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PPL serves notices to hotels on music license fee for year-end bashes

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The Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) has served legal notices to several hotels and pubs in the city and elsewhere which have not paid the requisite music license fee to play music at their year-end events.

A press release from PPL said it planned to initiate strict legal action against defaulters in case the license fee does not get paid ahead of their planned events.

Vipul Pradhan, CEO, PPL said: "New Year parties attract people promising them a good time through a combination of entertainment, food and beverage. A significant component of the sum charged from the customers is for music – an integral element of entertainment. Therefore, the music companies whose sound recording is regularly used have a right towards claiming their due because their product is getting consumed too.”

According to the release, under the statutory sanction of section 35 in the Indian Copyright Act, playing commercial music in public without paying the requisite license fee is an offence liable to contempt of court.

Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licenses to hotels/pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff for the same is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event, it said.

The release said that, every year pubs/ hotels target revenues with customized New Year packages but are reluctant to pay a nominal license fee (which varies depending on the number of hours for which the music is played) to PPL, flouting the norms and eating into the royalties of the music labels, it said.

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PPL said disc jockeys too need to abide by PPL guidelines if they continue to play music without paying the license fees.

The release said that, according to Music Listening Laws in India, any performance of Indian or even international music, in public places or commercial establishments such as hotels & resorts, restaurants, bars, pubs, shacks, discotheques, DJ’s, cruise liners, cinema halls, shops, banks, offices, amusement parks etcetera, rendered without first having obtained a license from PPL constitutes an infringement of copyright under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licenses to hotels/pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff for the same is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event.

PPL, incorporated in 1941, is the apex-licensing arm of the Indian Music Industry (IMI), and was formulated to administer the Broadcast, Telecast and Public Performance rights of its member companies. Formerly known as Indian Phonographic Industry (IPI), PPL currently has more than 241 member companies and is registered with the Registrar of Copyrights since 1996.

The member companies of PPL have assigned their performing rights in sound recordings to PPL, by virtue of which it is the designated authority to issue Public Performance Licenses all over India and also ensure fair payment of tariffs to all the recording companies. This includes the communication of music to the public in any form, be it acoustic or visual and covers music recorded in any format or communicated by way of a radio, a World Space Receiver, a television set or a cable network.

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PPL has its registered office at Kolkata, administrative office in Mumbai and licensing offices in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

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