Indian Singers Rights Association vs Dharma Productions[CS(COMM) 562/2020]

Background

Indian Singers Rights Association in its plea has submitted that the defendant (Dharma Production) commercially utilized three performances of the members of the plaintiff society i.e. performers’ rights in ‘Ae Ji O Ji’ from the cinematograph film ‘Ram Lakhan’, ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’ from the cinematograph film ‘Khalnayak’ and ‘Saajan ji Gher Aaye’ from the film ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ in the movie Gunjan Saxena. And, hence t he petitioner has enforced its performers’ rights which were introduced in the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 by amending Section 38 and introducing Section 38A and 38B to the Copyright Act.

Observation of the Court

1. Answering the defendant’s contention that that studio performances are not “live” and, therefore, do not qualify for payment of royalty, the court observed that the issue of plaintiff’s performers’ right was seriously triable as every performance has to be live in the first instance, whether before an audience or in a studio.

2. Relying upon Neha Bhasin Vs. Anand Raj Anand & Another, the Court noted that the definition of ‘performer’ in Section 2(qq) of the Copyright Act included a Singer and the performers’ right meant any visual or acoustic presentation made live by one or more performers.

Held

The court has deferred passing any order to the Karan Johar-owned production house to deposit the royalty amount with the court.
The matter would be heard next on March 12, 2021.

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