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Copyright rap on Dooars resort
- Phonography monitor stops soiree

Siliguri, July 26: The phonography licence authority and police stopped a live music programme in a resort in the Dooars because the organisers did not have the licence to play live or recorded music.

The officials of the Phonographic Performance Limited seized all musical equipment from Sinclairs Retreat on July 12.

An FIR was lodged against the hotel that had organised the programme for a nationalised petroleum company.

Calcutta-based Sinclairs Holds Ltd, which runs the facility at Chulsa in the Dooars and several others in India, did not reply to emails sent by The Telegraph seeking its reaction to the development.

According to Section 63 of the Indian Copyright Act of 1957, any person who knowingly infringes or abets the infringement of copyright in a work would be punished with imprisonment not be less than six months.

The duration of imprisonment may extend to three years, with fine, which shall not be less than Rs 50,000 and may extend to Rs 2 lakh.

“Playing Indian or international music, live, sound recordings or copyrighted music, in public places or commercial establishments like hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, pubs, shacks, discotheques, DJ events, cruise liners, cinema halls, shops, banks, offices and amusement parks without licence constitutes infringement of the Copyright Act, 1957,” said an official of the licence authority.

“It is a cognisable and non-bailable offence,” the official said.

Organisers have to obtain a licence from the Phonographic Performance Limited before holding any musical programme.

“It is mandatory for all event management companies to procure a separate Public Performance Licence prior to every event,” the official said.

S. Choudhury, the country head of Phonographic Performance Limited, said Sinclairs Retreat, about 60km from Siliguri, was served a notice about six months ago asking them to stop holding musical programmes.

“The hotel authorities, despite the notices, did not bother to obtain the licence from us,” Choudhury said over the phone from Mumbai.

“If a corporate house plans a musical programme, they must understand that music is the principal ingredient and does not come for free. They should obtain the licence,” he added.

Siliguri-based hoteliers said the charge of getting a PPL licence was high. “If it is an assembly of only 40 people we need to pay as high as Rs 15,000 for the licence,” a hotel owner said.