In a positive development for the broadcasters, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has issued a notice in the Section 31 D application filed by Radio Next Webcasting Pvt. Ltd vide order dated November 1, 2018. [READ ORDER HERE]
The order refers to the Delhi High Court order of September 27, 2018 wherein the Delhi High Court in the matter of Radio Next Webcasting Pvt. Ltd vs Union of India had held that the vacancy in the IPAB with respect to a member technical (copyright) does not in any manner impinge upon the jurisdiction of the Appellate Board as constituted under Section 83 of the Trademark Act. Accordingly, the IPAB is now functional and is also required to exercise the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it by or under the Copyright Act. The High Court had accordingly directed that petitioner’s application be placed before the IPAB and IPAB examine it in accordance with law.
The IPAB while issuing notice referred to Section 31D of the Copyright Act and Rule 31 of the Copyright Rules, 2013 under which IPAB is required to give notice of its intention to fix royalties for communication to the public of literary, musical works and sound recording under Section 31D.
As per Rule 31, any owner of copyright or any broadcasting organization or any other interested person may within 30 days from the date of publication of public notice being given by IPAB, shall give suggestions with adequate evidence as to the rate of royalties to be fixed including different rates for different works and different formats. Further, after giving an opportunity to be heard to the persons who make relevant suggestions, the Board within 2 months shall determine separate rates of royalties to be paid to the owners of literary and musical works and sound recording for radio and television broadcasting respectively.
The matter is next listed before the IPAB on February 8, 2019.
As covered previously here, Lahiri Recording Company has challenged Section 31D before the Supreme Court and the matter is due to be listed in February, 2019. It would have to be seen whether the Lahari Music matter is taken up prior to the IPAB hearing.
As can be seen from the IMI Report on ‘Vision 2022: India’s Roadmap to the Top 10 Music Markets by 2022’, the music labels have collectively been of the view of the view that provisions such as Section 31D are unfair and diminish the value of the music labels resulting in value gap.
IPAB’s decision in this statutory licensing application would be an important one since it’s the first statutory licensing application to be decided by the IPAB post the 2012 Amendment coming into force.
Hat-tip: Mr. Shekhar Mennon, Founder and Managing Partner, Medialexicon, Solicitors & Arbitrators
Image source: here