Sunburn feels the heat of songs’ copyright owner

Novex Communications Private Limited, holding the copyright of over 5,000 Bollywood songs, has filed an FIR against the Sunburn organizers for playing some popular numbers allegedly without obtaining the necessary licence.

The company’s managing director Ketan Kanakia told TOI that the FIR was recently filed under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 after a couple of Bollywood hits owned by the company were played by the Sunburn organizers. The company had warned them on the necessity of obtaining the licence to play the songs.

“Our company holds the copyright of the most popular tracks in the Bollywood industry currently, including the hits from ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’. Whenever an event organizer plays the songs of which we own the copyright, they have to give us a licence fee. The organizers against whom the FIR was filed failed to obtain the licence for playing the songs,” said Kanakia.

A senior official of the Hinjewadi police station confirmed that the FIR was filed on January 2. “The organizers were playing songs owned by Novex without their permission and sans paying any royalty to the company,” the official said.

The authorities of Novex, managing the copyright for Yashraj Films, ZEE Entertainment Enterprise Limited, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited and Eros International Media Limited alleged that Sunburn, Pune, played songs like ‘Malhari’ from ‘Bajirao Mastani’ and ‘Kajrare Kajrare’ from the movie ‘Bunty Aur Bubli’, owned by the company.

A source in Percept Live, which owns the Sunburn Music Festival, said, “This is an ongoing issue with music societies and those who claim to be the copyright owners. In most cases, such societies do not have the legal authority to seek compensation. Even if they do, they are at the best entitled to get royalty for the tracks played. But most of these societies approach event organizer and demand a hefty fee without substantiating the ownership of the songs.”

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) earlier filed a writ petition before the Bombay high court challenging the demands of Novex, stating that it cannot indulge in the business of issuing or granting such a licence. The issue is currently pending in the high court.

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