Copyrighted Music in Wedding functions: Court orders deposit for Sangeet and Cocktail Parties

Play Music In Wedding Sangeet and Cocktail Party only after making a deposit of One Lakh Rupees, says the Delhi High Court.

Canvas Communications approached the Delhi High Court seeking a declaration that playing sound recordings of Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) would not amount to infringement as the activity is exempted under Section 52(1)(za) of the Copyright Act, which covers religious ceremonies. Canvas relied on the explanation of Section 52(1)(za) which provides that religious ceremonies include marriage processions and other social festivities associated with a marriage. It also relied on a public notice issued by the Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on July 24, 2023, which clarified that religious ceremonies include marriage-related functions.

Citing the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Judgment quashing a prior notification issued by DPIIT, PPL argued that the exception from copyright infringement would be limited to only wedding solemnization and that it would not cover other functions. Canvas sought exemption in the case for three events:

a. Pre-wedding Sangeet
b. Marriage Solemnization
c. Post-wedding cocktail party

After hearing the parties, the Delhi High Court asked Canvas to pay a deposit of One Lakh Rupees for playing the music-sound recordings of PPL at the sangeet and cocktail party as a pro tem measure. The Court asked PPL to issue a license covering its entire repertoire for the said purpose to Canvas. While passing the order, the Court stated that its order was just a pro tem measure, which would have no bearing on the merits of the case.

Citation: CANVAS COMMUNICATION vs PHONOGRAPHIC PERFORMANCE LIMITED, 25th January, 2024, Delhi High Court, CS(COMM) 77/2024


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