seen or heard or otherwise enjoyed by the public directly or any means of display or diffusion regardless of whether any member of the public actually sees, hears or otherwise enjoys the work so made available which right/ act includes the act of “broadcast”; and/or
  • The right to authorize any of the aforesaid acts.

2) The Mechanical Rights in Musical Works, i.e., the reproduction of the works

Thus, all Licences in relation to the above-mentioned rights permitting usage of Music with regards Musical Works within India by any person are issued by IPRS only.

The Society grants “Blanket Licences” for a moderate annual charge which authorises the Public Performance, Broadcast or Diffusion by wire or by any other means or for the reproduction of any the numerous works which the Society controls on behalf of its Members and authorises the Public Performance, Broadcast or Diffusion by wire or by any other means that of its Affiliated Societies throughout the world.

The Society’s Licences covers both – Live performances as well as performances by any Mechanical/Digital means

 

ADMINISTRATION

As mandated by the Copyright Rules, 2013, IPRS is controlled by its members through a Governing Council of Directors elected by its Members at General Meetings every Year from amongst their own members, consisting of Members who are Authors, Composers and Publishers. The Governing Council is equally represented by Publishers and Composers / Authors. Furthers, there is also an equal representation between Composers and Authors as also region wise between North, East, West and South India. The Chairman of the Governing Council is the renowned Lyricist, script writer and poet, Mr. Javed Akhtar who is an Author member.

The Society has its Registered and Corporate Offices at Mumbai with Branch Offices, the Society carries on its licencing activities.

 

ACTIVITIES IN THE FIELD OF COPYRIGHT

The Society is a strong believer in the policy of Education in the filed of Copyright. Thus, in March 1981, the Society held its 1st Seminar on “The Role of Performing Right Society in the Modern World”. The Seminar was attended by Authors Guild of India, Registrar of Copyrights, many IPRS Members and many prominent Film Producers from Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. This Seminar was a great break through in bringing awareness amongst the various sections of the Film Industry on Copyright, its problems and the benefits and the role played by a Performing Right Society.

IPRS has been and Continues to be a very active in the Indian Copyright field. Besides holding various Seminars and Education Programs on a regular basis, IPRS was able to forcefully get its proposal for a change in certain provisions of the Indian Law changed in the 1995 amendments to the Copyrights Act. It played a vital part in the
2012 Amendments to the Copyright Act of India.

 

MEMBERSHIP

The membership of the Society continues to grow reflecting the ever-increasing awareness that it is building in the Indian creative community. Today, there are 4175 Members including 3373 Composers & Authors and 802 Owner Publishers. All major Publishers are Members of IPRS. On their Membership, they Assign all their Past, Present and Future Rights to IPRS.

Nearly all Composers, Songwriters & many Owner Publishers of Musical Works are Members of IPRS. Thus, IPRS controls a wide repertoire of Indian Musical Works and Foreign Musical Works belonging to other Societies.

Thus, any Composer, Lyric Writer and Owner Publishers can apply for membership of IPRS by filling in a simple Membership Application Form attaching the details of his /her works in the prescribed Forms along with the supporting documents as per the list with the form. The applicant for membership will also be required to sign a Standard Assignment Deed assigning all their past, present and future Rights in favour of IPRS to Administer and Control them on their behalf. They have to complete all documentation formalities as required by the Society.

W.E.F. 1st October, 2017

  • A) A one time Membership Fee of Rs. 1200/- is to be paid by a Composer/Lyric Writer
  • B) A one time Membership Fee of Rs. 2200/- is to be paid by a Publisher/Audio Visual Publisher
 
 

WHAT DOES IPRS DO FOR ITS MEMBERS

IPRS operationalises the “collective logic”. As we all know, a Composer / Lyric Writer is an Artiste. The best thing she/he can do is to Create Music and for which she/he labours hard, forgetting all her/his Worldly responsibilities. Artiste often need assistance to manage their rights which is where IPRS comes in.

As can be imagined, it would be impossible for the Composers, Songwriters and Publishers of Music to individually enforce their Copyright against various users of their Music, whether in India or abroad, as they do not have the means and infrastructure to do so or the transactional costs for individual administration would simply be too prohibitive.

Their Music may be played in a variety of places such as Hotels, Restaurants, Radio, Television, online, Offices or even on Live Concerts. It is simply impossible for individual Owners and rights holders to keep a track of the number of outlets that may be publicly performing their Music. In the same way they cannot be expected to chase restaurants, hotels, club, offices, bars, discos, etc. all over the World for payment of their Royalties.

IPRS does this job on their behalf and collects such money from whoever utilises the Musical Works of an Author, Composer, or Owner Publisher, at any public place. This money is then distributed to its Members at the following rates : 25% to Composers, 25% to Authors and 50% to Owner Publishers.

In the Case of an Audio Musical Work, the Publisher is usually the Music Company. But, if what is played in a Public place is an Audio Visual Work, the Publishers are Music Companies and the Film Producer. In such cases, the 50% share of the Publisher is divided equally the Music Company and the Producer.

IPRS Collects Royalties and after deducting its administrative costs distributes this Royalties amongst its members not only during their life time but also for 60 years after their death to their legal heirs.  During 1983, IPRS set up the Benevolent Fund for Authors and Composers through which its Members, their descendants or dependents who are in distress could seek financial help from the Society.

Further, IPRS also plays a role of a Copyright advisor to members who seek its assistance in Legal Copyright matters. IPRS has been instrumental in clarifying the Ownership Musical Rights in India through continuous dialogue with related Industry Associations. With the result today, The Ownership of Music Rights (not only Performing & Mechanical Rights) in India is now well settled issued. There is however a possibility that certain people will still try to obfuscate/confuse the situation and spread incorrect information. Thus, it is very much advised that people get in touch with IPRS who would be very pleased to offer any assistance and give the correct
information.

 

LICENCING

As we know, Performing / Communicating Music to the public in any premises what so ever, requires the permission from the Owners of that Music. In a Song there are 3 Owners viz. The Composer, the Lyric Writer and the Owner Publisher. Thus, as one can see for one song, a person who wants to play Music in public, will have to obtain permissions from all 3 Owners. This presents significant administrative and transactional costs challenges.

Thus, if a Restaurant / Shop / Hotel/ Office / Bank/other Establishment wants to play Music such as a song of Michael Jackson or Gulzar Saab, either Live or through recorded means, it would have to normally take the following steps if it does not wish to infringe the Copyright in the Music :

  • To determine the Owner of the Copyright in the Lyrics and the Music.
  • To locate the Owners. The various right holders in the song could be in any part of the World.
  • They would then have to seek permission from each of these person.
  • Negotiate the rate of Royalty with them

It may well take a long time to get responses or some of them may even be unwilling to grant a Licence. It may also be that the fee is not uniform, so that somebody may ask for a reasonable amount whilst another may ask for a steep amount.

It is here, that the society serves the User. The IPRS actually acts as a transparent, fair and equitable ‘Pipe Line’ between the Users of Musical Works and its Members or is a one window for Users of Music to obtain Legal Licence. The Society has thus become an indispensable mechanism for collecting Royalties from various Users of
Copyrighted Works of their Members and disbursing these Royalties to such Members.

The IPRS has a field staff, deployed in areas covered in its region of operation. The aim is to track down places where music is being unauthorisedly utilised. It could be a hotel, restaurant, club, society, office, factory, workshop, bus, airport, aero plane etc. The field staff first educates the ones who are playing the musical works about the illegality involved in their action. Playing music for commercial purposes without acknowledging the Copyright of the Copyright Holder is a punishable crime under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957. They are then asked to obtain a licence issued by the IPRS, after which the playing of Musical Work whether recorded or audiovisual becomes fully legal.

Licence Fee/ royalty is collected according to different parameters developed for different users of the works, this entitles the licensee to play Music anywhere within its premises. The licence fee is annual and has to be paid in advance. IPRS has Tariffs for various categories for different places.

While some who exploit music do become Licence holders, many don’t bother about the illegality involved in playing music or showing a film without a proper licence. Also, the awareness of people has increased over the years, besides many prefer paying and remaining on the right side of the Law.

 

LEGAL ACTIONS

Unlike film people who, in combating cable and video piracy, keep running to the police which does precious little to resolve their grievances, the IPRS never taps the doors of any police station. Instead, it knocks the doors of the court directly. The Society has succeeded in the obtaining Court Orders from various Courts across the Country restraining the organizations from playing Musical works without obtaininga Licence from IPRS.

The Present Board of Directors –

Mr. Javed Akhtar – Chairman
Mr. Aashish Rego
Mr. Rajinder Singh Panesar
Mr. Anupam Roy
Mr. G V Prakash Kumar
Mr. Sahithi Cherukapally
Mr. Vikram Mehra (Saregama India)
Mr. Mandar Thakur (Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd Aka Times Music)

Registered & Corporate Office

208, Golden Chambers, New Andheri Link Road,
Andheri (W), Mumbai – 400 053.
Tel. : (022) 26733748 / 49 / 50 / 2673 6616
Fax : (022) 2673 6658
E-mail : admin@iprsltd.com

Southern Office
D-1, Parsn Paradise, Residential Appts,
109, G.N. Road, T. Nagar, Madras – 600 017.
Telefax : (044) 2826 3056
E-mail : chennaioffice@iprsltd.com

Northern Office
317, Som Datt Chambers – I, 5, Bhikaiji Cama Place,
New Delhi – 110 066.
Tel. : (011) 2610 1556 Telefax : (011) 2610 1572
E-mail : delhioffice@iprsltd.com

Eastern Office
Apartment No. : 5B, Trinayana,
12, B.T. Road, Kolkata – 700 056.
Tel. : (033) 2564 1279
E-mail : kolkattaoffice@iprsltd.com

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