The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (hereinafter referred as “IPAB”) let out an order that determines fixed Statutory Licensing Rates for Radio Royalties. The order was passed after over ten applications were filed by the Music Broadcast Ltd. And other broadcasters, seeking Statutory License and fixed Royalty Rates, in accordance to Section 31D of the Copyright Act, 1957, for broadcasting of Literary and Musical Works and Sound Recordings.

The Bench, consisting Chairman Justice Manmohan Singh, N. Surya Senthil and S. P. Chockalingam, in its 234 page order observed as follows, “The provisions of Section 31D are meant to ensure that the economic benefits of the Copyright Owner are not diluted in any manner and there is no inroad of any nature whatsoever on the rights of the Copyright owner as conferred by the Act. The Broadcasters are entitled to broadcast the copyrighted work by making a payment of royalty at the rate fixed by the Board.” The Board made sure that the decision was in harmony of the benefit of both parties, i.e. the owners of the copyright and the broadcasters, and ruled out a fair rate.

It was also noted by IPAB that, “the royalty rate of INR 1050 at the TIER A+ peak time from the point of view of music companies should be satisfactory as it roughly 9% of NAR based on 2019 financial data of Broadcasters, which is far higher than 2% erstwhile received by them and even higher than 7% NAR demanded by some of the music companies in this proceeding. Similarly, the Applicant Broadcasters should also be satisfactory with the current lower royalty rate range of INR 1050 (TIER A+ Prime Time) to INR 15 (TIER D Lean Time) as they have earlier paid INR 1200 (For SCPL) to the lowest INR 230 (2% NAR).” The Board therefore instructed the fixed Royalty Rates would come into effect from 1st October 2020, and the broadcasters shall pay the arrears of Royalty for the period of 1st October 2020 to 31st January 2021, before the date of 10th February 2021.

Similarly, the share of composers and authors for the underlying work in the making of Literary and Musical Works and Sound Recordings, shall be determined by the Indian Performing Rights Society (hereinafter referred as “IPRS”), while the non-members of IPRS are liable to be paid directly by the broadcasters.

The Board directed all broadcasters to deposit 25% as advance amount under the compliance of Rule 29 of Copyrights Rules, 2013, subject to adjustment of amount every calendar month until further review of the order. Rule 29 of Copyrights Rules, 2013 basically talks about statutory license and notice for broadcasting and communicating literary, musical works and sound recordings to the public.

The Royalty Rates are set to be reviewed on 30th September 2021.

Order: IPAB order