In a momentous development, the Indian government has taken a major stride toward addressing a long-standing concern raised by the hospitality industry.
A recent directive has been issued, granting permission for the playing of Bollywood music at wedding ceremonies and related festivities without the risk of facing copyright infringement action.
Union Government Grants Permission To Play Bollywood Music Freely
The decision comes as a great relief to event planners, hotels, and individuals organizing celebrations who have often found themselves entangled in unnecessary legal disputes and financial burdens due to demands for license fees by copyright firms.
The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has taken proactive measures to clarify the matter through a public notice on July 24th, in response to numerous complaints from the public and stakeholders.
Despite the Copyright Act of 1957 already permitting the playing of copyrighted music at such functions, copyright societies continued to insist on royalties for the songs, leading to conflicts and complexities for those involved.
The Copyright Act, under Section 52 (1) (za), provides an exemption that allows the playing or communication of literary, dramatic, or musical works during genuine religious or official ceremonies organized by the central/state government or any local authority, without infringing copyright.
This exemption extends to marriage processions and social festivities associated with weddings, as they are considered religious ceremonies under this clause. In light of this provision, the DPIIT has explicitly instructed copyright societies to refrain from taking any actions that would contravene Section 52 (1) (za), warning them of potential legal consequences.
Furthermore, the general public has also been cautioned against complying with any unwarranted demands from individuals, organizations, or copyright societies that go against this section.
Decision Welcomed By Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry has warmly welcomed this directive, with Amit Sharma, president of the Poona Hoteliers Association and GM of Amanora The Fern, expressing satisfaction with the government’s clear stance. Obtaining permissions from copyright societies is no longer necessary for playing music during weddings and related festivities, bringing significant relief to both the industry and the general public.
Sharma highlighted instances where certain association members had faced unjust defamatory lawsuits in cities like Kolkata and Guwahati. However, with the government’s decision in effect, the hope is that such harassments will come to an end, allowing people to enjoy weddings and festivities without any hindrances.