New Delhi: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) has notified on May 30, 2019 the proposed amendments to the Copyright Rules, 2013 in exercise of its powers conferred under Section 78 of the Copyright Act, 1957. The Ministry has sought objections or suggestions from all persons likely to be affected thereby within a period of thirty days.
The major highlight of the Proposed Rules is the amendment to Rules 29 to 31 to include “each mode of broadcast” for the words “radio broadcast or television broadcast”. Rules 29 to 31 deals with Statutory license for broadcasting of literary and musical works and sound recordings.
The proposed amendment seems to be in contradiction of the recent decision of the Bombay High Court in the matter of Tips vsWynk where Justice Kathawala had held that the provisions of Section 31-D of the Act read with Rules 29 to 31 coupled with the legislative history preceding the passage of Copyright Amendment Act, 2012 clearly support that Section 31-D contemplates only television and radio broadcasting and not internet broadcasting. The Bombay High Court had also ruled that the DIPP Office Memorandum of 2016 which clarified that internet broadcasting was included within the scope of Section 31D lacked ‘statutory flavour’ and could not prevail over interpretation which is drawn under the Act and the Rules.
The statutory licensing provisions have been a bone of contention between the broadcasters and the music labels. The challenge to Section 31D by SIMCA had failed before the Madras High Court in 2016 and the petition filed by Lahari Music before the Supreme Court is still pending (read details here). The provision has also been challenged by Eskay Videos before the Calcutta High Court and is also the subject matter of dispute in the Warner vsSpotify matter before the Bombay High Court.
The Proposed Rules if passed are likely to be challenged by the music labels as being ultra vires to the Copyright Act, 1957.