Stay order on warrant against Radio City’s Purohit

MUMBAI: The case between the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and Radio City has taken a new turn. Following a criminal complaint filed by IPRS in October 2008, the Metropolitan Magistrate of Hyderabad on 6 February, 2009 issued a non-bailable warrant against Radio City CEO Apurva Purohit for infringement of the Copyright Act, 1957.

However, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has given respite to Radio City. An official Radio City statement said, "The Andhra Pradesh High Court has already issued a stay order against these entire proceedings initiated by IPRS on 29 January, 2009. Additionally, there is also a civil case in the Mumbai High Court, which Radio City has filed against IPRS, where Radio City is challenging IPRS’s locus stand to collect royalty and the matter is sub-judice."

IPRS said that Purohit, under her authority, has directed her officers and executives of Radio City to communicate the musical and literary work to the public without obtaining the valid license from IPRS and the station has been incessantly playing the music and literary work of the members of the IPRS, which in turn is a blatant infringement of copyrights as per the Copyright Act.

The High Court has directed the authorities to temporarily stay Purohit’s arrest till 26 February, 2009 as an enquiry may be conducted and also to give notice to the complainant.

IPRS filed a criminal complaint before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court at Hyderabad against Music Broadcast, its directors and CEO Apurva Purohit for infringing the copyright of its members and for not obtaining the mandatory license under Copyright Right Act, 1957 before airing film songs on the station. The IPRS has been contending that Radio City has been airing the film songs without obtaining the valid license from IPRS.

IPRS issued the non-bailable warrant when Purohit did not attend two court hearings and instead sent her counsel. Purohit’s counsel requested for dispense of her personal attendance.

The on going fracas between the authors and the radio stations recalls the statement delivered by Justice Krishna Iyer that ‘the creative intelligence of man is displayed in multiform ways of aesthetic expression but it often happens that economic system so operate that the price-less divinity, which we call artistic or literally creativity in man is exploited and maestros whose works are invaluable are victims of piffling payments.’

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