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What Are The Powers Of Copyright Society?

Now get to know in detail about the copyright societies and their roles in India. Know more in detail about from experts about the crux of the society and their role


A copyright represents a form of intellectual property conferring exclusive and legally protected rights upon the originator or another designated owner. These rights encompass the authority to reproduce, distribute, modify, showcase, and execute an original work, typically for a finite duration. The creative output eligible for copyright protection spans literary, artistic, educational, or musical domains. Its primary purpose is safeguarding the unique manifestation of an idea within a creative work, excluding protection for the idea. 

What is a Copyright Society?

The Copyright Society functions as a legal entity dedicated to safeguarding the interests of copyright owners in their respective products. It provides a license of copyright in original work for re-production, issuing copies of the work, and locating infringement of the same. 

Its role involves assuring creative authors regarding the commercial management of their works. As a registered collective administration society, the Copyright Society is established to manage and protect copyrights. This organization or society is the Copyright Public Performance Society. The copyright society was started to overcome the difficulties of the owners of the creative work by preventing infringement, tracking the uses of their work by others, etc. Now that we know what a copyright society is, let us learn about the powers of the copyright society.

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Functions of Copyright Societies

The Copyright Society’s primary responsibilities include providing licenses, collecting fees, and distributing those proceeds to the relevant authors. Following the deduction of a fee equal to no more than 15% of the total amount received, the society would collect fees by the tariff structure and distribute the proceeds to the writers.

The management of copyright by copyright societies is covered under Section 34 of the Copyright Act of 1957. According to this clause, copyright societies are free to accept writers’ and other rights holders’ exclusive authorization to manage any work through the granting of licenses, the collection of license fees, or both. Additionally, it states that the right to revoke such authorization may be exercised by an author or other right holder without impairing the Copyright Society’s rights under any contract.

Copyright organizations permit the delegation of the power to collect royalties from users in other countries through agreements with foreign societies. As long as the nation in question refrains from discriminating against Indian writers about licensing agreements or royalty splits with other writers.

Did you know that in the fiscal year 2022, India witnessed the registration of more than 20,000 copyrights? The Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and TradeMarks (CGPDTM), operating under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, is responsible for overseeing the filings of diverse Intellectual Property rights in the country.

Indian Copyright society

The copyright society in India is governed under the Copyright Act of 1957. Society is formed by authors and other owners. The copyright society is dedicated to literary works and there are other copyright societies dedicated to other works. Society is registered for 5 years. Further, it can be renewed every five years through a request that is accepted by the central government. Some of the copyright societies registered in India are the Copyright Society for Cinematograph Films, the Indian Performing Arts Society (Musical Works), Phonographic Performance Limited (Sound Recording), and Literary Work (the Indian Reprographic Right Organization). The registration of the copyright society is done by the central government based on observations like the interest of the public and the people who are seeking licenses for their creative works. Further, the government also observes the benefit of the owners and authors and the competence of the applicants. 

Evolution of Copyright Society

Over time, the idea of copyright societies has changed. Here is a detailed evolution of Copyright society in India: 

  • Due to the Copyright (Amendment) Act of 1944, Sections 33 to 36 of the statute—which at the time dealt with performance rights societies—were revised
  • These societies were in charge of authorizing performances of copyrighted works in India, particularly in the domains of music, drama, and literature
  • The 1994 passage of the Copyright (Amendment) Act changed the term ‘performing rights societies to ‘copyright societies’
  • With the passage of this amendment, these societies’ purview was extended beyond music, theatre, and literature to include a wider range of copyrighted works
  • Copyright societies now have a larger role in approving licenses for the use of a greater variety of creative works.

Types of Copyright Societies in India

Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO)

Since its founding in 2000, the Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO) copyright society has prioritized authors and publishers. This society’s job is to register writers’ and publishers’ literary works and provide licenses for them. This group collects user royalties and then distributes them to publishers and authors. The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) and IRRO are members of an international alliance. It is the only society in India dedicated to copyright of its kind.

Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS)

In 1969, the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) was founded. The copyright licensing and registration of members in the music industry is the focus of this society. The society’s membership is mostly made up of authors—a collective term for publishers, composers, and songwriters. The society safeguards its members’ copyrights and receives revenues on their behalf. Following this, the organization pays the remaining funds to the affected members after deducting a certain amount from the royalty as an administrative fee.

Phonographic Performance Limited India (PPL India)

The 1941 founding of the Phonographic Performance Limited India (PPL India) society was centered on song public performances and radio broadcasts. Any song, regardless of its language or level of popularity, can be national or international. This society’s main purpose is to grant permits to anyone who wishes to publicly sing any music at social gatherings, events, shows, or other venues like restaurants, shopping centers, discos, etc.

Powers of the Copyright Society 

According to section 34 of the copyright act, the powers of the copyright society are to accept the authority of any copyrighted work from the owner or author of the creative work. By accepting the same the copyright society have the authority to issue licenses and further collect the Mechanical license fee etc. also, the owner of the rights can withdraw the search authorization by not going against the copyright society based on any contract. Apart from these, there are other powers given to society.

Further, the section also states that the copyright society is vested with certain powers:

The Copyright Society Can Issue the License to the Owner of the Creative Work

As per section 34 of the copyright act 1957, the copyright society has the power to issue the license to the rightful owner of the creative work as per section 30 (which states that in case of the death of the rightful owner of the creative work, the legal representatives of the owner gets the license of the work). Once the content of the work is unobjectionable in the eyes of law and the copyright society, then they can issue the license to the owner of the creative work without any objections.

They Can Collect the Fees for the Same

The copyright society has also the authority to collect the fees for issuing the license. Further, the rightful owner is obliged to pay the fees to the society without fail. No third party is allowed to collect the fees on behalf of the copyright society. With the approval of the owner, the Copyright Society of India has the right to collect the license fee from the same. 

Under Section 35 of the Copyright Act, the Copyright Society Also Has the Right to Inform the Author About the Entire Procedure and Approval for Collecting Fees.

Section 35 of the Copyright Act gives the power to the copyright society to inform the author about the entire process and give them full-fledged information about the same. Further, to collect the license fees, the copyright society has to get the approval of the author for the same. Also, the utilization of the number of fees collected by the society is to be followed. 

The Copyright Society Has the Power to Frame a Scheme to Define the Remuneration of Copyright Owners Under Section 34(2) of the Act.

The copyright society of any country has the power to frame a scheme to determine the remuneration of the copyright owners as per section 34(2) of the Copyright Act of 1957. Section 34(2) of the copyright, act states that the copyright society has the right to agree with any foreign society or organization without any discrimination in terms of license or distribution of fees and others with the Indian societies. 

Amendment of 2012

The Copyright Act has been amended many times. However, the most important amendment is that of 2012. Because this amendment created conformity of international standards that are established by the WIPO copyright treaty. Apart from these, the amendment is important for the copyright societies. With this amendment, the authors were given more importance, unlike the previous amendments where the author was not given much importance.

The inclusion of the authors in the copyright society ensured that the copyright society’s governing body consists of an equal number of authors and owners with no discrimination. Further, the amendment consists of provisions for the Tarif schemes and the provisions for the payment of remuneration by the society. 


Overall, we can conclude that the powers of copyright society of India and in general is one of the most important organizations that helps in protecting the rights and interests of the owners and authors of the respective works. With the guidance of the government of India, the copyright society is vested with important powers that are made by keeping in mind the interests and benefits of the owners and authors. They can issue the license, collect fees for the same, consult the owner or author for approval of the collection of the fees, and most importantly, create schemes for remuneration of the Copyright literary work. Finally, include the authors and ensure that there is an equal number of owners and authors as per the amendment of 2012. 

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