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All you need to know about Public Performance License (PPL) in India

Written by:
Abhishek Sahoo
Published on

The concept of Public Performance License emerged under the Copyright Act, 1957. Under the act, the government makes it mandatory to obtain a performance license, entertainment license, and a PPL License in case of playing drums, music, recorded audios-videos in a public area.

The license is to be obtained for pre-recorded music being played in a public place, irrespective of commercial or non-commercial nature of the establishment or event.

The establishment include —  hotels, bars, cafes, gyms, restaurants, offices, shopping malls, airplanes and taxis or non-commercial places like college campus for concerts, fetes, festivals, etc. who all are obligated to take the license from the authority established by the government of India i.e. Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).

The Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) will grant the license for the operation and playing of the music on television, radio, telecom companies and organisations for using pre-recorded music.

Also, a separate license is required to be obtained by the general public, organisations or an individual to play the background music or in events by the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) including the special events like: - concerts, stage, dance-floor, and even for brand promotion activities, shows, etc.

It is a non-bailable and cognisable offence if there is an unauthorised playing of pre-recorded music in public places. Without the license grant by the PPL, it amounts to an offence. 

Procedure for Obtaining a PPL

The license can be obtained by making an application along with the prescribed fees to the appropriate regional office of PPL.

License for mobile, internet, radio and television can be applied at the Mumbai Head Office.

Head Office & Central Licensing Office - Mumbai

Other offices at: -

  • North: - Jaipur, Udaipur, Lucknow, New Delhi and Chandigarh

  • East: - Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Siliguri

  • West: - Mumbai – Dadar, Bhopal, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad, `Indore

  • South: - Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam

Need for PPL

Licenses are required whenever a person performs in public a song he did not write, or play recorded music in public, such as at a club, restaurant, concert, on the radio, or streaming online.

A public performance license is required no matter how small a portion of the song is used.

There are some exceptions where a public performance license is not required, like when the person plays songs that he wrote himself or songs that are in the public domain. 


The Indian Performing Right Society Limited

The work of IPRS is to issue Licences to users of music and collect Royalties from them, for and on behalf of its Members i.e. the Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music and distribute this Royalty amongst them after deducting its administrative costs.

The IPRS came into existence on 23rd August 1969. The IPRS is a representative body of Owners of Music, viz.

The Composers, Lyricists (or Authors) and the Publishers of Music and is also the sole Authorized Body to issue Licences permitting usage of Music within India by any person.

Composers are those who are better known as Music Directors, Authors are better known as Lyricists, Publishers of Music are the Producers of Films and Music Companies, or those who hold Publishing Rights of the Musical Works.

The Society is a non-profit making Organization and is a Company Limited by Guarantee and Registered under the Companies Act, 1956, now Act of 2013.

It was also registered under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, 1957 as the Copyright Society to do business of issuing Licenses for usage of Musical works & Accompanying Literary Works. IPRS conducts its business of granting licenses per Section 30, as the society is an owner of the copyrights, as per the assignment deeds executed with its members who are owners and have assigned the same to it.

In order to represent the rightful owners of copyright, registration is required as a copyright society under Section 33 of the Copyright Act in India.

Restaurants are still being illegally harassed for royalties on music played despite PPL & IPRS not being registered copyright societies.

In the wake of restaurants being subjected to continued harassment for music royalties by the PPL & IPRS, the NRAI clarifies that neither of the two are authorised to collect such fees unless specifically authorised by the respective artists.

National Restaurant Association of India

Founded in 1982 by L.C. Nirula of Nirula’s, Madan Lamba of Volga, O.P. Bahl of Khyber Restaurant, R.D. Gora of Gazebo, A.S. Kamat of Kamat Restaurants & other leading restaurateurs.

Headquartered at Delhi, NRAI represents Independent & Chain Restaurant/Bars/Café Owners and Operators of India.

NRAI has a pan India presence comprising of leading domestic and international restaurants, suppliers and educational institutes associated with it.

They aspire to lead the Indian Restaurant Industry in its growth by promoting and strengthening the Indian Food Service Sector.

The association works closely with a network of State and City chapter partners in Mumbai, Gurgaon and Bengaluru.

The NRAI has released the following notice:

The Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) and the Indian Performing Right Society Ltd. (IPRS) are no longer registered copyright societies under Section 33 of the Copyright Act, as is indicated by them in their letters to the Government (Ministry of HRD) through Registrar of Copyrights vide letters dated May 20, 2014 and June 20, 2014. PPL has been raising demands on members to take license for playing of music, quoting Section 30 of the Copyright Act as their authorisation to do so.

However, it is intimated that Section 30 of the Copyright Act does not in any manner grant right to PPL to carry on the business of granting license, without getting registration as a copyright society under Section 33 of the Copyright Act in India.

Therefore, no license fee is required to be paid to PPL and IPRS.

However, the owner of copyright would be entitled to license fee for the work.

It is open to the owner of copyright to assign his rights to a society registered under Section 33 of the Copyright Act.


Tariff Description: Restaurants, bars, lunch homes, coffee shops, dining rooms, lounges, cafes, office canteens, eating houses and all premises of similar nature 

Scope of Tariff: This Tariff Applies to the Public Performance of Music at Restaurant. 

General Conditions: This Tariff is subject to the society’s General Conditions Applicable to Tariffs and Licenses

Royalty Rates: The following Royalty Rates shall apply: 

  • For Performing/Playing of Music by way of Radio and/or any other Audio Medium/JukeBox (without any charge) Video Medium and Orchestra, the rate shall be Rs. 3,750/- p.a. per 500 sq.ft. (Total wall to wall floor area of the Premises) or part thereof.

  • For each additional sq. ft the license fee shall be Rs.8/- per sq.ftp

  • Where there is a Commercial Dance Floor / Regular Live band / Orchestra, the Royalty shall be twice the rate mentioned in (A)

  • For Performing/Playing of Music by LIVE/DJ means for which there is an admission charge, Tariff-LP shall apply

  • The Minimum Royalty under this tariff shall be Rs. 3,750/-

The Indian Performing Right Society Limited

General Terms and Conditions

  • All the users of the music (Whether Live and/or Recorded Music) should pay the licence fees as per the category of the tariffs. 

  •  All the Annual Licence fees should be paid in advance or within the stipulated time mentioned in the tariff i.e. within a month or as mentioned in the Agreement. 

  • All Licences granted shall be executed by/on behalf of IPRS and the licence so granted shall be subject to the terms contained therein and shall be deemed to be accepted by the licensee. 

  • If the Annual licence fees are not paid within the stipulated period, then an 18% Interest and 18% Penalty will be charged together with the Actual Licence fees. 

  •  With regard to Non-Compliant Licensees who seek to regularise past infringements / violations/breach of Society’s rights and licenses (including non-compliance with agreements, usage without a license, a penalty of 30% over the existing tariff shall be applied at the discretion of the Society; whereas compliant licensees will be charged the licence fees at a rate discounted at 5% at the discretion of the Society. 

  • On each anniversary of the Tariffs there will be an upward revision of 10%. 

  • All Royalties are exclusive of all applicable GST/levies and are charged in advance for the period of 12 months and are to be paid at the beginning of the period. 

  • While Licensing any Premises, the extent of audibility of Music being played/performed is material. In other words, even if the music is being played in a section of the premises, but is in such a manner that the same can be heard in other sections of the premises as well, the entire area has to be considered for calculation of the License Fees payable. 

  • Floor Area/Square Feet of the Premises means the Wall to Wall Area/Carpet Area of the Premises. Light & Heavy Vehicles shall have the same meaning as assigned by the R.T.O. Authorities. 

  • In cases of open shows/Concerts etc, Ground Plan should be submitted to avail the 40% Scheme. The application for the permit should be made 8 days prior to the date of the performance. 

  • Two passes should be provided for the inspection while applying for a License/Permit for the LP Tariff. 

  • All the Licenses issued/granted by the Society (IPRS) are for “Performing Right(s)” of the Musical Works and/or associated Literary Works of its members only. 

  • “Performing Right(s)” means and includes the “Performance” and/or the Right of Performing the “Musical and/or associated Literary Work” or Communicating the “Musical and/or associated Literary Work” to the Public or in Public, broadcasting and causing to be transmitted to subscribers to a diffusion service in the Territory, by any means and in any manner whatsoever, including making the Work available to the Public of all Musical and Literary Works or parts thereof and such words and parts thereof (if any) as are associated therewith including (without prejudice to the generality of the expression “Musical & Literary Works), the vocal and instrumental music recorded in Cinematograph film(s)/Sound Recording(s), the words and/or music of monologues having musical introduction, and/or accompaniment, and the musical accompaniment of non-musical plays, drama􏰀c-musical works including operas, musical plays, revues or pantomimes and ballets, videos, plays, serials, documentaries, dramas, commentaries etc. accompanied by musical & literary work and the right of authorizing any of the said Acts. 


Any Registered Society (U/Sec.33 (3) of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012) is supposed to renew their registration every 5 years.