No music license, An offence

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Published on October 26, 2021 by

No music licensing in Bengaluru gyms might lead them to copyright infringement.

Bengaluru: Many gyms in Bengaluru do not have a Public Performance License required to play loud music in their premises. If an unauthorized playing of pre-recorded music is found, it can amount to a non-bailable and cognizable offence for the owner. However, owners of these gyms do not really care about not having a PPL. In many cases, they don’t know what a PPL is.

Ramesh, owner of Green Fitness gym, Bengaluru said, “No. We don’t have a PPL. We take only Association Membership and Panchayati Membership with commercial shop membership. I only ask Panchayat and police station permission to open gym. It’s been four years to this gym. I don’t know what PPL is.”

Under the Copyright Act of 1957, any commercial or non-commercial establishment requires a Public Performance License in order to play pre-recorded music in public spaces. This license is issued by Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) India. Also, Indian Performing Rights Society, a representative body of artists, music composers & owners, music publishers and lyricists is responsible for licensing establishments that wish to play pre-recorded music.

Wassimuddin, State Head Handling Karnataka for Phonographic Performance Ltd said, “We have around 418 labels in PPL. We issue license for usage of public performance. Wherever the music is being played, we go and check whether there is a PPL or not. Approx close to 100-150 gyms have this license and we are licensing day to day. Till now we have taken no such legal action. Gym license fee is something we charge around between 5,000-30,000/-.”

There are different categories under which commercial establishments can apply for a PPL. Many people still don’t know about PPLs and are unaware of the consequences for not having one. Answering to the question of legal actions taken against gyms with no PPL, Wasimuddin said, “We just take them to the court. The court decides whether to give a penalty, jail time for two years or both.”

Gimmi Joseph K who works as an IP Attorney in IPRinn Associates and deals with PPL cases said, “Somebody is singing and composing, that is their creativity. That is their right. That is performance right. Anybody want to reproduce it somewhere should have a license. You can apply to PPL and can get one. Without permission if anyone is playing its pure infringement as per the Copyright Act. We should educate the people.”

Till now, no case has been filed against any gym without a PPL in Bengaluru. The Phonographic Performance Ltd. is making rounds in the city to keep a check and advise them to get a PPL. Wasimuddin added, “We do campaigns and have team members spread in the city that go to gyms and create awareness about music licensing among public.”

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