The Indian Singers Rights Association v. Chapter 25 Bar and Restaurant
Citation:CS (OS) 2068/2015 & IA No. 14261/2015
The Defendant in this case, Chapter 25 Bar and Restaurant during the month of April 2015 had been illegally communicating to the public numerous songs containing performances of various member singers of the Plaintiff copyright society, Indian Singers Rights Association (ISRA), without obtaining appropriate clearance from ISRA and paying the requisite royalty fee. ISRA had issued a legal notice against the Defendant to obtain a Performer’s Right Clearance Certificate, but no response was received in this respect, hence the present suit.
Question of Law
Did the Defendant restaurant infringe the performers rights and right to receive royalty of members of ISRA?
Yes, the Defendant restaurant infringed the performers rights and right to receive royalty of members of ISRA.
Rule of Law
Section 38 A, Copyright Act, 1957 (as amended in 2012)
Analysis of the Court
The Court delved into the meaning of ‘performance’ which as per the Copyright Rules includes the recording of visual or acoustic presentation of a performer in the sound and visual records in the studio or otherwise. This was followed by the Court’s analysis of the exclusive rights awarded to performers under the Copyright Act such as the right to make sound recording or a visual recording of the performance including “communication of it to the public”. Furthermore, the Act states that notwithstanding the enjoyment of the performer’s right by the producer of a cinematograph film, as enumerated in the proviso to Section 38 A (2) the performer shall be entitled for royalties in case of making of the performances for commercial use.
With respect to the aforementioned right to receive royalties, the Court also discussed the right of the copyright societies to collect and distribute royalties on behalf of its members by virtue of Section 39 A (1). The Court also took into consideration the Deeds of Exclusive Authorisation (DEA) produced by ISRA, where its members had authorised ISRA in respect of their right to receive royalties under Section 38A of the Act.
In the light of the above facts and analysis the Court ruled in favour of ISRA allowing the permanent injunction and ordered the Defendant to render to ISRA the accounts of all the monies earned by it from the performance of the repertoire comprising the performances of the Performers who are its members. Further, costs to the tune of Rs.20,000 were decreed to be paid by the Defendant to ISRA.
Authored by- Anchita Sharma