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Under the Copyright Act 1957, a license called the Public Performance License must be obtained to play pre-recorded music in public places, irrespective of the establishment being commercial or non-commercial in nature. The establishments include – hotels, bars, gyms, cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, taxis and airplanes and non-commercial places like concerts, college campus, festivals, fetes, etc. All these establishments are obligated to obtain the license from the authority established by the Government of India that is Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) India.
Under the Copyright Act 1957, the government has made it mandatory to obtain a performance license, entertainment license, and a PPL license to play the drums, music, recorded audios-videos in public areas.
The PPL license grants permission for the playing of pre-recorded music on television, radio, telecom companies to organisations. For playing background music or in events including special events like concerts, dance floor, stage, and even for brand promotion activities, shows, etc. a separate license by the PPL has to be obtained by the general public, organisation or individuals.
If there is the unauthorised playing of pre-recorded music in public places without a license, it amounts to a non-bailable and cognisable offence.

Purpose of PPL

The purpose of PPL is to grant a license to the copyrighted sound recordings for radio broadcasts and consumers. Hence this license is required for performing in public of any song that was not written by the performer. This license is also required for playing recorded music in public places like restaurants, clubs, concerts on the radio, or streaming online. The license is required irrespective of the portion of the song being used.
While PPL license is needed only for events/public places where recorded music is played, the license issued by Indian Performing Right Society Limited covers copyright license for all Musical and literary works.

The Indian Performing Right Society Limited

The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) is a representative body of artists that includes music owners, lyricists, composers, and publishers of music. The work of IPRS is to collect a royalty on behalf of its members that is the authors, composers, and publishers of music from the users of music and distribute it among the members after deducting the administrative costs.
The IPRS was formed on 23rd of August 1969. It is a non-profit making organiszation and a Company limited by guarantee registered under the Companies Act 1956 which is now Act of 2013.
The IPRS is also registered under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957, to issue the license for usage of music and literary work. The registration of IPRS under the Copyright Act is necessary to represent rightful ownership of copyright. IPRS performs the business of issue of license as per section 30 of the Copyright Act, as it is the owner of copyrights through the assignment deeds executed with its members, who are the owners and have assigned the rights to the society.
The license obtained under IPRS has different tariffs depending on the premises and the usage of the musical work. The tariff based on-premises is charged on the basis of the area of the premises like restaurants, malls, cafes, pubs. These tariffs are based on the specified criteria.

General Terms and Conditions of the License Under IPRS

  • All users must pay the license fees as per the tariff. It applies to live and/or recorded music.

  • The annual license fees must be paid in advance, and within the stipulated time in the tariff, that is, within one month or as per the time mentioned in the agreement.

  • There will be an 18% penalty and 18% interest if the annual license fee is not paid within the stipulated time.

  • The tariffs will be increased by 10% on each anniversary of the tariff.

  • All the royalties are exclusive of all applicable taxes and GST and are charged in advance for a period of 12 months and must be paid at the beginning of the period.

  • All licenses that are granted shall be executed on or behalf of the IPRS and shall be subject to the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement and shall be deemed to be accepted by the licensee.

  • In the case of Non- Compliant licenses that seek to make good past lapses, that is, regularise past infringements/ violations/ breach of Society’s rights and licenses including non-compliance with agreements, usage without a license, the penalty is 30% over and above the existing tariff and is levied at the discretion of the Society. Whereas, complaint licenses will be charged at a discounted rate of 5% at the discretion of the Society.

  • The area for licensing of premises is not dependent on the audibility of the music being played, which means that if the music is being played in one section of the premises and audible to other sections as well, then the entire area will be considered for the calculation of the fees payable.

  • Light and Heavy vehicles will have the same meaning as defined by the RTO Authorities. Floor Area/ Carpet Area/ Square Feet of the premises means wall to wall area.

  • For open shows or concerts, the ground plan must be submitted to avail 40% of the scheme, and the application for the permit must be made 8 days prior to the date of performance.

  • Two passes to the event must be provided for the inspection while applying for the license.

  • The licenses issued by the IPRS are for the ‘Performing Rights’ of the Musical Works and/or the literary works associated with it. The word ‘Performing rights’ means and includes right of performing, communication to the public, broadcasting and transmission to subscribers to a diffusion service in the territory of musical and/or associated literary works. The terms are inclusive of usage of the music and the associated literary work in any form and through any method.

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