EEMA and IPRS Achieve Breakthrough on Conflicts Regarding Music Licencing for Events

Industry Watch | April 2, 2018 | News

EEMA IPRS

A decade ago, legal threats and notices from copyright agencies and other music licensing bodies led to the formation of the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), India’s apex body for the events and experiential domain. Post its establishment, the industry body has over the years has worked towards protecting the interests of the member agencies by challenging the functioning of licensing authorities like IPRS and PPL.

After almost a decade of disagreements and court cases, a breakthrough was achieved in relations between EEMA and IPRS through the mutual understanding of agreements in a meeting held in Mumbai last week.

Sharing more details on the same in an address to the members of the association, Sabbas Joseph, President, EEMA shared, “Over the years, we’ve fought with IPRS and PPL and other licensing authorities before courts, in banquet halls and concert grounds. During this period, IPRS which was a registered copyright society, de-registered itself. A parallel fight was underway between the creative fraternity (lyricists, music composers, etc.) and the music labels. This fight has only just been resolved after which IPRS has once again become a registered copyright society. And we are told that PPL too is in the process of re-registering itself as a society.”

Joseph added, “Two important developments have taken place in this period: the ministry overseeing issues of copyright is no longer HRD ministry and instead is the Ministry of Commerce and more specifically DIPP is in charge. Importantly, the copyright law is in the process of being written and finalised. IPRS has now published its rate card and tariff structure post-approval from DIPP. In the light of the above, as a step towards rapprochement as well as the creation of an understanding, the EEMA team met with the newly constituted IPRS board in Mumbai on 29th March 2018.”

The rate card and tariff structure from IPRS can be seen here.

At the meeting EEMA was represented by Sabbas Joseph, President-EEMA; Vijay Nair, VP- EEMA; Manuj Aggarwal (Percept Live), Dinesh Kummar (Wizcraft) while IPRS was represented by Javed Akhtar (Chairman-IPRS), Rakesh Nigam, Ameet Datta, Mandar Thakur, Devraj Sanyal, Raju Singh, Shirley Singh.

It is reported that Mandar Thakur opened the meeting sharing with all present about the efforts that were made by PPL and EEMA to resolve issues of conflict over the past six months and also shared that the efforts were at a standstill due to the reconstitution of IPRS, PPL, and the copyright law itself.

Some of the key points discussed in the meetings included:

1-The challenge posed by multiple copyright claimants: IPRS, PPL, ISRA, individual music companies, agencies such as Novex, etc.

IPRS agreed with EEMA’s concerns and agreed to work along with DIPP, the government authorities and EEMA to create a common licence for PPL and IPRS. IPRS shared EEMA’s thoughts and concerns about non-copyright societies claiming copyright on the parallel. However, they clarified that currently as per the law the provision exists for the collection of licence fees by an individual copyright publisher/ music companies and their agents.

It was IPRS’s legal team’s point of view that IPRS is the only body authorized to collect copyright payments on behalf of the Musical and Literary works representing lyricists and music composers. Any non-copyright society /private owner/ agency/ music company, under the current law, can only issue licences for use of sound recordings.

2-The need for IPRS and PPL: The kind of events and projects.

It was concluded at the meeting that the IPRS licence is needed for all events (live performance / DJ / recorded music being played) wherein music is used. IPRS covers the copyright licence for Musical and Literary works. PPL is needed only for events wherein recorded music is played. PPL covers the use of sound recordings.

However, the newly constituted Joint Committee between IPRS and EEMA would detail this out more clearly in the next meetings so that there is no ambiguity.

3-Licences for Social Events:

IPRS licences are needed for Social events, just as they are needed for other events

4-Licences for Wedding events:

IPRS and PPL licences are not needed for Wedding events; this includes all wedding-related events. The IPRS team shared that they specifically clarified the same with DIPP and confirmed the same.

5-Licences for Charity events:

Music licences are needed for Charity events just as any other event. The Charity event’s organisers need to prove their credentials as well as present their case for a waiver, should they seek a waiver or reduction. The prerogative for waiver/reduction would always be that of the IPRS/PPL board.

6-Licenses for Government events/tourism events:

Music licences are needed for Government events just as any other event. The Government department concerned would need to present their request/case for a waiver/reduction. The prerogative for waiver/reduction would be that of the IPRS/PPL board.

7-Online transaction and fixed payment structure:

A fixed, predictable rate structure has just been introduced and is available on the IPRS website. IPRS has already introduced online payments system. As a rule, no cash payments are permitted by IPRS for their licence issuance. Cheques, RTGS, credit cards can be used as instruments for payments.

8-Joint action committee will be created for the discussion and closure of:

Rates clarification, negotiation, finalization
Clarifications regarding the tariff structure, applicability, processes, etc.
Settlement of all pending disputes between EEMA agencies and IPRS within a 30-day period
Amnesty to all pending cases so that the committee can help resolve matters amicably within a 30-day period.

9-The IPRS team shared that the number of events/projects that currently obtain permissions are approximately 15,000 events which are only a part of the total number of events that are taking place in the country.

The IPRS team also reiterated that they would like to see an increase in compliance and hence would be open to a registration certification system for EEMA agencies; specific benefits could be considered. Further, to increase compliance among event organisers, agencies and owners the IPRS team is willing to consider a revision in fees; consider an infancy discount; consider special rates for smaller towns and cities, etc.

It is believed that newly setup Joint Committee between IPRS and EEMA would meet regularly in Mumbai to reach a resolution in the shortest possible time. The members comprise the following:

From EEMA: Sabbas Joseph, Vijay Nair (OML), Manuj Aggarwal(Percept) and V. Jairam (Fountainhead MKTG, Oranjuice Entertainment)

From IPRS: Mandar Thakur, Rakesh Nigam, Raju Singh and Devraj Sanyal .

The next meeting will be held in Mumbai on Monday, April 2nd, 2018.

A breakthrough was achieved in relations between EEMA and IPRS through the mutual understanding of agreements in a meeting held in Mumbai last week.

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