PPL Licensing is exclusively for those who play pre-recorded music in the original or the remixed form for non-private purposes. The License is needed to use the original track, tune, beats on any phonographic instruments which produce sounds including a floppy disk, Cd’s, radios, televisions, music sets etc. All this content with PPL has a Copyright Registration in India, so are fully Copyright protected.

The value of music and its maker is indisputable. According to the Copyright Act, 1957 ,every invention or a work of art which includes the invention made by the human brain has to get a certain amount of exclusivity and privacy in terms of its usage and production. The Copyright Act further states that any illegal usage of any music, tunes or its remixed version can attract heavy penalties. The violation of the Act is cognisable and non-bailable.

Types of PPL Licensing:

The Part A deals with licenses which are required for playing the music tracks in any public performance or for background usage purposes.

It deals with the Background music license which deals with the tracks played on public and private transport, for leisure purposes like discos and bars, in offices and shops, and in hotels and amusement parks etc.

Part C category includes events which includes college fests, road shows, award functions etc.

And there is Part D category which is the Temporary transfer license useful for usage in discotheques.

Interplay between Section 30 and Section 33

Section 30 of the Copyright Act provides that “the owner of the copyright registered in India for any existing work or the prospective owner of the copyright in any future work may grant any interest in the right by licence in writing signed by him or by his duly authorised agent”. It is dead serious for the agent to disclose the name of his principal in his every dealings.

Section 30 thus provides for granting the license by agents on behalf of the owner. In the current scenario, the two entities, IPRS and PPL, claim to function as agents of their members and thus grant license in the name of the agent, as they now function as a private limited company.

Section 33 of the Act provides “No person or association of persons shall carry on the business of issuing or granting licences in respect of any work in which Copyright Registration in India subsists or in respect of any other rights conferred by this Act except under or in accordance with the registration granted under sub-section (3)”.


A license for Public Performance can be made by making an application in the prescribed form and effecting the payment of license fee specified in the Tariff. All the licenses granted are for a limited and temporary period, there is no complete transfer of ‘right to use’ and it solely rests with the owner.

The central licensing office is situated at Andheri, Mumbai and many branch offices for the convenience of licences which are situated at major cities and states in India

Infringement :

According to The Copyright Act, 2012, an infringing copy means;

In relation to a sound recording, any other recording embodying the same sound recording, made by any means; if such reproduction, copy or sound recording is made or imported in contravention of the provisions of this Act.

The controversy behind the licensing of PPL and IPRS

Following the amendments in the year 2012 of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 stated that it is compulsory for every company which is registered before 2012 to compulsorily re-register itself within one year from the date mentioned therein. The PPL and the IPRS failed due to which they are now recognised as private bodies registered under the Companies Act, 2013.

Relevant Facts on PPL:

  1. The current chairman is Mr. ShridharSubramaniam representing the Sony Music Company.
  2. PPL exclusively controls the broadcasting and performing rights of more than seven lakh songs in various languages.
  3. The PPL has failed itself to be recognised as Copyright Societies and now operates as Private Limited Company.

Relevant Cases:

  1. Hasan Kamal V. Union of India and Others

For detailed discussion on Copyright Societies and Copyright Protection in India consult Company Vakil and their expert Copyright Attorneys.

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