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Get licence, play music

If you are a hotel or restaurant owner playing music on a sound system, over TV and radio or hosting a “live/DJ/recorded” music event, make sure you have permission from Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS).

The society has been mandated by the Copyright Act 1957 — Section 33(3) — to protect the rights of composers, songwriters and publishers.

It recently obtained an injunction order from the city civil court against Hotel Paramount (a member of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India) on Free School Street for playing music without licence.

There have been several similar cases across India involving high-profile events — a Sonu Nigam programme in Ranchi (injunction obtained on December 13), a Pankaj Udhas performance in Mumbai (injunction on December 19) and a live event with Arijit Singh in Jaipur (injunction on December 23).

“A circular issued by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (on July 18 and December 30 last year) said a licence from Phonographic Performance Ltd is required for recorded music and from IPRS for live events. It also said no licence was required from IPRS for broadcasting cable TV channels. This created some confusion and some establishments stopped taking licence. This is not the case,” said Prasenjit Roy, senior licensing officer (east), Indian Performing Right Society Ltd.

He added: “Hotels have TVs in rooms and lobby, which means music is played. In restaurants music is played on sound system or radio. Even for this a licence is required. There is a fee structure for hotels, restaurants, discotheque, shops, etc. This is apart from the licence that’s given for live, DJ or recorded events.”

Avishek Basu, IPRS regional manager, said: “We will go to court soon against a few parties because they have not yet taken a licence.”

Playing music without a licence from IPRS is deemed a cognizable and non-bailable offence under sections 51 and 63 of the Copyright Act 1957.