The Bombay high court on 26th May refrained two FM radio channels, Radio Mirchi and Ishq 104.8 FM, from broadcasting songs owned by Tips on any internet service, including but not limited to Ganna which allows the broadcast of the radio channels on its app as well as its website. Earlier this month, music label Tips Industries Ltd. moved the high court, inter alia, to restrain the radio stations viz. Radio Mirchi and Ishq 104.8 FM from providing its (Tips) songs on their internet radio stations without obtaining licence for the same. These internet radio stations can be accessed through various online platforms and websites including Gaana
The matter was heard by His Lordship the Hon’ble Mr. Justice G.S. Kulkarni on 26th May, 2020 where he directed the radio stations to refrain from broadcasting the songs. The advocates for the radio channels agreed to provide an undertaking on a without-prejudice basis, stating that till the next date of hearing of the interim application, they will not provide to Gaana or to any other internet service, the plaintiﬀ’s repertoire on digital or internet platforms. The undertaking was accepted by advocates of the plaintiff and the court. This matter raises the question of applicability of the compulsory licence order passed by the Copyright Board vide its Order dated 25th August, 2010, in accordance with powers provided under Section 31(1)(b) of the Copyright Act, 1957 pursuant to which the FM broadcasters can broadcast sound recordings owned by the members of Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) at a fixed royalty rate of 2% of net advertisement earnings of each FM radio station.
The core of the matter revolves around applicability of this Order to non-members of PPL as Tips had exited its arrangement with PPL in 2015.
Tips Industries Ltd. was represented by senior counsel Virag Tulzapurkar and counsel Hiren Kamod instructed by a team from ANM Global Inc. comprising Anushree Rauta, Parul Sharma, Navankur Pathak and Pranita Saboo.
It may be recalled that Tips had last year secured a landmark victory against Airtel-owned digital music app Wynk when the Bombay high court held that Wynk cannot store or use music owned by Tips without its consent merely by claiming the shield of statutory licensing rights under Section 31D of the Copyright Act and further that internet broadcasting is not covered under the purview of Section 31D.