IPRS complies with new copyright law & decides to collect ringtone royalties – no news about its re-registration from the Copyright Office

More than a year after the new copyright law came into force we have no news from the Copyright Office on the status of the registration or re-registration of the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) as a copyright society. Emails to the Registrar of Copyright remain unanswered – given the concerns and public interest involved in the registration of IPRS as a copyright society we were expecting the Registrar of Copyrights to set new benchmarks for transparency in the re-registration process. I will be filing RTIs soon with the Copyright Office for details of the same. 
Ironically, it is IPRS which is now the more transparent body – all documents relating to the IPRS EGM in which new bye-laws were passed to comply with the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 are now available on the website of IPRS. The application made to the Copyright Office by IPRS for re-registration is unfortunately inaccessible. However I did have a look at the new Articles of Association (AoA) and tariff scheme – everything seems to be in order. 
One of the long-standing complaints against IPRS was that it had stopped collecting royalty ringtones and that it had given away these rights to PPL – however the new tariff scheme authorized by IPRS expressly includes a category to collect ringtone royalties. 
Similarly the new AoA have been amended to ensure that IPRS is now under the control of both authors and copyright owners. Both authors and copyright owners have been given equal voting rights and representation on the Board of Directors. These amendments give authors an equal stake in IPRS. With these amendments one would have expected the re-registration of IPRS to have been completed without delay. 
In a previous post of mine I had discussed the problems that arose in the last time IPRS was registered by a copyright society. As I had stated earlier, the ‘Register of Owners’ of IPRS was never submitted to the Copyright Office in 1996 during the first phase of registration. The Register has to list the name of the owners, along with the rights owned. Hopefully the Registrar of Copyrights will not repeat this mistake of his predecessors.

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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