The Delhi High Court has issued summons in Indian Singers Rights Association’s suit against Dharma Productions, seeking royalty for the commercial exploitation of their performance in “Gunjan Saxena- The Kargil Girl” (Indian Singers Rights Association vs Dharma Productions).
A single-judge Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta, however, deferred passing any order to the Karan Johar-owned production house (defendant) to deposit the amount with the Court.
Indian Singers Rights Association (plaintiff) has sought the enforcement of 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.
As per the plaintiff, the defendant 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 Ghar Aaye’ from the film ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’.
All performances of the members of the plaintiff were originally part of earlier cinematograph films.
It was stated that the tariff for the performers’ rights was fixed and the defendant was bound to deposit it before the Court pending final decision.
The defendant opposed the petitioner’s claim on the ground that studio performances are not “live” and, therefore, do not qualify for payment of royalty.
It was added that the licence for the songs in question had been taken from the label concerned.
In view of an earlier decision in 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.
Stating that every performance must be live in the first instance, whether before an audience or in a studio, the Court opined that the issue of plaintiff’s performers’ right was seriously triable.
Accordingly, the Court deferred order on payment of deposit till the next date of hearing and asked the parties to complete their pleadings till then.
The matter would be heard next on March 12.
Advocate Pravin Anand along with advocates Dhruv Anand and Udita M Patro appeared for the plaintiff.
Senior Advocate Chander Lall with advocates Bindi G Dave, Pranaya Goyal, Rohini Goyal, Aman Raj Gandhi, Nancy Roy, Utkarsh K, P Bhatnagar, briefed by Wadia Ghandy & Co, appeared for defendant.
Senior Advocate Sanjeev Sindhwani with advocates Ankur Sangal, Sucheta Roy, Shantanu Rawat appeared for Saregama India Limited, the proposed intervenor.
Advocates Harsh Kaushik, Abhay Chattopadhyay, SS Ahluwalia, Anushree Rauta, Mohit Bangwal appeared for Zee Entertainment and Tips Industries, proposed intervenors.