top of page
  • Writer's pictureRitik Agrawal


Updated: Jan 16

Author: Harsha Parakh

College: Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University (Disha Law College)

A great number of legal protective measures are provided to artistic works, in recent times, as well as a greater significance placed on these works. This has been done through the issuance of various copyrights in order to safeguard the musical compositions and written works of a number of various music artists.

Short description

The laws governing copyright, particularly those that pertain to musical works, can be difficult to understand. But despite this, the two stated fundamental liberties below are still universal:

  • The first right safeguards the song's creation, including its melody, words, harmonic progressions, and cadence. A "musical work" is the legal term for this type of intellectual property. Sometimes this is called the "song" or the "musical composition".

  • The second right which is very basic pertains to the recording of music compositions physically; which is called “sound recording" as per laws of copyrights. In some contexts, this may also be referred to as the "master" or the "recording."


When creative authors, performers, and artists worked in the past, they did so mainly because of their image and notoriety than for the objective of earning a living from their endeavors, so their works were written, performed, or created to safeguard their reputation. The question of copyright was never brought up at any stage in the process because it required such a significant investment of both time and money. And eventually, as the procedure progressed step by step, the time came when the rights of the authors needed to be protected, while at the same time it was necessary for information to be disseminated to the general public. The need for a system that could meet both of these requirements simultaneously ultimately resulted in the creation of laws that safeguard intellectual property rights.

People have always had a strong emotional connection to music, even before the beginning of existence. At every point, from live performances to downloading it, people come up with innovative ways for others to experience music. These methods range from live performances to downloading it. Nevertheless, there are particular behaviours that we need to be aware of, such as the differentiation between legal and illicit types of authorization. This is one of the things that we need to keep in mind. In spite of the widespread perception that listening to music in any way you like is completely within the law, it's conceivable that this isn't always the case. As a result, we have a responsibility to be conscious of the events that impact those activities.


Copyright is a combination of two terms: copy and right. Alternatively, one could say that copyright pertains to the legal right proprietor who is the actual owner and possesses the intellectual property possessions. Copyright in the music industry grants producers the sole and exclusive right to legal possession of instrumental compositions and recordings. This property grants the owner of the copyright the sole right to disseminate and duplicate the work, in addition to the license right that enables the owner of the copyright to receive compensation. The two kinds of copyright of music work are the master right and composition right. When a piece of music or prose is captured, written down, or otherwise memorialized in some other way in a written form, the copyright to that creation is automatically produced.


A media composition that has been modified from its initial state by adding to, removing, or changing parts of the music or melody is known as a remix. This can be explained as a media composition that has been reworked. In this day and age of extraordinary versions, the music industry is suffering from a lack of originality. This is due to the fact that many individuals are of the view that any unapproved excerpt drawn from a previously released work constitutes copyright infringement. In addition, the remake has provided a substantial contribution to society by way of entertaining content, and it has consequently developed into an important component of user-generated content. (UGC).

The number of different musicians covering songs has been steadily increasing over the past few years. This trend is expected to continue. Because of this, there has been a great deal of conversation and disagreement about the current structure of copyright legislation that is in place. The need to strike a balance between the imperatives of shielding artists from a variety of harmful activities, such as audio piracy, while at the same time encouraging and enabling up-and-coming musical talents to draw inspiration from established musical works and maintaining an equilibrium or balance between the two.


It is extremely unusual to hold a private celebration (such as a wedding or an engagement) in India that does not include boisterous music and performance. Thus, according to the "Copyright Act 1957," it has always been deemed an infringement of the copyright of the work of the original owner to perform pre-recorded sound recordings at the time of these events via any platform, may come out to be surprise for many.

According to "Section 51 (a) I of the Copyright Act, 1957 : an act committed by a person who does not have a license granted by the owner of the copyright or the otherwise the Registrar of Copyrights or, for that matter, if the act committed by the said person is in any way in contravention of the conditions of a license that has been granted by a competent authority under this Act, then the act committed by the said person will be considered an infringement of the owner." When during parties, restaurants, or gatherings for business reasons, songs recorded previously or music played , the interested parties need to acquire a license at a certain tariff from the "Indian Performing Rights Society Ltd. (IPRS)," which holds the sole power over rights related to public performance and radio transmission rights.


Infringement will be presumed to have occurred in accordance with Section 51 of the Act whenever there is a violation of the right that has been conferred upon the proprietor of the copyright. However, it will not be considered an infringement in the following scenarios:

  • A person replicates an instrumental work, a creative work, or other work by providing his previous permission and paying a down payment to the proprietor of the original work.

  • It is not appropriate to advertise the new work using titles or packaging that could lead the general public to believe that a different creator is responsible for creating the work.

  • It is recommended that the new work not be produced until the end of the second year when the actual work came into existence.

  • The proprietor ought to be granted the right to review any books or publications that make relation to the new work; these should be subject to close scrutiny.

  • In light of the information presented above, it is clear that obtaining permission from the original proprietor of the musical composition is of the utmost importance, and that the remake cannot be produced until the end of the second year subsequent the end of the year when the original song was composed.

This provision, in its most basic form, serves as a protection by preventing proprietors from incurring monetary losses, in addition to a number of other potential consequences. For instance, this can occur when their music is unlawfully performed or transmitted without their previous, express authorization before the event in question takes place. Recent clarifications made by "The Copyright Registry on the 27th of August, 2019" have however loosened some of these protections, which have been in place for quite some time. It was stated that the Act does not provide unconditional rights to the proprietor of a musical composition which refers to certain essential exclusions in situations where the infringement is obviously harmless and unintentional. This was the main point of the argument.


If the owner of the copyright brings a lawsuit against you, the amount you have to pay them could be enormous, regardless of whether you made the remake as a personal mash-up for your collection or were preparing to perform your first act at the club. When it comes to legal considerations, creating a remake is a much more complex affair than simply using a portion of one of your tracks. In order to record a work that is an adaptation of another, you will need to obtain permission from the original creator. In particular you will need permission from the artist or label that owns the master recording as well as the individual or business that owns the publication rights to the music.

The recent intensification of public concern regarding the recording and performance of music at private gatherings has the potential to be utilised in a constructive manner. To put it another way, prior to the passage of any sweeping legislation, it is possible to discuss the issues at hand with the various parties involved and arrive at a compromise by means of a public discourse that is both moderated and maintained over time. Given the steadily growing number of content producers in our country, particularly in more recent times, it is imperative that the problem of derivative songs on YouTube be resolved as soon as possible. In addition, measures need to be taken to comprehend the character of certain sections of copyright law, which are confusing or not very effective in practise. This is something that needs to be done in order to avoid legal issues. This has the potential to ensure that we have copyright laws that are more efficient and applicable to real-world situations, which will guarantee a better future for our community as a whole.

20 views0 comments


bottom of page