3 Copyright Societies restrained from issuing licences for breach of Section 33 of Copyright Act, 1957

Delhi High Court: In a matter where the petitioner sought writ of mandamus directing the respondents to hold an enquiry against the supposed Copyright Societies for having violated the provisions of Section 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957, the Single Bench of Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. held that since the respondents had already initiated an inquiry and were taking action vis-a-vis the Societies, not registered in terms of Section 33 of the Act; till the next date of hearing, the said copyright societies were restrained from acting in contravention of Section 33 of the Act and the respondents were directed to take action against them in accordance with law for breach of provisions of Section 33.

As per Section 33 of the Act, no person or association of persons can, after coming into force of the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1994 (which was notified on 10.05.1995), inter alia commence or, carry on the business of issuing or granting licences in respect of any work in which copyright subsists. As per the petitioner, the Copyright Societies’ registration lapsed on 31.06.2013 and, thereafter, they were not granted fresh registration and, as per the information of the petitioner, one of them was never registered as Copyright Society. It was further contended that the said respondents continued to function in violation of the Section 33 of the Act and were issuing and granting licences in respect of copyrighted work of which they did not hold the copyright.

The respondents submitted that appropriate inquiry had already been initiated and interim steps had been taken inasmuch as, a public notice had been displayed on the website of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, informing public that the societies were no longer registered as Copyright Societies. The matter is scheduled to be next heard on 24.04.2017. [M/S Event And Entertainment Management Association (EEMA) v. Union Of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 6532, order dated 23.12.2016]

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