Phonographic Performance License

Under the Copyright Act, 1957, it is mandatory to take a phonographic performance license for playing pre-recorded music in a public place, irrespective of commercial or non-commercial nature of the establishment or event.  Any communication or playing of pre-recorded music in commercial establishments like hotels, bars, cafes, gyms, restaurants, offices, shopping malls, airplanes and taxi or non-commercial places like college campus for concerts, fetes, festivals, etc requires license from the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).

PPL grants license to television, radio, telecom companies and organisations for using pre-recorded music. Moreover PPL grants license to establishment for playing background music or in events. An entity or establishment should take a separate license for playing of music in events like concerts, stage, dance-floor, and even for brand promotion activities, shows, etc.


If any entity plays pre-recorded music in a public place without taking PPL license may constitute violation of Copyright Act and is a cognisable and non-bail able offence.

How to obtain a PPL license?

A PPL license for playing background and event music can be obtained by applying in an appropriate format with license fees to the appropriate regional office of PPL. License for mobile, internet, radio and television can be applied at the Mumbai Head Office.

List of PPL offices can be obtained here: http://www.pplindia.org/contactus.aspx

Public Performance License

Another license that is important for establishment where music is communicated through live performance by musicians and singers, for example bars, pubs, events like concerts, shows, etc, and communication of the live performance through broadcasting medium and mechanical means like TV, internet and radio. It is important for the owner of the premises to take the license where such music is played.

The Application form for obtaining the license can be accessed here: http://www.iprs.org/Forms/Live%20Performance%20Form.pdf and http://www.iprs.org/Forms/General%20Licencing%20Form.pdf

The Tariff for Public Performance License can be accessed here: http://www.iprs.org/cms/Tariffs.aspx


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  1. Hello, I have a small guest house with 15 rooms. I was approached by PPL officer & asked to take PPL License as I have Televisions in each room. I do not play background music in any public place or event etc.

    His only argument is that you have TV in each room & copyrighted music comes in that. Can you please shed some light on this? Is he right? Do I need the license or the cable operator needs the license? Is the officer trying to exploit?

    If asked for a law reference, he asked me to refer to this paragraph from the copyright act (which I wasn’t able to interpret properly):

    ‘(ff} “communication to the public” means making any wmk or perfunnance
    available for being seen or heard or otherwise enjoyed by the public directly or
    by any means of display or diffusion other than by issuing physical copies of
    it, whether simultaneously or at places and times chosen individually, regardless
    of whether any member of the public actually sees, hears or otherwise enjoys
    the wmk or performance so made available.
    Explanation. -For the pmposes of this clause, communication through
    satellite or cable or any other means of simultaneous communication to more
    lhan one household or place of residence including residential rooms of any
    hotel or hostel shall be deemed to be communication to the public;

  2. Hi, my doubt is if a restaurant holds a live stand up comedy show in collaboration with a comedy club, should vthe restaurant posses a public performance license or a photographic one. Also should the comedy club posses any license or should the performers require a permit?


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