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HC restrains hotels from playing music without valid licenses

In a major relief to Phonographic Performance Ltd, apex-licencing arm of Indian music industry, the Delhi high court on Friday restrained some hotels from playing its music without requisite licenses from it.

‘From the documents placed on record, plaintiff (PPL) has disclosed a prima facie case in his favour. In case defendants (hotels) are not restrained from playing/communicating the sound recordings administered by the plaintiff without requisite license, the plaintiff will suffer irreparable loss and injury.

‘Balance of convenience is also in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants. Accordingly, till further orders, the defendants are restrained from playing cassettes/CDs/ audio visuals containing the sound recordings administered by the plaintiff in their events and shows organised by them,’ a vacation bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul said.

The order, which may spoil new year parties at various hotels here, came on the pleas of PPL which had sought restraining orders against various hospitality sector ventures including Delhi-based Hotel Royals Plaza and Taj Palace Hotel.

During the hearing, PPL argued that it is authorised to carry on copyright business in sound recordings of its members, charge and collect license fees from the users of sound recordings whose rights vests in its members.

It said it apprehended that the hotels may play the music over which it has copyright, without obtaining requisite license or paying the license fee to the apex-licencing arm of Indian Music Industry (IMI).

PPL is the apex-licencing arm of IMI and was formed to administer ‘the Broadcast, Telecast and Public Performance rights of its member companies. Currently, it has 241 plus member companies. in south and east Delhi, belonging to Congress,  have already thumbed down the tax proposals of the respective commissioners.
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