As mentioned in Part I of the protection of performer’s rights under Copyright Act, it is understood how the Copyright Act protects the performers. For a better understanding performer’s protection is also mentioned under various treaties. The WIPO Copyright treaty specifies that copyright only protects the expression and not idea, procedure and method. The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) grants performers economic rights in their performances fixed in phonograms. The rights are right to reproduction, right of distribution, right of rental and right of making available.
When it comes to cinematography films the performer signs a contract that restricts him to claim performer’s rights. When the performer waives his rights, the producer becomes the assignee of copyright. In the case of Fortune Films v/s Dev Anand it was held that the film including soundtrack are protected under the Copyright Act but not the artist performing in the film is entitled to protection for acting. In Neha Bhasin v/s Anand and Anr the court observed that the performance recorded whether sound or visual reproduced without the permission of the performer is infringing the right of the performer.
The Indian Performing Right society (IPRS) is a body that was established for providing licenses to the users of music. They are also responsible for collecting royalties from them, for and on behalf of its Members. The Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music distribute this Royalty amongst them after deducting its administrative costs. Section 33 and Section 36 deal with IPRS which limited the scope of granting licenses. In Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Association of India v. UOI held that the working of the copyright societies is to be monitored and guided by the Copyright Act.
With the rapid advancement of the technology and the growth of the entertainment business, it is imminent to have legal protection. The inadequacy of protection of performer’s right is a threat for the genuine creator.
It is also important to make policies or schemes that give performers a strong performer’s protection regime. The amendment of 2012 has inserted Section 31-A that provides Compulsory license in unpublished Indian works. This section provides that compulsory license can be withheld from public and the license can be granted to such person as per the decision of the board.
Section 31-C provides statutory licensing. When any person desires to make a cover version of a sound recording shall give a prior notice to the owner in a prescribed manner. He shall also deliver the copies of the cover with the version to be sold and royalty to be paid as fixed by the board. The amendment of 2012 will help in framing the Copyright Act to an improved Copyright legislation.
Intellectual property is flourishing, hence increases the importance of having stronger laws. The treaties and Copyright Act, 1957 will be of major help to provide necessary measures in controlling unlawful activities.