Pubs warned to pay up or face the music

December 29th, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) The capital and areas around may fall short of venues to welcome the new year as hotels and pubs that have not paid music licence fees will not be allowed play music at their year-end bashes.Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), the apex-licensing arm of the Indian music industry, has served notices to several leading hotels and pubs that have defaulted on paying licence fees, saying action would be taken against them if they did not pay up.

The defaulters this year includes some of the top venues for new year bashes such as Tivoli Garden Resort, Tabula Rasa, F Bar and Lounge, Best Western Hotels, Ramada Plaza, Castle 9, Leisure Hotels, Ad Maker, Staying Alive, Addiction, Lovely Obsessions, Club Saffire and the Bristol Hotel in Gurgaon adjoining Delhi.

PPL has issued similar notices to defaulters across the country.

“The music industry is going through a very bad phase and it is unfair that while individuals don’t mind paying a bomb for food and drinks, they hesitate to pay for intellectual property,” PPL chief executive Vipul Pradhan said.

Under section 35 in the Copyright Act, playing commercial music without paying the requisite licence fee is an offence.

“Musical nights and customised new year packages are some of the most prolific means of revenue for pubs and hotels. A new year’s bash cannot be imagined without music. Yet when it comes to paying for the commercial use of music, the profit-makers choose to evade the licence fee,” said Sowmya Chowdhury, PPL’s country head - events.

“To control the situation, this year we have expanded our operations to a national campaign in all major cities.”

According to Chowdhury, each year, pubs and hotels rake in revenues with customised new year packages that range between Rs.1,500 and Rs.20,000 per head or per couple, but refuse to pay the licence fee that begins from Rs.40,000.

“They thus flout the law and eat into the royalties of the performers and artistes. The DJs too will not be spared if they continue to play music without paying the licence fees,” Chowdhury said.

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