1.What Must I do to “copyright” my Work ?

Nothing ! According to the law of India the Copyright in your work belongs to you by reason of the fact that you created or “made” that work. In some other countries the law requires that you shall conform to certain requirements such as registration and the payment of a fee, but in India the recognition of your copyright is automatic as soon as your work has been “made” and that means as soon as it has been reduced to writing or some other material form.
There is no Copyright as long as it is just an idea in your head, for Copyright starts only when that idea has been reproduced in some tangible, perceptible form like a manuscript or a record.

There is, however, an important condition: Your work must be original, and not an unauthorised copy of someone else’s copyright work.

2.What does my “copyright” mean to me ?
The copyright in the work means that you as an owner have the exclusive right to do certain things with that work, or to authorise anyone else to do them. They are the following:

(i) Reproduce the work in any material form;
(ii) Perform the work in public;
(iii) Produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work;
(iv) Make any cinematograph film in respect of the work;
(v) Make any sound recording in respect of the work;
(vi) To communicate the work by broadcast or to communicate to the public by any means;
(vii) Make any adaptation of the work;

IPRS is at all times happy to assist its members with advice and guidance in their copyright problems.

3.What is The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) ?
The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) is an Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of musical works. IPRS came in existence in 1969 as a Company Limited by Guarantee and Registered under the Companies Act, 1956 and is a non-profit making body.
4.Why was it set up ?

In the olden days, authors, composers and copyright-owners used to collect performing right royalties as a normal procedure in respect of operas and similar stage works; but for shorter works which were often performed publicly thousands of times daily at all sorts of entertainments throughout the world, some special method had to be devised. In practice it would be intolerably troublesome and costly, if not wholly impracticable, if those needing permission to perform copyright music in public had to approach each individual owner of the copyright in every piece of music on each occasion anywhere in the world,and of course it would be impossible for most copyright-owners to deal
adequately with such applications.

The problem was solved by the formation of performing right societies. The IPRS being set up in 1969. Its membership includes virtually all Indian Composers, Authors and Music Publishers whose works are publicly performed to any appreciable extent. IPRS also has Agreements of Reciprocal Representation with similar organizations in more than 50 countries throughout the world with which it remains in close and continuous contact. It authorises all those sister Societies to administer the rights of its members in their respective countries,and from their side they authorise IPRS to administer the rights of their members here in India. In all, the IPRS represents more than a million foreign composers, authors and publishers, through its affiliation agreements with similar societies in countries all over the world.

The Society is also affiliated to the Federation of World Societies of Authors and Composers known as CISAC having its principal office in Paris.

5.What Rights does IPRS administer ?
The Copyright Act, 1957, provides that among the exclusive rights granted to Owners in respect of their works are the following: –

(i) the right to perform the work in public;
(ii) the right to communicate the work by broadcast;
(iii) the right to communicate the broadcast of the work to the public by a loud speaker;
(iv) the right to communicate the broadcast of the work to the public by any instrument;
(v) the right to make any record in respect of the work.

The first four rights are generally referred to by the single expression ‘Performing Rights’, and the last right is referred to as ‘Mechanical Rights’, and are administered on behalf of its members by the IPRS as assigned.

The expression ‘Performing Right’, means and includes the right of performing in public, broadcasting and causing to be transmitted to subscribers to a diffusion service in all parts of the world, by any means and in any manner whatsoever, all musical works or parts thereof and such words and parts thereof (if any) as are associated therewith including (without prejudice to the generality of the expression ‘musical works’) the vocal and instrumental music in cinematograph films, the words and/or music of monologues having musical introduction, and/or accompaniment, and the musical accompaniment of non-musical plays, dramatico-musical works including operas, operettas, Musical plays, revues or pantomines and ballets, video, plays, serials, documenteries, dramas, commenteries etc. accompanied by music and the right of authorising any of the said Acts.

The expression ‘Mechanical Right’, means and includes the right of making recordings of all musical works or parts thereof and such words and parts thereof (if any), and ‘recording’ includes without limitation to the generality of the expression the aggregate of sounds embodied in records, discs, tapes and cartridges of all kinds.

6.Who runs the Company ?
The Company’s policy is controlled by a Governing Council of Directors elected by the members at General Meetings from among their own number. This Council comprises equal number of Music Publishers and Author / Composer.

The Management, appointed by the Governing Council is headed by the Chief Executive Officer, who is assisted by staff members all over the country. The Company’s Head Office is in Mumbai. In addition to the Head office the Company administers its operations from branch offices all over India in Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata.

7.What is an IPRS licence ?
The Company grants blanket Licences for a moderate annual charge which enables the holders thereof to comply with the provisions of the Copyright Act, 1957. These Licenses authorise the public performance, broadcasting, or diffusion by wire of any of the millions of works which the Company controls on its member’s behalf as well as on behalf of the members of its affiliated societies throughout the world.

In certain cases, ‘permits’ are issued for the use of the repertoire or of specific works at one performance or at a short series of performances.

The Company’s Licence is necessary for any public performance of copyright music under its control regardless of the nature of the entertainment or the kind of premises at which the performance takes place and irrespective of whether a charge for admission is made.

8.Who needs an IPRS licence ?
In terms of the Copyright Act, the promoter of a public performance, the owner of the premises at which the performance takes place and performers themselves all have a responsibility to the owner of any copyright material that is used. Generally speaking, the Society does not grant licences to performers but to the responsible proprietors of premises at which music is publicly performed or to the promoters of musical entertainment’s not covered by such licences.

Just as a purchase of a copy of play that is in copyright does not entitle the purchaser to perform the play in public, so also the purchaser of a copy of piece of music or of a commercial recording, does not entitle the purchaser to perform in public the work embodied in the copy or recording. It mearly entitles him to perform the work in his domestic circle, where Performing Rights do not operate.

The Company’s licences cover both ‘live’ performances and performances by mechanical means, e.g. Juke boxes, Radio and Television sets, records players, background music devices, and so on. They are issued for numerous categories of premises, including cinemas, clubs, concert halls, dance hall, bingo halls, hotels, town halls, church halls, public houses, restaurants, shops, factories, universities, ships, aeroplanes, sports stadium and many others.

9.How is the licence charges fixed ?
The royalty charges payable by licensees ( which are normally payable annually in advance) are calculated under a series of carefully devised tariffs which take account of the different circumstances in which music is performed in the various categories of premises and classes of entertainment.
10.How are the royalties distributed ?
As the Company is a non-profit making body, all the royalties it collects are distributed to its members and affiliated societies after deduction only of its administration costs. The net royalties are distributed to the members as far as possible in accordance with the extent to which their particular works have been broadcast or publicly performed. The royalties apportioned to each work are then distributed among the interested members and affiliated societies in accordance with their contracts and with the Company’s Rules.
11.Am I obliged to join IPRS ?
No, there is no obligation on you to do so. You are the owner of your copyright, and in theory you are at liberty to administer it yourself if you so wish. But if you study this brochure you will realize that in practice you will find it quite impossible to do so. That is why the world-wide system of organizations for the collective administration of copyright was devised. It is a system which has stood the test of time, for the first organization for the administration of performing rights in music was founded as long ago as 1851. There are now no fewer than 192 of them all over the world, and their number is growing steadily.
12.What is the Berne Convention ?
This is an international Convention signed at the conclusion of a series of conferences held in Berne, to devise a system for the international protection of works of the Author. Its full title is “The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works”, and the signatory states of this Convention formed themselves into the so-called “Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works”.

The Convention established certain minimum standards of protection, and every signatory state undertook to ensure that its own national copyright laws would conform to those minimum standards.

Since the singing of the Berne Convention in 1886 the technological explosion of our century has brought many new and unforeseen ways of exploiting works of the Author, particularly music – the gramophone, the tape recorder, broadcasting, television, the video recorder, the computer, satellite transmission and others. In order to keep pace with all these technological developments the Berne Convention has been revised at regular intervals, and it will continue to be so revised. This means that the copyright laws of the signatory states must also be regularly revised and brought into line with the latest developments.

13.May I translate someone else’s lyric or set it to music ?
Yes, but only if the author thereof has been dead for more than 60 years. If he is still alive, or if his death occurred less than 60 years ago, you must first obtain permission from him or from whoever owns the copyright in that lyric.

As explained in the answer to Question 2, an author has the exclusive right to make or to authorise anyone else to make such an adaptation. This means that neither you nor anyone else may do so without his permission. Translating a lyric amounts to making an adaptation thereof, and the same applies to setting it to music. In both cases you require the permission of the copyright owner. However, this applies only to lyrics which are still in copyright-in other words, any lyric of which the author is still alive or has been dead for less than 60 years. If the author has been dead for longer than that, his lyric is “in the public domain” and you are at liberty to translate it or set it to music without further ado.

If you wish to translate or set to music a lyric which is still in copyright, and you do not know where to find the copyright owner, IPRS may be able to help you to get his address.