copyright owner plans to “raid large weddings”

Seriously. T-Series, a South Asian music firm, has already made 28 raids in one week. [Nishant A. Buse, mid-day.com, 12/7] Text below the fold.

Fed-up of rampant copyright violation, music firm T-Series has begun to crack down on weddings at which Bollywood songs are played or performed, and fine the organisers for unpaid royalties.

If you’re caught, T-Series will not only charge you a hefty fine, but also confiscate your equipment.

Rs 18 crore loss

According to statistics provided by T-Series Public Performance Licence (TPPL), the company, which owns the copyrights to 87 per cent of Bollywood soundtracks, loses Rs 18 crore a year in unpaid royalties from weddings and similar celebrations.

“We are already losing crores to piracy, and this adds to our losses. We have now decided to offer special public performance licences
to wedding organisers,” said M M Satish, who heads TPPL.

Hotels informed

The company has informed most clubs and hotels in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi of their plan, and has urged them to help ensure that copyrighted music is not played illegally.

“We requested hotels to inform their customers about the rules of obtaining licences. Simultaneously, we are in the process of merging with several agencies that will help us raid large weddings and confiscate equipment if they don’t have a licence,” said Satish.

Awareness campaign

TPPL has also launched a public awareness campaign to educate people about copyrights and royalties. The campaign comprises slogans such as ‘Raja ho ya rankh ki shaadi, agar high class band ho ya band master, jab baje filmi gana sab ko bharna padta hai jurmana’.

Penalty

If the organisers of a wedding refuse to pay royalties, T-Series has the authority to confiscate their equipment and instruments under copyright law.

The fine (Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh) is collected under Section 33 of the Copyright Act (1957). Copyright violation also carries a prison sentence of six months to three years.

Shaadi No 1

T-Series launched its new shaadi-specific licence at the wedding of diamond trader Harshad Mehta’s son at the MMRDA grounds last week.
A number of Bollywood stars performed at the lavish wedding, and Mehta paid T-Series Rs 25,000 for a performance licence.

28 raids already

The company has within a week raided 28 weddings in Mumbai and Pune and collected Rs. 35 lakh in fines. “I was not aware that I needed a licence, but we paid the fine immediately and the ceremony continued,” said Balvindra Singh, who organised the wedding of his daughter at a five-star hotel a few days ago.

Rate card

Shaadi band: Rs 1,500 to 2,500
Small wedding: Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000
Big wedding: Rs 25,000