Delhi High Court verdict brings relief to India’s singing community

Delhi HC

A first step, a bold step – call it whatever you want, but the bottom line is that the India’s Singing Community now has a reason to feel optimistic about their fair share of royalties. On December 23, 2014, the Delhi High Court delivered a judicial order in favor of the Indian Signers’ Rights Association (ISRA).

The HC order restrained the New Delhi-based Night Fever Club & Lounge from “communicating to the public, the plaintiff’s repertoire comprising of performances of all its members without obtaining a license from the plaintiff (read ISRA) or doing any other act infringing the plaintiff’s members performer’s rights till further orders.”

Apparently, ISRA had filed a case against the lounge on December 18 in the Delhi High Court following which the court summoned its owners and their representative Hemant Gupta on December 20. However, as no one from the defendant’s side showed up in the court on December 23, judge S P Garg passed an order ex-parte.

Sanjay Tandon, Managing Director of ISRA has called this Delhi HC order a landmark decision.

“The Copyright amendment was passed in 2012, but its clauses, which protected singers’ rights, were not being followed. Now that we have got the order it will be followed,” he said.

Tandon further stated that ISRA will be go into overdrive to properly communicate the new dispensation to the user community, including clubs, TV channels, lounges, as well as event companies. Those who fail to comply with it, will be taken to the court.

He added, “Like the actors have their onscreen performances, every singer is a performer. If a performer’s voice is used for commercial purposes, then its exploitation needs to be compensated through royalties. Thus the users will have to pay for the licenses that we will issue to them. We will file many more cases if singers’ voices are exploited and they will have to pay the damages.”

ISRA was founded in May, 2013 as a nonprofit company with support from big industry names such as: Lata Mangeshkar, Suresh Wadkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu,  Gurdaas Mann, Pankaj Udhas, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala, Sonu Nigam, Asha Bhosle, Sunidhi Chauhan and Mahalaxmi Iyer.