How To Get A License To Play Music At Restaurant Or Café?

Published on 26 Jan 2020 by Shivi

Many hotels, restaurants, pubs, discotheques, lounge bars, etc. in India play music without obtaining the mandatory copyright license and payment of the required license fee, violating the Copyright of the musicians and music companies. To prevent this, the laws have made it mandatory for all such public places to obtain a license for playing music. Let’s have a look at the concept of license for playing music in a restaurant, pub, etc. and how to obtain this music license in India. 

Laws Associated With Music In India

As per Section 2(p) of the Copyright Act, musical work means a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music.

As per Section 2(xx) of the Act, sound recording means a recording of sounds from which such sounds may be produced regardless of the medium on which such recording is the method by which the sounds are produced.

A sound recording or musical work includes various rights which have been given to the producer of the sound recording, the lyricist who wrote the lyrics, and the musician who composed the music. This makes it necessary to obtain permission from each and every right owner in the sound recording. In order to act as a single point of contact to obtain a licence from the music owners, the concept of Copyright Society was created. 

The Copyright Society is a national society wherein music owners can come together and lay down the requirements to obtain the music license to play their music freely. A Copyright Society must be registered under Section 33(3) of Copyright Act, to perform these duties. A Copyright Society registration allows the society to issue a licence to the users of its member’s recordings under Section 30 of Copyright Act and to charge and collect licence fees from the users of sound recordings.

ALSO READ: Copyright Infringement: Online Piracy In India

How To Obtain A Music License For Restaurant?

Apart from the basic business registration, FSSAI license and registration, Eating house license, etc., a restaurant is required to obtain a license to play music in its premises. To play music in a restaurant or café, the restaurant needs to register with any of the following Copyright Societies as per its requirements: 

  1. The Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), to obtain the license that gives it public performance rights to play the music. PPL owns and exclusively controls public performance rights and radio broadcasting rights in more than 5 lakh songs in languages such as Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Malayalam, Bhojpuri etc., including both film and non-film songs such as Ghazals, devotional, folk, pop, classical, etc, of its more than 250 members.

  2. Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), to obtain a music license for live performances and performance through any electronic means. IPRS has the power to collect royalties from restaurants on behalf of its members, being authors, composers and publishers of music and to distribute this royalty amount between them after deducting its administrative costs. 

  3. Novex Communications Limited, a satellite channel distribution company in India has also been granting licenses for Yash Raj films Private Limited, UTV Software Communications Limited,  Shemaroo Entertainment Limited and Zee. Novex has the right to grant Music License under their powers as the authorised agent of the above-mentioned entities under Section 30 of the Copyright Act.

To obtain a license from these Copyright societies, an application can be filed as per their prescribed format with the help of an IPR lawyer in India. The applicant has to pay a fee which is published in their tariff scheme which they have to publish according to the Copyright Act.

Punishment For Not Obtaining The Music License

If a business is caught playing music which any of these Societies is authorised to collect royalty for without a Music License, the crime is considered a cognizable and non-bailable offence with an imprisonment term that can extend up to 3 years and a heavy penalty of INR 2 lakhs under Section 51 and Section 63 of Copyright Act respectively.

Consult the best IPR advocates in India to obtain a license to play music at your restaurant. Call Legistify at 8468833013 or send us an email at [email protected]

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