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[Note] 31D Does Not Apply to Internet Broadcasting, After All

There's been no shortage of vacillation over the years in trying to determine what the statutory licence for broadcasting now contained in Section 31D of the 1957 Copyright Act should, could, would, and does in fact apply to.

In the latest twist to the story, the Bombay High Court has said, in Tips Industries Ltd. vs. Wynk Music Ltd. (dated 23 April 2019), that the provision does not apply to Internet broadcasting in a case that deals with streaming music online. However, the streaming service in question also seems to allow end-users the facility of downloading encrypted copies of songs which they can access while their subscriptions are active, and the early parts of the judicial decision (from Para. 11 onwards) suggest that the contract between the music-rights owner and the streaming service do not use clear definitions, to put it mildly, to explain what is being done or what they intend to achieve through their agreement.

Whether the new 31D interpretation of the Bombay High Court is the last word on the subject is anyone's guess particularly since the April 2019 order itself is not the court's final decision in the matter. 

The tale so far: 

(This post is by Nandita Saikia and was first published at IN Content Law.)