In our earlier posts, we mounted some serious challenges to PPL’s very authority to collect moneys for public performances, particularly in the context of foreign sound recordings. We’re not suggesting for a moment that copyright law must be ignored or that copyright owners must not be paid a license fee when a right is exploited. However, we simply ask whether PPL is entitled to collect license fees when any sound recording under the sun is played? Has it been authorised to do so by the copyright owner, and more importantly, does it account for such fees and remit it to the concerned copyright owner?
Contrary to what PPL asserts in its various letters that are now available our website, (with names redacted), every member of the public is entitled to know under what authority PPL collects royalties. Unless PPL demonstrates the source of this authority, no one in India need pay them at all!
What makes all of this worse is that PPL is a statutory creation (its genesis can be found in the Indian copyright act) and ought to be subjected to higher norms of transparency and accountability.
We once again exhort the government to please step in and put an end to this brazen illegality. PPL ought to be forced to become more transparent and disclose its various agreements under which it holds rights to collect royalties on behalf of copyright owners.
The PPL letters contain some amusing nuggets. Upon being politely requested to demonstrate its various rights in the music that was sought to be performed, PPL’s classic response is:
“Sorry we r not going to disclose terms and conditions of aggrement we have with our members since it is very much company oriented and not a public document.
If you r not satisfied with explanation as forwarded by us from Coyright Law Book released by Govt of India ,I am afraid u need to go to Ministry/Judiciary for knowing fact of Life. Meanwhile event as discussed needs to be stopped unless matter is being cleared by any appropriate authority to both the parties.”
Don’t the PPL computers have spell check? More importantly, does one need to gift PPL with a Wren and Martin? And pray, what is the “fact of life”? That PPL is extorting money from poor unsuspecting victims, when it is not legally entitled to do so?
If any of you have faced similar harassment from PPL, please let us know. We’ll ensure that you receive pro bono legal representation. We need to fight this collectively and put an end to it… quickly..