Copyright Office Update: Application filed by Pahari Performance Rights Association for registration of Copyright Society for Musical Works
The Copyright Office of India has issued a public notice dated 18th February, 2022 inviting objections from the general public and stakeholders, within 30 days, to an Application filed by PAHARI PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ASSOCIATION, Himachal Pradesh, India for registering itself as a Copyright Society u/s 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957 for issuance and grant of licenses in respect of musical works defined u/s 2(p) of the Act and literary works associated with Musical Works.
Musical Works are defined under Section 2(p) of the Copyrights Act, 1957 as “work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sun, spoken or performed with the music”. Presently, the IPRS (Indian Performing Rights Association) is the only registered copyright society in India for the business of issuing licenses in musical works and associated literary works.
As per Section 33(3) of the Copyrights Act, 1957 the Central Government shall not ordinarily register more than one copyright society to do business in respect of the same class of works. Similarly, there has been no instance in India where the Government has granted registration to more than one copyright society for the same class of works. As on today, following are the registered Copyright Society before the Copyright Office, India: -
i. For Literary works associated with Musical Works: The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS)
ii. For Reprographic (photo copying) works: Indian Reprographic Rights Organization (IRRO)
iii. For Performers (Singers) Rights: Indian Singers Rights Association (ISRA)
iv. For Sound Recordings (records) Works: Recorded Music Performance Limited (RMPL)
In the past few years, the Government of India has called for several stakeholder meetings to discuss the issues pertaining to registration of multiple copyright societies as opposed to single copyright society in a single class of work.
Those in favour of multiple societies for same class of work were of the view that competition is necessary and that one should have choice of multiple societies in order to avoid monopolistic practices being carried by a single society.
In the recent years, there has been a growing demand for creation of multiple regional societies for same class of work. However, whether there is any need for regional societies to have adequate representation or whether the existing societies have regional branches giving fair representation to regional players including their management and control is an important aspect to be taken into consideration.


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