A Simple Guide to Copyright (part 4)

…continued from part 3

Relevance of copyright in the monetisation of your works

For monitoring both the sound recordings and the underlying works [i.e. musical works, and literary works], you need a copyright society to monitor your monetisation opportunities. A copyright society is a registered, collective administration society under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957. Such a society is formed by authors and other owners. A copyright society can issue or grant licences in respect of any work for which it is authorised to by the authors or owners of the work.

As authors and other owners of copyright in works cannot keep track of all the uses of their work, the copyright society is able to keep a vigil and undertake due diligence over the uses and collect royalties from the users of those works.

To repeat, the function of a copyright society is to administer the business of issuing and granting licenses with respect to a copyright held by the authors and other owners of the work. A copyright society also undertakes collection of royalties and its disbursement.


Copyright Societies

Presently there are three registered copyright societies in India listed on the copyright.gov.in website, namely –

I. For literary works and musical works: The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) here >>

II. For Reprographic (photo copying) works: Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO) here >>

III. For Performer (Singers’) Rights: Indian Singers Rights Association (ISRA) here >>

There also exist the below relevant bodies:

IV. As a songwriter, you have the right to collect publishing royalties for the usage of your song. One such revenue stream is performance royalties, owed to the songwriter or to the publisher whenever a song is:

  • played on radio.
  • performed in public, like at a live event.
  • played in a restaurant, bar, hotel, etc.

Therefore, as a songwriter, you need to register with Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) here >>

V. For licensing of content to telcos and to OTT/digital platforms, including YouTube: Phonographic Digital Limited (PDL) here >>



While one hopes that this article series has provided you a valuable introduction on how to protect your creative interests as an author/creator/owner, and how best to monetise/monitor your [potential] income, there are exceptions to the rules; for instance, a license is not required from a copyright society or from the authors or owners of the copyright if the work is being utilised for a bonafide religious ceremony, including a marriage function, as the same is covered under the exceptions to infringement of copyright under Section 52 (1)(za) of the Copyright Act, 1947.

(with relevant inputs obtained from copyright.gov.in)

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