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Copyright Public Performance License

Public Performance License (PPL) is a license or an agreement between a music user and the owner of a copyrighted song. This license would grant permission to play the song in public or radio. They are also called Public performance rights, Performance rights or performing rights.

Under the Copyright Act 1957, a license called the Public Performance License must be obtained to play pre-recorded music in public places, irrespective of the establishment being commercial or non-commercial in nature. The establishments include – hotels, bars, gyms, cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, taxis and airplanes and non-commercial places like concerts, college campus, festivals, fetes, etc. All these establishments are obligated to obtain the license from the authority established by the Government of India that is Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) India. 

Under the Copyright Act 1957, the government has made it mandatory to obtain a performance license, entertainment license, and a PPL license to play the drums, music, recorded audios-videos in public areas. 
The PPL license grants permission for the playing of pre-recorded music on television, radio, telecom companies to organisations. For playing background music or in events including special events like concerts, dance floor, stage, and even for brand promotion activities, shows, etc. a separate license by the PPL has to be obtained by the general public, organisation or individuals. 

If there is the unauthorised playing of pre-recorded music in public places without a license, it amounts to a non-bailable and cognisable offence.

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Get your Public Performance License in the fastest possible manner.

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It usually takes 25 to 35 working days, depending upon government approval.

Services Covered
Who Should Buy
How It's Done
Documents Required
Services Covered

  • Public Performance License

Who Should Buy

  • Businesses looking to get Public Performance License.
How It's Done

Preparation of Documents and filing with department

Documents Required
      • Get your paperwork done right for your proposal.
      • 2 copies of your work.
      • DD/IPO of Rs. (as applicable) per work.
      • NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the publisher if the applicant is other than publisher and work is published.
      • NOC from the author if the applicant is other than the author.
      • If the application is being filed through an attorney, a specific Power of Attorney is duly signed by the applicant and accepted by the attorney.

All About Public Performance License in India

Purpose of PPL

The purpose of PPL is to grant a license to the copyrighted sound recordings for radio broadcasts and consumers. Hence this license is required for performing in public of any song that was not written by the performer. This license is also required for playing recorded music in public places like restaurants, clubs, concerts on the radio, or streaming online. The license is required irrespective of the portion of the song being used. 

While PPL license is needed only for events/public places where recorded music is played, the license issued by Indian Performing Right Society Limited covers copyright license for all Musical and literary works.

The Indian Performing Right Society Limited

The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) is a representative body of artists that includes music owners, lyricists, composers, and publishers of music. The work of IPRS is to collect a royalty on behalf of its members that is the authors, composers, and publishers of music from the users of music and distribute it among the members after deducting the administrative costs. 

The IPRS was formed on 23rd of August 1969. It is a non-profit making organiszation and a Company limited by guarantee registered under the Companies Act 1956 which is now Act of 2013. 

The IPRS is also registered under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957, to issue the license for usage of music and literary work. The registration of IPRS under the Copyright Act is necessary to represent rightful ownership of copyright. IPRS performs the business of issue of license as per section 30 of the Copyright Act, as it is the owner of copyrights through the assignment deeds executed with its members, who are the owners and have assigned the rights to the society. 

The license obtained under IPRS has different tariffs depending on the premises and the usage of the musical work. The tariff based on-premises is charged on the basis of the area of the premises like restaurants, malls, cafes, pubs. These tariffs are based on the specified criteria.

General Terms and Conditions of the License Under IPRS

  • All users must pay the license fees as per the tariff. It applies to live and/or recorded music.
  • The annual license fees must be paid in advance, and within the stipulated time in the tariff, that is, within one month or as per the time mentioned in the agreement.
  • There will be an 18% penalty and 18% interest if the annual license fee is not paid within the stipulated time.
  • The tariffs will be increased by 10% on each anniversary of the tariff.
  • All the royalties are exclusive of all applicable taxes and GST and are charged in advance for a period of 12 months and must be paid at the beginning of the period.
  • All licenses that are granted shall be executed on or behalf of the IPRS and shall be subject to the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement and shall be deemed to be accepted by the licensee.
  • In the case of Non- Compliant licenses that seek to make good past lapses, that is, regularise past infringements/ violations/ breach of Society’s rights and licenses including non-compliance with agreements, usage without a license, the penalty is 30% over and above the existing tariff and is levied at the discretion of the Society. Whereas, complaint licenses will be charged at a discounted rate of 5% at the discretion of the Society.
  • The area for licensing of premises is not dependent on the audibility of the music being played, which means that if the music is being played in one section of the premises and audible to other sections as well, then the entire area will be considered for the calculation of the fees payable.
  • Light and Heavy vehicles will have the same meaning as defined by the RTO Authorities. Floor Area/ Carpet Area/ Square Feet of the premises means wall to wall area.
  • For open shows or concerts, the ground plan must be submitted to avail 40% of the scheme, and the application for the permit must be made 8 days prior to the date of performance.
  • Two passes to the event must be provided for the inspection while applying for the license.
  • The licenses issued by the IPRS are for the ‘Performing Rights’ of the Musical Works and/or the literary works associated with it. The word ‘Performing rights’ means and includes right of performing, communication to the public, broadcasting and transmission to subscribers to a diffusion service in the territory of musical and/or associated literary works. The terms are inclusive of usage of the music and the associated literary work in any form and through any method.

Benefits of Copyrighting Public Performance License

  • Getting a copyright for Performance rights will highly prevent the monetary loss
  • The major importance of getting the copyright is that one can have the legal protection and legal evidence of the work done
  • Protects reputations
  • You can hereby have more revenue generated
  • Publicly your work will be notified and recognised.

How much does a public performance license cost?

Well… We will answer here how much does a public performance license cost. There may be many factors like dependent or the venue play a major role. So, the public performance license cost can vary.Each licensing company has a different or list of venues ranging from restaurants or retail stores or in any public place. Each of these categories gets broken down even further by several people or the venue. If the venue is a birthday party and contains more than 50 people that might cost one rate. If the venue is a nightclub and contains more than 300 people it may cost high which is when the fee depends only on the venue and the people gathered. The best way to get information about public performance is to start the process as soon as possible. If our work is right then the problem would be less. If the book, song, and venue are correct with the right paperwork then the party is peace of mind.

Music Licensing for Public Performance

PPL permits people to perform music in public. The song which is being performed requires a license. The license is required to perform sound recording in public and it is more limited. And it is required when the sound recording in public is offered via the internet or any digital means. If the song is played in any restaurant or retail stores they are also public performances. Most public performance licenses are issued by one of the performing rights organizations (PRO). They are

  • ASCAP 
  • BMI 
  • SESAC 
  • GMR

Each pro controls the different catalog of songs. The PRO will issue the blanket license and much more allowing us to perform in public for any song in that PRO catalog. If a famous song is played in public then we should need a public performance license from the copyright holder of the song. That company would affiliate with BMI for their public license needs. If suppose we have an appropriate blanket license then BMI will allow us to perform the famous song in public. The PRO will make it easy to get a public performance license. ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC have an online presence where we can determine the specific license that we will need and pay it online.

Exceptions where Public Performance does not Constitute Copyright Infringement

In 1957, according to section 52 in the copyright act, certain acts that were appearing as a violation of copyright, do not constitute infringement. The acts of public performance of sound recording and musical works which do not constitute copyright infringement are given below. They are…

  • New fund generating or for benefits of the religious constitution
  • Playing sound recording in a certain circumstance.
  • Performance by the staff of Educational Institution
  • Performance or communication in the course of religious ceremony.

Practical Factors that affect the implementation of Public Performance Rights

There is no doubt about the copyright law for the songs that stands today. The substantial part of the copyright law contains provisions which preclude the violation of these rights. But the actual trouble or the problem starts with the actual implementation of all these provisions. These can be solved by following the key challenges faced by the copyright owners and copyright societies by receiving rightful royalty and credit their copyrighted works in communication to the public are certain suggested solutions for all these problems.

Why should one get their work registered under public performance copyright law?

It is not mandatory to get copyright protection but it is always safe to get one. If you deny getting one, then your work might be easily copied or forged by someone else. And remember that the one to get the copyright protection first will be valued and accepted. By getting a copyright license, you will be able to celebrate your ownership of your work for a minimum period. This tends to be a motivation factor for the owner to present more works of his/her ideas and themes. Hence, a person should protect his hard work by registering for a copyright license.