FHRAI, EEMA Reiterate: Weddings Exempt from Music Copyright Charges
by EVENTFAQS Bureau Industry Watch | October 21, 2021 | News
The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and the Event and Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) have announced a nationwide campaign to educate industry stakeholders, including the police, as well as the general public, on copyright charges.
The agenda is to communicate that hotels and wedding venues do not need a license to play any sound recording for marriage and related social or religious functions.
The campaign follows a recent incident in which two Mumbai-based private firms extorted Rs 1.37 lakh from businessmen under the pretext of issuing copyright licences for staging musical performances at wedding ceremonies in a star hotel in Pune's Koregaon Park. The firms have been charged with extortion and deception.
The FHRAI cited a notification issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 27 August 2019 in which it stated that all religious and marriage-related functions would be exempt from copyright charges. Such functions would include all religious functions, marriage functions, engagements and receptions.
The Association has also stated that section 52 of Copyright Act 1957 provides an exemption on payment of royalty or license fees for all the religious functions including marriage procession and other social festivities associated with marriage.
“We have been receiving several complaints from members about certain copyright agencies using strong arm tactics including criminal trespass into wedding events to extort money from guests of the hotels. Since the wedding season begins this month, such incidents might become more rampant. We want to ensure that everyone in the events and hospitality industry as well as other stakeholders be made aware that the law exempts them from obtaining a licence for playing any sound recording for marriage events and related social functions held at hotels or other venues. A Public Notice to this effect has been issued by the Government in 2019. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of this exemption in the law and the so-called copyright agencies are misusing this to extort money from businesses. FHRAI and EEMA will soon organise a nationwide campaign through its regional and local associations to propagate this information to as many hotels, restaurant establishments as well as to all the events management companies as possible. We will also reach out to the law enforcement agencies including the police across all the states in the country to make them aware of the illegal activities of these agencies,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI.
“We have been constantly hearing these concerns from our community members. Certain agencies have been creating unethical issues during wedding and related events. There are a lot of people who do not understand these irregularities and while booking at these 5 Star hotels, turn victims and end up paying unjustified amounts for these licenses. They harass these families who are under immense wedding pressure and try to extort money at the 11th hour under the name of such licences. EEMA along with FHRAI empathises with them and opposes this illegal action conducted by them across the country. Weddings and related functions are exempted under the Section 52 (1) (za) of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957,” said Roshan Abbas, President, EEMA.
Follows Mumbai-based private firms taking Rs 1.37 lakh under pretext of issuing copyright licences for musical performances at wedding ceremonies in Pune; charged with extortion and deception.