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07 October 2016

Copyright of author in a song and sound recording, prior to 2012 amendment

The Supreme Court on 20-9-2016 has held that prior to the amendment in 2012, to the Copyright Act, 1957 the author of copyright in a work (song) could not claim royalty for further exploitation of derivative work (sound recording). The appellant was aggrieved over the decision of the Division Bench which upheld the order of the Single Judge that a person (broadcaster/event manager) who wishes to ‘communicate to the public’ a sound recording need not obtain permission from the lyricist and musician if he has already obtained permission from the person who made the sound recording. The appellants – society of authors, composers etc.,- argued that the right of the lyricist/musician existed independent of the right the person who made the recording and any person seeking to make use of the copyrighted work must seek the license to do so.

The Supreme Court in the case  of International Confederation of Societies of Authors & Composers v. Aditya Pandey & ORs stated that the amendment to Section 19 that no assignment of copyright to make a sound recording shall affect the right of the author to share in the royalties payable for utilization of the work was effective 21-6-2012 and the period of dispute was prior to it. Hence, the author of the sound recording could assign the same to another person. Such assignee would not have to get permission from the authors of the literary or musical work to communicate the recordings.