14 Months Later, the Wait Continues for the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry into IPRS

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As reported earlier on this blog, the Government of India had appointed a Commission of Inquiry on August 14, 2015 to investigate the happenings at the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS). The management at IPRS, which is a copyright society for music and lyrics, has been accused of many illegalities, including the siphoning away of royalties. These allegations, against the management (who are basically representatives of some of the largest music labels) date back to 2004. After multiple complaints from the authors and music composers, the Registrar of Copyrights did try to conduct an investigation but was restrained, without a legal basis, by the civil court in Barasat.

After the enactment of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 2012 the Government of India ordered an inquiry into the affairs of IPRS and appointed retired Justice Mukul Mudgal to head the inquiry. That inquiry was challenged before the Bombay High Court by IPRS. The challenge was dismissed by the High Court in March, 2015 but Justice Mudgal had already declined to continue in September, 2014. In the meanwhile, other agencies, like the Enforcement Directorate began an investigation into IPRS for alleged money laundering.

Finally, on August 14, 2015 the government appointed Y. P. C. Dangey, a retired joint secretary from the Law Ministry to head the inquiry. Earlier this year we had reported that the Commission of Inquiry was inviting statements from the public. It has now been fourteen months since the government first appointed this Commission of Inquiry. Although such Commissions are time bound, governments are known to give extension after extension to these Commissions. In any case, the government should not give any more extensions to this particular Commission. The Commission should be directed to submit a report as soon as possible so that the Registrar of Copyright can move ahead with the registration process for the music copyright societies.

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