Section 33(3) of the Copyright Act says only one copyright society would be registered for administering the rights relating to same class of work i.e. sound recording: High Court Of Delhi

Respondent No.1 is directed to re-consider the application of the petitioner for re-registration on merits was upheld by the High Court Of Delhi through the learned bench led by HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE YOGESH KHANNA in the case of PHONOGRAPHIC PERFORMANCE LIMITED  Vs UNION OF INDIA (CM APPL.Nos. 28, 35, 17949 of 2021) on 09th March, 2022.

Brief facts of the case are that the petitioner “Phonographic Performance Limited”, was a registered copyright society till the introduction of an amendment in the Copyright Act in the year 2012. It introduced section 33(3A) mandating “every copyright society already registered before the coming into force of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 shall get itself registered under this Chapter within a period of one year from the date of commencement of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012.”

The Petitioner owned and/or controlled the public performance rights of 350+ music companies, with more than 3 million international and domestic sound recordings; being an oldest and the largest copyright society in the country. The petitioner represented about 80-90% of sound recordings ever created in the country. The Petitioner served a useful public utility of acting as a “single window” to various parties seeking license for authorised use of sound recordings. On 09.05.2013 (which is within one year of the enactment of the Copyright Amendment Act, 2012 and within two months from the enactment of the Copyright Rules 2013), the Petitioner filed an application for its re-registration as a copyright society.

On 24.05.2021 the petitioner was shocked to receive a non-speaking and unreasoned order dated 25.05.2021 passed by the Respondent rejecting the petitioner’s application for re-registration as a Copyright Society with an observation the petitioner’s application dated 09.05.2013 stood withdrawn and its application dated 11.01. 2018 had been filed belatedly as per the provisions of Section 33(3A) of the Copyright Act, 1957. The petitioner filed the present petition, being aggrieved of the order passed by the respondent.

The stand of respondent no.1 in its counter affidavit was IPRS was granted registration after an extensive enquiry and only upon successful completion of all conditions, but, admittedly, there was never any enquiry pending against petitioner

The Court observed that “Respondent No.1 is directed to re-consider the application of the petitioner for re-registration on merits, as being filed in time. The respondent No.1 is expected to undertake this whole exercise within a reasonable time and the outcome be communicated to the petitioner.”

Click here to read the Judgement

Written by- Riya Singh, Legal Intern, Prime Legal

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