Copyright Amendment Rules 2019

Posted On - 1 July, 2019 • By - Sindhuja Kashyap

The Department of Promotion of Industry and
Internal Trade introduced the draft Copyright Amendment Rules 2019 (“Draft Rules”) vide their press
statement dated May 30, 2019. This was introduced to adapt the copyright law in
light of the technological advancement in digital era and to bring them in
uniformity with other relevant legislations. The copyright regime is governed
by the Copyright Act, 1957 (“Act”)
and the Copyright Rules, 2013 (“Rules”).
The Copyright Rules, 2013 was last amended in 2016 and the present Draft Rules
are open for objections and suggestions.

Key Highlights – Copyright Amendment Rules 2019

In this Article we shall
discuss the salient features of the Draft Rules as follows:

  • Shift from Copyright Board to Appellate Board

The Draft Rules proposes
to replace the ‘Copyright Board’ with the Appellate Board which shall mean all
the matters being presently handled by the Copyright Board shall be shifted to
the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the members to be appointed shall
be as per the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. This proposal comes in
compliance to Section 160 of the Finance Act[i].

  • Digitization

for various applications were required to be served on the owner of the
copyright or such other person by registered post. However, the Draft Rules
brings about a medium of serving notice through electronic means as well.
Further, all grant of licenses and such other permissions or information as
were required to be notified in the official gazette are now required to be
published on the website, thereby making it more public friendly. The Rules
required the copyright societies to maintain the registers in physical format
at their registered or administrative office. However, the Draft Rules proposes
that every copyright society shall maintain the registers in physical or
digital format.

  • Copyright Societies

a copyright society was required to be registered by the Central Government
within sixty days from the date of receipt of the application by the Registrar
of Copyright. However, such a strict timeline is proposed to be deleted in the
Draft Rules, leaving the Central Government with a capricious timeline to keep
an application for registration pending for approval.

following functions of copyright societies have also been amended by the Draft

  • Tariff scheme

Draft Rules proposes to amend Rule 56, dealing with
tariff scheme wherein while the Rules required the copyright society to follow
the guidelines issued by any Court or Board and consult the user groups if
required while determining the tariff, the Draft Rules has brought in
additional guideline of considering the following:

  1. Cross-sectional
    tariff comparisons
  2. Economic
  3. The
    nature and scope of the use of the work
  4. The
    commercial value of the rights in use
  5. The
    benefits to licensees

Further, in case of an appeal against a tariff
scheme, the Draft Rules do not provide for any interim tariff to be determined
or paid by the appellant pending disposal of the appeal.

  • Annual Transparency Report

Every copyright
society is mandated to hold a general body meeting and certain documents to be
placed during the same. The Draft Rules had introduced a new document called
the ‘Annual Transparency Report’ (“Report”) which is required to be placed
before the general body meeting and has been dealt in detailed in Rule 65A, a
new insertion by the Draft Rules. The copyright society is required to draft a
special report for each financial year within six months following the end of
that financial year, which is mandated to be published on their website for
public review for at least three years. The Draft rules provide for list of
disclosures and information mandated to be made part of the Report. This is the
first time, copyright society have been brought under direct scrutiny of the
public and an attempt to create a transparent system has been made.

  • Royalty distribution

Copyright societies are responsible for collection
and distribution of royalties on the basis of the tariff schemes. The Rules had
for long failed to determine the process and dealing with the undistributed
royalty as collected by the copyright society and the same has been rectified
by the Draft Rules. The Draft Rules mandate the copyright society to keep such
royalties that could not be distributed in a quarter, to the authors or other
owners due to them being not identified or located, in a separate account.
Further, the copyright societies have an onus to ensure necessary measures in
determining the author and owner are taken and the relevant information of the
same are published on their website at the end of every quarter. In case the
royalty due to the author and owners remains undistributed at the end of the
period of three years calculated from the end of the financial year in which
collection of the royalty was completed, the Draft Rules mandate the copyright
society to refund such amount to the licensee within three months. It is
pertinent to note, any such refund does not limit the right of the author or
the owner to claim such an amount from the copyright society or the licensee
within the limitation period as applicable to such civil proceedings.

  • Voting Rights

Each member of the society was provided with equal
voting rights in general body meeting. However the Draft Rule proposes a change
in the voting rights which are determined and applied in a fair and
proportionate manner on the basis of one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Number
    of works and rights or set of rights authorised by the owner
  2. Duration
    of the membership
  3. Amounts
    received or due to a member
  • Performance

Rules provided that for the purpose of Performers’ society and performer’s
rights, performance included recording of visual or acoustic presentation of a
performer in the sound and visual records in the studio or otherwise.  However, the inclusive definition of
performance has been done away with by the Draft Rules and is left for a wider
interpretation. It would be interesting to note how the same shall be
interpreted by board and various courts in future.

  • Statutory Licensing on Internet Broadcasting

The Draft Rules have arrived right after the decision by the Bombay High Court in the case of Tips Industries Ltd vs Wnyk Music Ltd and Anr[ii] wherein the Court had clearly stated that statutory licensing under Section 31D of the Act is meant only for radio and television broadcast and excludes internet broadcasting. Further the Court also rejected the Office Memorandum issued by the Central Government[iii] wherein internet broadcasting was interpreted to be covered in Section 31D. This case was discussed in detail by us.

The Draft Rules have
attempted to replace the broadcast from being limited to radio and television
and has extended it to each modes of broadcast in rules 29, 30 and 31 of the
Rules that dealt with the issuance of statutory licenses for broadcasting.  The amendment is likely to bring a turbulence
in the internet broadcasting giving ample opportunities to claim benefit under statutory

Conclusion – Copyright Amendment Rules 2019

While the amendments and insertions are all made with true intent to adapt the law with the present technological advancement in the society, the concern only lies with regard to the statutory licensing and the broadening of scope there under. It is a well settled principle of law that rules drafted to any act obtain its power from that act and can at no point be ultra vires to the same act. In case of issuance of any such rules that are ultra vires to the act, such rules are required to be quashed as void. A rule must be in accord with the parent statute as it cannot travel beyond it.[iv] A Rule to have the effect of a statutory provision, it must fulfill two conditions, firstly it must conform to the provisions of the statute under which it is framed and secondly, it must also come within the scope and purview of the Rule making power of the authority framing the Rule and if either of these two conditions is not fulfilled, the Rule so framed would be void.[v] Further, where a rule is directly inconsistent with a mandatory provision of the statute, then, of course, the task of the court is simple and easy.[vi] This implies that if a rule is directly hit for being violative of the provisions of the enabling statute, then the Courts need not have to look in any other direction but declare the said rule as invalid on the said ground alone.[vii] It would be interesting to see the views of the Court in case of a dispute on the statutory licensing for internet broadcasting, in the absence of any amendment to the parent act but presence of a mere amendment in the rules.

Contributed By – Sindhuja Kashyap
Designation – Associate




[iv] Union of India v. S.
: (2012) 7 SCC 683

[v] General
Officer Commanding-in-Chief
 v. Dr. Subhash Chandra Yadav: AIR
1988 SC 876

[vi] State of T.N. and Anr. v. P. Krishnamurthy
and Ors.,
(2006) 4 SCC 517

[vii] ibid

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