Valsad: The Copyright Board has temporarily brought down the royalty and licence fee charged by sound recording company Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) bringing relief to private players in the Radio FM service.
The board took the decision after detailed deliberation on six complaints by major radio players - Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd, Entertainment Network (India) Ltd, Millenium Broadcast Pvt Ltd and Radio Mid Day West (India) Ltd against PPL.
The companies contended that the royalty rate of Rs 1,500 per needle hour demanded by the PPL was unreasonable and economically unviable.
The complainants submitted that the PPL should agree to charge royalty at the rates comparable to Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), also involved in sound recording.
On its part, PPL said it was difficult to bring down royalty charges as its member companies were suffering losses.
The Copyright Board delivered the benchmark order fixing standard rates of payment for royalty during the prime time, normal hours and lean hours for two years.
The Board said that the standard rate of payment for royalty during prime time broadcast would be Rs 1,200 per needle hour and the rate for day time (normal hours) and for night time (lean hours) shall be at a reduced rate.
The rate of lean hours shall be 25 per cent of the standard rate and 60 per cent for the normal hours.
However, the Board said that since all FM stations have more or less the same size of audience on, there would be no difference in rates for different cities after classifying them according to their population.
The Copyright Board has said that the decision will come into effect from November 2002 to October 31, 2004. It has also asked the parties concerned to be prepared with balance sheets for the past two years by the end of October 2004.
The next meeting between the board and the parties to the case has been fixed between September and October 2004, to fix the reasonable compensation on the basis of available data.