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Bombay High Court Affirms Music Licensing Authority: PPL Prevails in Historic Legal Battle



In a groundbreaking judgment, the Bombay High Court has unequivocally upheld the authority of music licensing giants Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) and Novex Communications Pvt. Ltd. (Novex) to issue licenses as copyright owners, transcending the need for registration as copyright societies. The landmark decision, rendered on January 24, 2024, settles a prolonged debate surrounding the scope of owner rights to license sound recordings.

” PPL’s victory in this legal battle is not just a win for us but a triumph for the entire music industry. The Bombay High Court’s verdict firmly reinforces the rights of copyright owners and exclusive licensees, providing PPL with the tools to protect against the widespread infringement that undermines the hard-earned investments of genuine music labels. This win underscores the importance of respecting and preserving the creative endeavours that drive the music industry, securing a future where investors in copyrights, artists and their creations are duly valued and protected.,” said G.B. Aayeer, MD & CEO at PPL.

PPL, founded in 1941, has emerged victorious in multiple suits against over 200 establishments, including notable names such as Social, Farzi Café, and Olive Bar & Kitchen. The court’s order, a paradigm shift in copyright dynamics, has far-reaching implications for the music industry.

Key findings of the court include the affirmation of PPL’s status as the owner and exclusive licensee, recognizing its power to grant licenses under Section 30, and validating assignment deeds and exclusive license agreements. The judgment interprets Section 33(1) not as a restriction on the owner’s rights but as a means to protect and facilitate them.

This legal triumph empowers PPL to continue its licensing operations unhindered, preventing infringement and seeking remedies against unauthorized use of its vast catalog comprising more than 70 lakh songs from renowned labels like Aditya Music, Lahari Music, Sony Music, and T-Series.

The verdict not only brings clarity to PPL’s legitimate business operations but also sets a significant precedent in the Indian copyright landscape. It reinforces the notion that the Copyright Society provision was enacted to safeguard the owner’s rights, not to curtail or diminish them.

This victory solidifies PPL’s position as a guardian of artists’ rights and marks a defining moment in the ongoing evolution of copyright law in India.

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