Licence must for playing sound recordings at weddings: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Licence must for playing sound recordings at weddings: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Nearly three years after the Registrar of Copyrights came out with a public notice stating that licence was not required for playing sound recordings in social functions during a wedding, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed the same. - File photo

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 24

Nearly three years after the Registrar of Copyrights came out with a public notice stating that licence was not required for playing sound recordings in social functions during a wedding, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed the same.

The order assumes significance as a licence would now be required for “utilisation” of sound recordings during wedding functions. The direction by Justice Raj Mohan Singh came on a petition filed by Novex Communications Private Limited against the Union of India and another respondent challenging the public notice dated August 27, 2019.

Justice Raj Mohan Singh observed the respondent-Registrar issued the public notice, thereby “not interpreting” the provisions of the Act to mean that “the utilisation of any sound recording in the course of religious ceremony, including a marriage procession and other social festivities associated with a marriage, does not amount to infringement of copyrights and hence no licence is required to be obtained for the purpose”.

Senior advocate Gaurav Chopra with Harinder Deep Singh Bains and Jasdeep Singh Dhillon contended that the respondent-Registrar had no jurisdiction to embark upon legislative domain.

Justice Raj Mohan Singh asserted there could not be a general interpretation to the provision as given in the impugned public notice/letter. “The theory of presumed intention, or fair use and infringement, public interest is to be judged on the material available in a given case. When the copyrights are exploited for commercial purposes, the remedy lies under the Act itself — both under the civil as well as criminal laws.”

Justice Raj Mohan Singh observed the respondent had no authority under the Act to interpret applicability of law in the manner as suggested in impugned public notice/letter. “The impugned public notice cannot override provisions of Copyright Act and cannot take away the statutory right of the petitioner under Section 55 of the Act to initiate civil proceedings in the court of law for the infringement of Copyright Act, 1957.”

Quashes public notice

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed a public notice issued by the Registrar of Copyrights. The notice stated that licence was not required for playing sound recordings in social functions during a wedding.

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