Malayala Manorama moves SC against Mumbai-based IPRS

Malayala Manorama moves SC against Mumbai-based IPRS

New Delhi: Media firm Malayala Manorama Co Ltd has moved the Supreme Court seeking to restrain Mumbai-based Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd from claiming any royalty or licence fee on broadcast of any sound recordings on its four FM radio stations in Kerala.

It has also sought the transfer of a petition pending before the Delhi High Court to a civil court in Kerala for a joint trial. The district court is also hearing a similar suit between the same parties.

A bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat had earlier issued notice to IPRS.

According to Malayala Manorama Co Ltd (MMCL), Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd (IPRS) had been claiming to be the exclusive owner of copyright on public performing rights in respect of all literary and musical works in India.

The suit filed in the Delhi High Court is to harass and cause loss and inconvenience to the petitioner, whose activities are in Kerala. The filing of the suit in Delhi ... is with the “oblique motive of prejudicing a fair trial" and a pressure tactic, the petition stated.

It further said that IPRS was in “the habit of filing false suits in Delhi claiming royalty from companies and persons in other states as a means of harassment and thereby coercing them to enter into agreements and settlements".

According to MMCL, IPRS had in 2007 threatened to initiate legal proceedings for infringement of its (IPRS’) copyright on playing Malayalam film and folk music on its (MMCL’s) four FM radio stations in Cochin, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur in Kerala under the name Radio Mango Broadcasts.

The district court, on MMCL’s plea, in November 2007 had restrained IPRS from interfering with or obstructing the broadcast of such recordings for non-payment of royalty or licence fee.

However, IPRS had filed a counter suit in the High Court seeking to restrain MMCL from broadcasting any public, literary and musical work without obtaining a licence. It had also sought more than 20 lakh as damages.