Music to the ears of FM stations


Purnima Singh

After half a decade and almost a dozen cases, the music industry in India is now closer to clarity on the right of lyricists and music composers in sound recordings. Purnima Singh explains.

The point of law is by no means settled, and an appeal from a recent judgment is imminent. A Bombay High Court decision in late July this year has nevertheless given a glimmer of hope to the owners of radio stations who have for years battled the imposition of a double royalty for the broadcast of music.

This was a judgment in the Radio City case, where the court said that there was no requirement for a licence from the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) for the radio broadcast of sound recordings.

Historically, radio stations in India have been required to obtain a licence from not only the copyright owner of sound recordings, but also from owners of underlying works, such as lyricists and musical composers. The basis for this view is that the underlying works are incorporated into a sound recording and form its basis. Licences for use of underlying works are obtained from the IPRS, the statutory copyright society that collects royalties on behalf of lyricists and musical composers.

Radio city, music industry, sound recordings, IPRS