Kolkata may go music-less this New Year

Kolkata, January 1, 2011 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) The city may fall short of venues to celebrate and welcome the New Year this time around as the Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL), apex-licensing arm of Indian Music Industry (IMI), has served notices to many well-known hotels and pubs.

These legal notices have been issued to venues that have not paid the requisite music licence fee to play music at their year-end events.

PPL plans to initiate strict legal action against defaulters in case the licence fee does not get paid ahead of their planned events.

The Delhi High Court gave interim injunction to Sagar Lounge & Kitchen C/O Orbit Mall, Tarangamala Guest House, Sana Beach Resort, Hotel Nest (Midnapore), Shimmers, Tangerine Banquet, Manor Floatel.

PPL has issued notices to all these prominent places, which haven’t paid the music licence fee across the country.

Under the statutory sanction of section 35 in the Indian Copyright Act, playing commercial music in public without paying the requisite licence fee is an offence liable to contempt of court.

Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licences to hotels/ pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff for the same is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event.

According to Sowmya Chowdhury, Country Head-Events, PPL, “Musical nights and customized New year events rake in huge revenues for pubs organizers. A year ending event cannot be imagined without music! Yet, when it comes to paying for the commercial use of music, the event organizers chose to evade the licence fee.”

Avinash D’Souza, National Sales Manager, PPL,  said: “Music labels have complete authority over the sound recordings and using them without a proper licence can bring the events & parties to a standstill. People should also act proactively and check with their chosen properties to avoid a last minute inconvenience or embarrassment.

“To prevent such situations, this year we have expanded our operations to a National Campaign in all major cities.”

Every year pubs/ hotels target revenues with customized New Year packages but are reluctant to pay a nominal licence fee (which varies depending on the number of hours for which the music is played) to PPL, claimed the organization, thus flouting the norms and ‘eating into’ the royalties of the music labels.

Disc Jockeys too need to abide by PPL guidelines if they continue to play music without paying the licence fees.

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