Copyright

The ‘Numbers’ continue to talk – PPL’s revenues from mobile ringtones has zoomed up by 1857% in 6 years; from Rs. 7 crores to Rs. 137 crores


Pursuant to the incomplete information being submitted by the Copyright Office, in response to our repeated RTI requests, I decided to try and source the information from the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), which I must say is remarkably well stocked, albeit a little disorganized. Our previous posts on these RTI applications can be accessed over here and here. Image from here.
We now have the annual revenues of Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) from the year 2005 to 2010. PPL is the copyright society which administers all rights pertaining to sound recordings be it public performance or mobile ringtones. The latest report for 2009-2010 reveals revenues which have beaten PPL’s own estimates. Earlier, in the Annual Report for 2008-09, PPL had estimated its revenue for the next year to be at Rs. 165 crores, with Rs. 105 crores coming from mobile ringtone and the web. Now that we have the Annual Report for 2009-2010 with us we can confirm that PPL’s actual revenues for that year were Rs. 203 crores only, of which Rs. 137 crores were earned from mobile ringtones and the internet.
In order to put in context the phenomenal growth in the collection of mobile ringtones, it is necessary to trace its humble origins:

(i) 2004-05: Rs. 7.06 crores (click AR 05-06 – p. 24)
(ii) 2005-06: Rs. 13.97 crores (click AR 05-06 – p. 24)
(iii) 2006-07: Rs. 33.26 crores (click AR 06-07 – p.4)
(iv) 2007-08: Rs. 69.4 crores (click P&L 07-08 – p.2)
(v) 2008-09: Rs. 99.13 crores (click AR 08-09 – p.22)
(vi) 2009-10: Rs. 137.8 crores (click AR 09-10 – p.11)

The growth has therefore been from Rs. 7.06 crores to Rs. 137.8 crores in a period of just 6 years! That’s a little less than a 2000% growth rate (1857% actually). The total amount collected from mobile ringtones in this period is Rs. 360.62 crores.

Anyway, the only reason I’m putting this out is to just add some empirical data to the existing debate on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010. Hopefully these numbers will lend the required perspective.
Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).

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