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PPL India’s Legal Standing Vindicated by Delhi High Court



Goa, August 2023: The Delhi High Court has firmly stood in favor of PPL India, the legitimate owner of on-ground public performance rights for Sound Recordings, in a case filed against Canvas Communication, a Delhi based event management company, which attempted to evade obtaining a valid license from PPL India, relying on questionable advisories from Cinefil Producers Performance Limited (Copyright Society registered for Cinematograph Films only) and the DJ Light and Sound Association, a private body based in Chandigarh.

Canvas Communication had previously contested PPL India’s legal status, arguing that it was not a registered copyright society and hence not authorised to grant licenses for public performance of sound recordings. However, the Delhi High Court, through its order dated 17th December 2021, had categorically reaffirmed PPL India’s authority to issue licenses for sound recordings, unbound by any restrictions under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, and had restrained Canvas Communication from using PPL India’s sound recordings without a license. The Hon’ble Court had also clarified that “there is an independent copyright in a sound recording, distinct from the copyright in a cinematographic work or other work in which the sound recording may be included.”

Despite the court’s unequivocal ruling, Canvas Communication persisted in its defiance and sent an email on 26th July 2023, once again questioning PPL India’s right to issue licenses by relying on misleading advisories from issued by Cinefil and DJ Light and Sound Association appealing to general public not to take license from PPL India. Canvas Communication further attempted to misleadingly argue that Cinefil’s license, though only for Cinematograph Films, would also cover independent and stand-alone usage of Sound Recordings controlled by PPL India as per the definition of Cinematograph Film under the Copyright Act.

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