Copyright Society Registration Service
We at Singhwal assist our clients in forming Copyright Societies and also take care of the legal formalities required for the Society Registration. The Copyright Societies are legal entities who act as a guardian for the work in which copyright subsist. It safeguards the interest of the owner of the copyrighted work and assures the creators/ authors a commercial management of their work.
Copyright is a specie of intellectual property rights which ensures legal protection of creative works including literature, art, music and cinema. Software being considered literary works are also covered under the copyright law. Creators dedicate time money and effort into bringing their creations into existence with the intention of educating or entertaining people. This process required creative endeavour and painstaking effort. The purpose behind the Copyright law is to ensure that the creators get recognition for their creation and also financially benefit from their work. This is achieved by excluding all others from using the copyrighted work for any commercial purposes unless expressly authorised by the copyright owner subject to such terms as may have been agreed upon between parties themselves.
Most artists and creators are artistic individuals who sometimes work in groups to provide works of art, music and literature. The management, monetisation of copyrights is a complicated and time consuming legal process. The creators and artists would have to dedicate an enormous time and effort into managing and monetising their copyright which would severely limit and effect their ability to focus on their creative endeavours. Bearing in mind this complication, there was a need felt to create a body and mechanism within the legal framework which would act on behalf of the creators collectively and work towards monetising and enforcing the copyrights which are registered with it. Towards this end, the Copyright law in India provides for a society of copyright owners registered under the Copyright Act to overcome the difficulties of enforcing and monetising copyrighted work and to take action against infringers and prevent future infringement.
As per the provisions of the law Creators and owners of copyrighted works are to form a copyright society in compliance with the provisions of the law. Such a Copyright society would be collectively responsible for the monetisation of the copyrights of each of its individual members. The Copyright Societies can act on behalf of its members and represent their interests in the industry. The Copyright societies have formal management structures which enable a more systematic approach to monetisation of copyrights.
Copyright societies in India are authorised to enter into agreements with other copyright societies in the international community so as to be able to monetise internationally. Such an arrangement between Copyright societies throughout the world are subject to reciprocity provisions in their domestic Copyright laws. This mechanism allows a copyright owner to become a part of a Copyright Society in India and through the combined effort Copyright Societies globally, they can enjoy the fruit of their labour with little to no hassle whilst still being free to engage creatively in their fields of choosing.
New Copyright owners free to approach existing Copyright Societies and enter into an agreement to authorise the Society to act on their behalf. The Society manages a large pool of copyrights in various works including music, cinematographic films, literary work etc. Being the administrator of its pool of copyrights, it is approached by people who are willing to licence the works. Examples include radio stations, malls and restaurants who routinely enter into licence agreements to access music to be played to the public over radio waves or in public places.
Therefore one of the main functions of the Copyright society is to create a mechanism through which licenses may be conveniently granted in a copyrighted work for reproduction, performance or communication to public, collect monies from the licensees in the form of royalty and distribute the royalties in proportion to the actual use of their work and as per the Copyright Act and the bylaws of the Copyright Societies. The Copyright societies are authorised to make certain deductions before distributing the monies collected in the form of royalties to cover the administrative expenses incurred in running the societies. The administrative expenses is capped at 15% of the amount collected by the society. The conditions for application for Copyright Society registration is whether association of persons, incorporated or not, should consist of minimum seven owners who come together for carrying business of issuing or granting licenses in respect of any class of works which is copyrighted or in respect of any other work conferred by the Act.
Registration of Copyright Societies
A copyright society is formed by authors and other copyright owners. Generally, a single society is registered in respect of one class of work. A copyright society can issue or grant licences in respect of any work or in respect of any other right in which copyright subsists under the Indian Copyright law. Further as per the law, the task of issuing license in respect of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works incorporated in a cinematograph films or sound recordings is to be carried out only through a copyright society duly registered under this Act.
The Copyright society can be said to be a collective licensing mechanism for managing the rights and monetisation thereof. Copyright societies are registered (subject to such conditions of the government as may be) for a period of five years and registration may be renewed before the end of every five years from time to time. A request in the prescribed form is to be made to the Central Government for the renewal of registration. The Government after considering the report of Registrar of Copyrights on the working of the copyright society may renew the registration of the copyright society, subject to the continued collective control of the copyright society by the owners of copyright or of the license holders who have secured from the owners the right to receive royalty.
The procedure for formation of copyright society is done through an application to the Registrar of Copyright and each application has to meet the basic requirements. If any society registration is detrimental to the interest of the owners of rights then the Central Government has the authority to cancel the registration. For the purpose of business, there should not be more than one society that is registered. The association of owners submit the application to the Central Government for permission to carry business and to be registered as a society.
The applicant only commits to only deal in copyright business and other activities ancillary thereto. Once the application is made to the Central Government then within 60 days the application is settled either by registering the society or rejecting due to some discrepancies but only after giving a hearing opportunity to the applicant.
There are several grounds on which the application can be rejected, some of which are if the applicant is not competent professionally to carry out the business, or if sufficient funds are not there, or if there is already registered another copyright society which administers the same class of work, or the applicants are not the actual bona-fide owners of the work, or if they have submitted an incomplete application.
Once the Copyright Society is registered the Registrar of Copyright will issue a Certificate of Registration. From the date of its registration as mentioned in the Certificate of Registration, the Copyright Society will be authorized to commence and carry on the permitted copyright business in the name by which it has been registered.
Once registered and functional, Copyright Societies must hold Annual General Meetings where the audited accounts of receipts and expenses is to be laid before all the members of the society. This is to ensure that the society functions within the confined of the law with transparency and accountability. The Copyright Societies are required not to act in a manner which discriminates between its members both in relating to its operations in India as well as its operations through agreements with foreign Copyright Societies. The Society must form and maintain a Tariff Scheme and the Distribution Scheme or any other scheme which governs the members of the society. Budget allocation and plans for implementation are to be prepared and placed before the members by the governing body of the Copyright board.
The society is also required to maintain and make public information related to any agreement entered into with foreign copyright societies and the details of the same. In addition to sharing the aforementioned information with the members of the copyright society during and after annual general meetings, the management of the Copyright society is also required to file documents with the Registrar of Copyrights.
Copyright Societies are required to maintain details of the various members of the society, their personal details including names, address and contact information, in addition to the agreements which the members entered into with the Copyright society in a registered called the “Register of Agreements”. Details of the actual licences granted against each of the copyright registered with the society are also required to be maintained. These details include the royalties collected from the licencing of each of the copyright registered with the Copyright Society to be maintained in a registered called the “Register of Royalties”. The royalties are to be disbursed at least once in a quarter. The amounts disbursed after accounting for deductions on account of expensed and maintenance of the Copyright society are to be maintained in a register called as the “Disbursement Register”.
All members are required to be given notice for General Body meeting before twenty‐one days of the meeting and the notice should specify the agenda, time, date and address of the venue of the meeting. These details are also to be hosted on the Copyright Societies webite. When it comes to the management of the Copyright Society, every member of the society has an equal voting right in the General Body meeting. In each General Body a minimum of one third of the total members other than the Chairman with equal number of authors and other owners are required to be present. The law also mandates that the Registrar of Copyrights be invited as an observer to all General Body meetings. The Registrar may either attend such meetings himself or may authorised a representative to remain present on his behalf.
The Copyright Rules mandate every Copyright society to form and display their Tariff Scheme and also provide any person who is aggrieved by the tariff scheme to approach the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) and the dispute is to be settled by the IPAB. All orders of IPAB in this regard are binding on the Copyright Society.
Following are some of the registered copyright societies in India.
For Literary works associated with Musical Works:
The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS), 208, Golden Chambers, 2nd Floor, New Andheri Link Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai‐ 400 058 (Web‐site: http://www.iprs.org/ )
For Reprographic (photo copying) works:
Indian Reprographic Rights Organization (IRRO), 18/1‐C, Institutional Area, Near JNU Campus, New Delhi – 110067, (We‐site: http://www.irro.in/ )
For Performers (Singers) Rights:
Indian Singers Rights Association (ISRA)‐ Registered on 14th June, 2013 – Registered Office ‐ 2208, Lantana, Nahar Amrit Shakti.
Our Copyright Attorney’s at Singhwal are well versed with the Copyright Society Registration process happy to assist you to form copyright society for better protection of your interest in the work in which copyright.