CISAC welcomes India Court decision on digital royalties


Paris, 9 May 2019 - CISAC today welcomes the ruling by the Bombay High Court at Mumbai which confirmed that music streaming and digital downloads are not covered under the broadcasting statutory licensing provision.  

The Court’s decision is an important clarification which will improve the digital environment for rightsholders and creators from India and throughout the world.

In a ruling against online music streaming service Wynk, the Court required streaming services to obtain a licence and ruled that they are not able to take advantage of the statutory licence for TV and radio broadcasters.

This issue has been flagged by CISAC and other international right holder organisations as a priority. In March, CISAC argued against extending the broadcasting statutory licence to digital uses in a submission to the Indian Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).  The submission highlighted the potential breach of international treaties if this interpretation of the law had moved forward. 

The broadcasting statutory licence (section 31 D of the Copyright Act) had been introduced in 2012 to allow TV and radio stations to benefit from a statutory licence for their broadcasts. However, it was misinterpreted in a DPIIT Memorandum and misused by digital music service providers to avoid fair licensing arrangements with rightsholders. The Court ruling brings the confusion to an end and confirms that digital services are not able to claim the statutory licence protection in order to underpay creators.