Next time you hear your favourite song playing at a bar, restaurant or even an airplane, remember that the shopowner might well be in contravention of the Copyright Act of 1957 which makes it mandatory for public establishments playing copyrighted music to procure a public performance licence (PPL).
With the free spread of music through the Internet, controlling the sale of music through cassettes and CDs has become a major challenge for copyright enforcers worldwide.
In this situation, issuance of PPL to play such music in public places is one of the solutions to collect some sort of payment for music composers.
“The revenue from the state is not great. There is a potential to collect around Rs 100 crore or more annually as PPL fee, but cooperation is not forthcoming from the owners of various public places as well as the police for enforcement,” said Partho Chakraborthy, who works with the Copyright Enforcement Wing, a unit of the HRD Ministry, at a press conference.
Chakraborthy said that the recent efforts by the wing to impress the importance of PPLs on the state government has been successful.
“The Home Department has now issued a circular to all Deputy Commissioners asking them to ensure that playing copyrighted music is licenced. Companies like Infosys and Intel have already taken licences,” he said.
The PPL, which can be applied from the Bangalore office of the wing, is economically priced and ranges between Rs 41,000 per year for a 200-seater aircraft and 42,000 per year for a five-star hotel.
“The pricing of the licence depends on the area where music will be played. We have licences for as low as Rs 500 ,” Chakraborthy added. The penalty for playing copyrighted music in a public place without the licence could extend upto Rs 2 lakh with 3 years imprisonment, and is a cognizable and non-bailable offence under the Act.