PAY TO PLAY – PHONOGRAPHIC PERFORMANCE LIMITED

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It’s that time of the year when PPL approaches the Court for an interim injunction to safeguard the rights of its members, the Hon’ble Bombay High Court held that a license from PPL is required to be taken for playing of music on occasions including inter alia Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Click the hyperlink to access the order of 2017 and order of 2018, also write-ups by us covering the topic in the past available here and here. Order of 2019 granted by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice R. D. Dhanuka of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court available here.

I. What is Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL)?

PPL is a not for profit performance rights organization boasting of 3 million national and international sound recordings of over 340 music labels.

II. What licenses does PPL offer and when are you required to take such license?

As per the FAQs available on its website, PPL offers licenses for (i) Radio Broadcast and (ii) Public Performance.

In a nutshell, a non-physical Public Performance license is required to be take in the event a sound recording is being publicly performed.

Exception – All wedding related events do not require a license.

Details of the tariffs of such license can be viewed here.

III. Summary of the order of 2017, 2018 and 2019:

2017 – Ad-interim injunction was granted in favour of the PPL restraining the defendants from publicly performing or in any manner communicating the sound recording of PPL to the public without acquiring a license from PPL.

2018 – Defendants agreed to deposit an amount equivalent to the license fee mentioned on the website of PPL prior to exploitation of the sound recording.

The Hon’ble Judge had noted that the matter used to resurface year after year at the same time and never reached its end after the passing of these events. Counsel for PPL had assured to not withdraw the present matter and take it to its logical end.

2019 – Considering the ad-interim orders passed by this court and the fact that no appeal is preferred by any of the defendants, ad-interim relief granted in 2018 is continued for Christmas and new year during the pendency of the notices of motion.

The matter is listed for ‘hearing and final disposal’ on 28th January, 2020

The industry awaits clarification that would bring finality to this reoccurring matter (if arrived at prior to the ad-interim sought in December 2020).

Image source – from here