(a) Original literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works;
(b) Sound Recordings
(c) Cinematograph films
Nothing! According to the law in India the Copyright in your work belongs to you by reason of the fact that you created or “made” that work. In some other countries the law requires that you shall conform to certain requirements such as registration and the payment of a fee, but in India the recognition of your copyright is automatic as soon as your work has been “made” i.e. comes into existence, and that means as soon as it has been reduced to writing or some other material form.
You should note that Copyright does not protect “ideas” but only protects the expression i.e., when something like a story, script, lyrics have been reproduced in some tangible, perceptible form like a manuscript or a record. India is also unique when it comes to musical compositions, because the Copyright Act, 1957 in India does not require a musical composition or be in writing (or graphically notated) for it to be recognised as a ‘work’ under the law.
There is, however, an important condition: Your work must be original, and not an unauthorised copy of someone else’s copyright work.
The copyright in the work (in the context of IPRS, these works are Literary Works (i.e. Lyrics) and Musical Works (musical composition i.e. the tune/ melody) means that you as an owner have the exclusive right to do certain things with that work, or to authorise anyone else to do them. They are the following:
(i) Reproduce the work in any material form;
(ii) Perform the work in public;
(iii) Produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work;
(iv) Make any cinematograph film in respect of the work;
(v) Make any sound recording in respect of the work;
(vi) To communicate the work by broadcast or to communicate to the public by any means;
(vii) Make any adaptation or translation of the work;
IPRS is at all times happy to assist its members with advice and guidance in their copyright problems.
The Indian Performing Right Society Limited or “IPRS” is a Copyright Society registered by the Central Government under Chapter VII of the Copyright Act, 1957. In essence IPRS is an Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of musical works and literary works associated with such musical works. From a legal constitution perspective, IPRS which came in existence in 1969 as a Company Limited by Guarantee and Registered under the Companies Act, 1956 and is a non-profit making body.
Copyright Societies or Collective Management Organisations (“CMO”) like IPRS are established to help owners of rights, creators as well as users of copyrighted works. Societies like IPRS provide a one-window license and administration system in respect of specific works. In practice it would be intolerably troublesome and costly, if not wholly impracticable, if those needing permission to perform copyright music in public had to search for, approach and negotiate with each individual owner of the copyright in every piece of music on each occasion anywhere in the world, and of course it would be impossible for most copyright-owners to deal adequately with such applications.
A bit of history – In 1828, the Society for Dramatic Authors and Composers was set up in France and in 1851 SACEM, the world’s first Collective Mechanism Organisation (‘CMO’) was set up in France. Gradually CMOs were set up across the world in recognition of the requirement to remunerate stakeholders and creators in various copyright sectors including music. [You can read more at – https://www.cisac.org/CISAC-University/Library/Expert-Articles]. Today there are more than 230 copyright societies worldwide.
The IPRS was set up in India in 1969. The IPRS membership includes virtually all Indian Composers, Authors and Music Publishers whose works are publicly performed to any appreciable extent. IPRS also has Agreements of Reciprocal Representation with similar organizations in more than 50 countries throughout the world with which it remains in close and continuous contact. It authorises all those sister Societies to administer the rights of its members in their respective countries, and from their side they authorise IPRS to administer the rights of their members here in India. In all, the IPRS represents more than a million foreign composers, authors and publishers, through its affiliation agreements with similar societies in countries all over the world.
IPRS is also affiliated to the “International Confederation of World Societies of Authors and Composers” known as “CISAC” [https://www.cisac.org] based in Paris which represents more than 4 million creators worldwide!
The Copyright Act, 1957, provides that among the exclusive rights granted to owners of rights in respect of their works are the following loosely described rights: –
(i) the right to perform the work in public;
(ii) the right to communicate the work by broadcast;
(iii) the right to communicate the broadcast of the work to the public by a loud speaker;
(iv) the right to communicate the broadcast of the work to the public by any instrument;
(v) the right to make any record in respect of the work.
The first four rights are generally referred to in the Industry by the single expression ‘Performing Rights’, and the last right is referred to as ‘Mechanical Rights’, and are administered on behalf of its members by the IPRS as assigned.
The expression ‘Performing Right’, means and includes the right of performing in public, making available including broadcasting and causing to be transmitted to users/subscribers of a diffusion service in all parts of the world, by any means and in any manner whatsoever, all musical works or parts thereof and such words and parts thereof (if any) as are associated therewith (i.e. lyrics), including the vocal and instrumental music in cinematograph films, the words and/or music of monologues having musical introduction, and/or accompaniment, and the musical accompaniment of non-musical plays, dramatico-musical works including operas, operettas, Musical plays, revues or pantomimes and ballets, video, plays, serials, documentaries, dramas, commentaries etc. accompanied by music and the right of authorising any of the said Acts.
The expression ‘Mechanical Right’, means and includes the right of reproduction and storage including in any electronic format. This also includes works stored or reproduced on g recordings of all musical works or parts thereof and such words and parts thereof (if any), and ‘recording’ includes without limitation to the generality of the expression the aggregate of sounds embodied in records, discs, tapes and cartridges of all kinds. Including digital copies of such recordings
IPRS also administers the author’s “Right to Receive (& Claim) Royalty” as guaranteed by the Copyright Act, 1957. This “Right to Receive Royalty” or “Author’s Statutory Royalty Right” is triggered upon the utilization of the literary and musical work [which includes (a) the Public Performing Right, (b) Communication to the Public Right and (c) Reproduction Right (i.e., Mechanical Right”] in “any form” with the only exception being the exhibition of the cinematograph film at a cinema hall. The Author’s Statutory Royalty right is inalienable i.e. it cannot be waived by the author of literary works and music works and further is only assignable to a Copyright Society for collection and distribution or to the legal heir of the Author of such literary and/or musical work and any contrary agreement will be void – clearly to safeguard vulnerable authors and music composers against predatory contracts. Thus, only IPRS a registered copyright society can (a) issue/grant licenses in respect of literary and musical works incorporated in cinematograph films and sound recordings; and/or (b) collect and distribute royalties for the utilization of the literary and musical works incorporated in a cinematograph film or sound recording other than for the communication to the public of a cinematograph film incorporating such work(s) in a cinema hall.
IPRS does not grant licenses in respect of the collection of its Author member’s Royalty Right – if the Publisher/Owner is not a member of IPRS – but only collects author/music composer member share with a clearance of such payment issued to the platform.
The Company’s policy is controlled by its Membership Body which elects a Governing Council of Directors elected by the members at General Meetings from among their own number. This Council comprises equal number of Music Publishers and Author / Composer. The Council is answerable to the Membership of IPRS.
The Management, appointed by the Governing Council which oversees the day-to-day functioning of IPRS is headed by the Chief Executive Officer, who is assisted by staff members all over the country. The Company’s Head Office is in Mumbai. In addition to the Head office the Company administers its operations from branch offices all over India in Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata etc.
- Adoption of a new “constitution” in February 2017, in the form of the Articles of Association (“AoA”) which seeks to ensure that all stakeholder authors (lyricists), music composers and music publishers are treated equally and more critically have equal collective control over the working of IPRS. These new AoA respect the rights of all stakeholders including specifically that of Authors and Music Composers to the royalty as mandated by the Copyright Act, 1957 as well as that of music publishers to realise revenue from the exploitation of their works. The new IPRS AoA is available on the IPRS website at https://iprs.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/IPRS-ARTICLES-OF-ASSOCIATION-AMENDED-AS-ON-03.08.2018.pdf
- Free and fair elections to elect a new Board of Directors to the IPRS Board of Directors / Governing Council comprised of author, composer and music publisher members, were held on March 31st 2017 and subsequently as well.
The changes effected within IPRS were supported by both Associations of Lyric writers and Music Composers namely the Music Composers Association of India (“MCAI”) and the Screen Writers Association (“SWA”).
(b) Members can also choose to fill in the online membership form at – https://online.iprs.org/onlineBG/;
(c) Fill in, execute the Form and provide information and documents as detailed on – https://iprs.org/become-a-member/;
(d) File the application with IPRS and pay applicable fee;
(e) IPRS Membership Committee with the membership team will scrutinise the application and details;
(f) Completed and scrutinised forms are considered and accepted/ rejected by the Board on recommendation of the Committee and CEO;
(g) The Board’s decision on acceptance is ratified by the membership of IPRS at its Annual AGM.
In certain cases, ‘permits’ are issued for the use of the repertoire or of specific works at one performance or at a short series of performances.
An IPRS licence is necessary for any public performance/communication to the public of copyright music under its control regardless of the nature of the entertainment or the kind of premises at which the performance takes place and irrespective of whether a charge for admission is made.
Importantly in the context of licenses it is important to note that IPRS does not grant licenses in respect of the collection of member Royalty Right – if the Publisher/Owner is not a member of IPRS – but only collects Author/music composer member share with a clearance of such payment.
Just as purchasing a printed copy of a theatrical play that is in copyright does not entitle the purchaser to perform the play in public, so also the purchaser of a copy of a piece of music or of a commercial recording, does not entitle the purchaser to perform in public the work embodied in the copy or recording. It merely entitles him to perform the work in his domestic circle, where Performing Rights do not operate.
The Company’s licences cover both ‘live’ performances and performances by mechanical means, e.g. Juke boxes, Radio and Television sets, records players, background music devices, and so on. They are issued for numerous categories of premises, including cinemas, clubs, concert halls, dance hall, bingo halls, hotels, town halls, church halls, public houses, restaurants, shops, factories, universities, ships, aeroplanes, sports stadium and many others.
By virtue of these deeds of assignment, IPRS is deemed as the “owner” of the copyrights as subsisting in such musical and literary works. The author and music composer agreements also exclusively authorise IPRS to collect their Author’s Royalty share.
The IPRS Assignment Deeds show the extent to which members have assigned their rights in favour of IPRS, and are available on the IPRS website, at https://iprs.org/assignment-deeds/.
IPRS has a “No Cash” Policy to ensure transprency and boost digital payments to further the objectives of the Government of India – https://iprs.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/No-Cash-Collection-Policy.pdf
When a song is played, both: (i) the sound recording as well as (ii) the underlying musical and literary works, get utilized, and separate licenses need to be taken for each category. While the first licence (for sound recording) can be obtained from owners of sound recordings, the latter licence (for the musical and literary works) must be obtained from IPRS alone if such rights owners are members of IPRS. IPRS only issues license on behalf of its copyright owner members and also collects authors royalty share on behalf of only its author and music composer members even if the copyright owner is not a member of IPRS.
IPRS is allowed by the Copyright Rules, 2013 to deduct upto 15% on account of administrative expenses.
Since the signing of the Berne Convention in 1886, the technological explosion of our century has brought many new and unforeseen ways of exploiting works of the Author, particularly music via the gramophone, the tape recorder, broadcasting, television, the video recorder, the computer, satellite transmission, internet and others. In order to keep pace with all these technological developments the Berne Convention has been revised at regular intervals, and it will continue to be so revised. This means that the copyright laws of the signatory states must also be regularly revised and brought into line with the latest developments.
As explained in these FAQs, an author has the exclusive right to make or to authorise anyone else to make such an adaptation. This means that neither you nor anyone else may do so without his permission. Translating a lyric amounts to making an adaptation thereof, and the same applies to setting it to music. In both cases you require the permission of the copyright owner. However, this applies only to lyrics which are still in copyright-in other words, any lyric of which the author is still alive or has been dead for less than 60 years. If the author has been dead for longer than that, his lyric is “in the public domain” and you are at liberty to translate it or set it to music without further ado.
If you wish to translate or set to music a lyric which is still in copyright, and you do not know where to find the copyright owner, IPRS may be able to help you to get his address.