DELHI: In a judgement that can have grave consequences, the
Delhi High Court has held that use of a few words from a song
or a few lines from a lyric does not amount to infringement
Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Manmohan Singh said this amounts
to "fair use" and is at the same time "de minimus",
which means very little usage compared to the whole programme.
judgement was delivered in a case filed by Yash Raj Films
alleging infringement of copyright by India TV. Five words
of the song 'Kajrare, mera chain vain sab ujhda', had been
used in a promo for a consumer affairs programme telecast
on India TV, and Vasundhara Das had sung a portion of the
song 'Salaam Namaste' in an hour-long programme 'India Beats'
on India TV, where the singers life sketch was being
TV MD and CEO Ritu Dhawan said, The ruling itself is
a victory for the channel and media houses alike and places
their right of "Fair Use at the forefront.
counsel Prathiba Singh who appeared for India TV said: "The
court has protected the rights of artistes and creators on
the one hand and news channels on the other. The court has
held that if every form of usage of even small bits is infringement
then creativity would be stultified."
a similar development, the high courts in Mumbai and Delhi
have held that performance royalty is not payable on a mere
broadcast of original sound recordings by FM radio broadcasters.
Following these judgements, Reliance Broadcast obtained a
legal opinion which backs the judgements and accordingly,
has stopped paying performance royalties.
judgements were delivered by the Bombay High Court in the
case of Indian performing Right Society (IPRS) v/s Music Broadcast
Private Ltd and by the Delhi High Court in the case of IPRS
v/s Aditya Pandey. IPRS is a representative body of owners
of music the composers, lyricists and the publishers
of music and has been collecting royalties for commercial
usage of music.
Broadcast, in its first quarter results statement, said it
has not provided for Rs 34.66 million of performance royalty
for the year ended 31 March 2012. It has also written back
royalties paid in earlier years amounting to Rs 211.31 million.
Broadcast has gone a step ahead and filed declaratory suits
in the high courts of Mumbai and Delhi and also applications
for refund of performance royalty before the Copyright Board
from the respective rights holders/copyright societies.