Music industry seeks protection of IPR, enforcement of laws

Music industry seeks protection of IPR, enforcement of laws

MUMBAI: Riding high on technological changes, the music industry and its affiliates in India are not seeking much intervention from the finance minister this time round, except for better enforcement of laws.

The Indian Music Industry (IMI), the body that looks after the interests of most of the music companies in the country, says that there is not much it expects from the Union Budget. But the Phonographic Performances Limited (PPL), the licencing arm of the IMI, is looking at some concrete intervention.

PPL CEO Vipul Pradhan believes there should be a provision in the budget to reduce the VAT on cassettes. He says, "We are hoping the government reduces the VAT on cassettes, which is 12 per cent currently. The VAT applicable on CDs is four per cent which makes it more feasible for the people to opt for CDs instead of the audio cassettes. Reducing the VAT on cassettes also at four per cent will help in their sales."

"Also, the government has to undertake some kind of initiative for protection of intellectual property and rights. The growth of a country is determined by and large by the sale of computer and entertainment software and piracy is killing the industry. So, it is necessary to form a separate body to protect the intellectual property and also funding is required to educate the common masses about the ill effects of piracy," adds Pradhan.

The governing body for the music industry down south, Simca, too is not looking for drastic changes, but a stricter adherence to prevailing laws. Simca general secretary SL Saha says, "There are no budgetary or fiscal requirements that I expect in the budget but proper enforcement of the prevailing acts to promote the industry."

PDM Entertainment COO Aman Anand, who recently organised the Sunburn Music Festival in Goa, wants a lowering of entertainment tax in the budget.

Mobile content company DNS Networks is looking at tax benefits for producers and film making companies, to enable good production values in films, which in turn help mobile content get marketed profitably throughout the world. "Mobile content based on movies, including music, will get an indirect but big boost if filmmaking corporate houses can avail of these tax benefits," says DNA Networks' MD Devashish Mishra.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India's wishlist for the Union Budget recommends that the nascent e-commerce industry in the country be encouraged by the removal of service tax on online internet transactions done through credit cards, debit cards and net banking transactions, a move that might help the online music stores that have been started by some music companies and content aggregators in the country.

The IAMAI has also recommended that the state governments be directed not to impose entertainment tax on internet and broadband services.

People Infocom CEO Manoj Dawane says, "The Indian Mobile VAS Industry is on a growth path, and the times ahead promise opportunities that will need to be capitalized on and avenues that will have to be chartered. Given the existing scenario, we hope for a Budget that provides our space the support to make the most of the opportunities presented.

"Telecom and media are two of the most important interrelated industries for the MVAS space. Considering both these sectors, we would look forward to the implementation of a single levy system for the telecom sector making telecom services more affordable. We would also look forward to some relief in the Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT)."

"It would be favorable for service tax regulations to be kept simple, which will result in increased compliance and greater tax collections, along with making Tax filings and administration simpler and taxpayer friendly," adds Dawane.

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