Copyright; International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) Vs. Aditya Pandey [Supreme Court of India, 20-09-2016]

Copyright Act, 1957 – Section 19 (10) – With effect from 21.06.2012, the assignment of the copyright in the work to make sound recording which does not form part of any cinematograph film, shall not affect the right of the author of the work to claim an equal share of royalties or/and consideration payable for utilization of such work in any form.

Copyright Act, 1957 – Assignment of a Copyright of a work and licence to use the work – distinction between – In the assignment, normally, ownership of the copyright of the work is transferred but in the case of licence another person is allowed to use the work by the author.

Copyright Work




SEPTEMBER 20, 2016.

CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 9412-9413 OF 2016

(arising out of S.L.P (C) Nos. 2380-2381 OF 2014)

International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) … Appellants


Aditya Pandey & ors …Respondents

WITH CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 9414-9415 OF 2016 (arising out of S.L.P(C) Nos. 21082-21083 OF 2012) WITH CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9416 OF 2016 (arising out of S.L.P(C) No. 2379 OF 2014)


Prafulla C. Pant, J.

Leave granted.

 2. All these three appeals are directed against the order dated May 08, 2012 passed by Division Bench of High Court of Delhi in FAO (OS) Nos. 423-424 of 2011 and FAO (OS) No. 425 of 2011 with CM No. 19128 of 2011, whereby said Court has dismissed the appeals, and affirmed the order of the learned Single Judge in Suit CS (OS) No. 1185 of 2006 and Copyright Infringement Suit CS(OS) No. 1996 of 2009 disposing of the Interim Applications moved for temporary injunction and directions.

3. Learned Single Judge had disposed of Interim Applications in above mentioned suits as under:-

“55. In the light of the above conclusions- which are prima facie in nature, and do not preclude the plaintiffs in both cases, from establishing and proving their case- the following directions are issued:

(i) In the synergy suit, (i.e. CS(OS) 1185/2006) the applications for temporary injunctions, i.e. IA Nos., 6486/2006, 7027/2006 and 6487/2006 are disposed of by stating that the defendants do not have to secure a license from the plaintiffs;

(ii) In the CRI suit, (i.e. CS(OS) No. 1996/2009) the application, i.e. IA Nos. 13691/2009, 13692/2009 are disposed of with the directions that in case the defendants wish to perform the sound recording in public, i.e. play them, a license from PPRS is essential; in case the musical works are to be communicated or performed in the public, independently, through an artiste, the license of IPRS is essential. In case the defendant wishes to hold an event involving performances or communication of works of both kinds to the public, the license or authorization of both IPRS and PPRS are necessary. The defendant is accordingly restrained from communicating any of such works to the public, or performing them, in the public, without such appropriate authorization, or licensing pending adjudication of the suit.”

4. Issue involved in the present appeals is that where lyric written by ‘X’ (lyricist) and music composed by ‘Y’ (musician) are used to make sound recording by ‘Z’ (Sound Recording Company), whether ‘A’ (Event Management Company/Event Organizer) is required to seek licence from ‘X’ and ‘Y’ for subsequently playing the song in public even after ‘A’ had paid for the broadcasting of the song to ‘Z’ (Sound Recording Company) ?

5. Indian Performing Rights Society Limited (For short “IPRS”) (appellant before us in two of the three appeals) is the Society of authors of literary work, and composers of musical work, is the plaintiff/appellant. And International Confederation of Societies, is a non-governmental organization, an association of copyright societies, registered in France, which was not the party before the trial court, is the appellant in one of the above three appeals. Respondent No.2 – Synergy Media Entertainment is the Event Management Company of which Respondent No.1 is the Senior Manager (Finance).

6. The case of the plaintiff/appellant is that authors of literary work and composers of musical work are the first owners of copyright in lyric and musical work respectively under the Copyright Act, 1957. As such they have the right to get restrained Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 from infringing their copyright, and licence given to sound recording company does not affect the rights of lyricist or the musician. Reference has been made to the definition of expression “communication to the public” defined under Section 2(ff) and that of ‘performance’ defined in Section 2(q) of the Act. Further, reference has been made to the amendment introduced in 1994 in the Copyright Act, 1957 and it is pleaded that the right created under Section 14(a)(iv) cannot be read in derogation of right created under Section 14(a)(iii) of the Act.

7. The grievance of the International Confederation Society (IFS)/3rd party appellant is that the petitioner is aggrieved due to the findings and alleged legal infirmities in the impugned order as it has an immediate and direct impact on its members and the creative community for their interest (which the petitioner represents), stands to suffer loss and injury as the impugned judgment deprives them of their exclusive right to collect royalty in cases of communication of sound recordings to the public.

8. On behalf of the appellants, it is further argued that the erroneous finding in the impugned judgment denies the members of the appellants the right recognized under various international conventions to which India is a party, which they hold under copyright law. It is further submitted that the impugned judgment creates discord between the manner of exploitation and treatment of same works, in two different countries, contrary to what the International Conventions and Treaties seek to achieve. It is contended that the erroneous interpretation of law in the impugned judgment stands in direct conflict with India’s obligations under the

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Paris Act, 1971)

and the agreement on