Would Licensing a Sound Recording Call For Separate License From the Lyricist and Composer?
The appellant, Indian Performing Right Society Ltd. (IPRS – for short) is a Copyright Society registered under Section 33 of the Copyright Act 1957 and has around 1478 members who are either authors of the lyrics or composers of the musical score. The respondents are Private FM Radio Channels and Event Organizers. The Appellants contended that the respondents were to obtain separate permission from the authors of the underlying work (literary and musical works) in addition to the permission obtained from the copyright owner of the derivative work (sound recording).
Music and lyrics are the underlying elements of a song. The lyricist provides the words and the music composer provides the music score. Each of these individuals owns a copyright for his/her work. Or in other words, the lyricist has a copyright over the literary work and the composer owns the copyright over the music composition. When the song is recorded, a sound recording is created. The copyright over the sound recording vests with the producer. Therefore, now the question that arises is whether a separate license is required from the composer and lyricist apart from the producer of the sound recording if the sound recording is to be exploited. If the sound recording is communicated to the public, would it amount to communicating to the public, the literary and musical work that embodies the sound recording?