Bombay HC Restricts Hotel From Playing Copyrighted Songs On New Year's Eve Without PPL License

Bombay HC Restricts Hotel From Playing Copyrighted Songs On New Year's Eve Without PPL License

The HC was hearing an application filed by PPL in its original suit against Kaamakazi and others after learning about a New Year’s Eve event through various social media posts

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, December 25, 2023, 08:29 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

The Bombay High Court has restrained Kaamakazi Solution Pvt and others from playing from a repertoire of over 400 Music labels and over 45 lakh international and domestic songs at a New Year’s Eve 2024 event in a hotel in Mumbai, without obtaining a licence from the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL). 

While restraining Kaamakazi, Justice Riyaz Chagla observed that if such an interim relief was not granted then PPL “will suffer grave irreparable loss”. 

“A prima facie case made out of the likelihood of infringement of the Plaintiff copyrighted works. This Court is of the prima facie view that the balance of convenience is in favour of the Plaintiff and the Defendants have chosen not to make an appearance despite service. Hence, the ad-interim relief is being granted,” observed the high court.

The HC was hearing an application filed by PPL in its original suit against Kaamakazi and others after learning about a New Year’s Eve event through various social media posts. 

PPL's legal counsel raises alarm

According to PPL, it came across advertisements on social media publicing New Year Eve 2024 event to be held at Hotel Ramada, which belongs to Deep Distilleries and Breweries Pvt. Ltd. PPL’s counsel Sharan Jagtiani contended that the defendants would be playing from a repertoire of their copyrighted songs without obtaining a licence from it as required under the Copyright Act. Jagtiani produced a list of around 400 music labels with more than 45 lakh international and domestic sound recordings whose copyrights it held and sought an urgent stay on the defendants playing their copyrighted songs.

Jagtiani also pointed out that the defendants had earlier obtained a licence from PPL to play the songs. 

After going through the list, justice Chagla expressed apprehension that if relief was not granted then the defendants “will communicate to the public the Plaintiff’s (PPL) sound recordings without obtaining a licence” and “thus infringe the Plaintiff’s copyrighted works”. 

Despite PPL serving a notice, no one appeared for the Kaamakazi. 

The HC noted that a larger issue of applicability of section 30 of the Copyright Act, which deals with licences by owners of copyright, is currently under determination before the high court.

The judge also took note of the fact that earlier the high court had “from time to time granted ad-interim orders in favour of the Plaintiff in similar suits”.  

Pending hearing in the suit, the HC has restrained the defendant, its directors, partners representatives from playing the recordings of songs assigned to PPL.

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