Breaking News: Supreme Court Stays Copyright Board Order

SpicyIP just learnt that the Supreme Court stayed the controversial copyright board compulsory licensing order! A bench comprising of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph stayed the order this afternoon. PPL had appealed against the order of the copyright board fixing royalties to be paid by radio stations at 2%. The matter was listed for admission today and after hearing counsels, the Supreme Court issued the stay. It is not clear whether the Supreme Court admitted the matter before granting the stay. The matter is now posted for the 29th of March.

PPL obtained the stay and was represented by Media Lexicon, a media and IP law firm. Media Lexicon briefed an impressive array of senior counsels, KK Venugopal (KKV) Rohinton Nariman and Mukul Rohatgi for this matter.

Speaking to SpicyIP, Shekhar Mennon, founder of Medialexicon and noted medial law specialist stated that senior counsel KKV had strongly urged the court to grant the stay, as the copyright board had fixed a rate that was too low and arbitrary. He urged that even something under the essential commodities act would have garnered a better rate!

It is not clear what the real effect of this stay is. My reading would be that the stay of a compulsory licensing (CL) rate fixed by the Board means that there is no effective CL in operation now. For without a fixed rate, there cannot be a compulsory license. Which means that radio stations cannot play music without the permission of PPL.

I’m not sure if any of them have existing contracts with PPL, and if they do, its clear that they can play under the rates stipulated in that contract.

Tis’ certainly proving to be the year of copyright! Compulsory licensing of music, a constitutionally infirm copyright board, parallel imports, book publishers and section 2(m), Javed Akthar, Bollywood, authors’ rights and a seriously dodgy IPRS affair….the issues continue and confound…giving our poor fingers at SpicyIP no respite!

Shamnad Basheer

Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He's also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof. Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Prof. Basheer joined Anand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Later, he was the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and also a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. Prof. Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP, the Stanford Technology Law Review and CREATe. He was consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also served on several government committees.

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