Saregama India Ltd., one of the oldest music labels in India, providing the largest music repertoire across all genres and languages, which includes the top-recording artists of the past hundred years and some of the greatest names in music. Saregama India Ltd is a part of RPG global music has been on a litigation spree from last 3 months.

Dispute: Saregama has filed 3 different suits against its business partners, its customers and against anonymous website, presumably

First Suit: Saregama has filed a copyright infringement case against Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL), and Select Media Ltd alleging that Select Media has not been complying with the terms of the licensing agreement between Select Media & PPL. The core of the dispute however appears to be whether Select Media has the right to issue world-wide broadcasting rights for only India based broadcasters or whether it can issue such rights for broadcasters with a base anywhere in the world.

Second Suit: Saregama has sued Eros International Media Ltd. alleging the use of “Dum Maaro Dum” (from the hit seventies movie ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’) in “Rockstar” song (last year’s hit movie) for 11 seconds.

Third Suit: Saregama has sued Dishnet and a host of other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to block the websites particularly for hosting sound recordings belonging to Saregama.

Detailed Discussion:

First Suit: Saregama filed a copyright infringement suit in December 2011, against Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL), and Select Media Ltd stating breach of a contract copyrights license. PPL is a London-based United Kingdom music licensing company which undertakes collective rights management of recorded music and music videos for public performance, broadcast and new media use and thus it is a copyright society for ‘sound recordings’. Select Media Ltd is a company which has been authorized by PPL to act as a ‘single-window’ licensing counter for television broadcasters. Earlier television broadcasters approach Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and PPL for obtaining separate licenses to play sound recording and its underlying works such as the music and lyrics. But now IPRS has authorized PPL to authorize Select media to give content users a single license for the contents owned by both copyright societies i.e. IPRS and PPL Ltd. The subject of this Copyright infringement suit is the interpretation of licensing agreement between Select media and PPL Ltd. Saregama has alleged that Select media has not been complying with the terms of the licensing agreement and has been withholding information pertaining to licensing agreements and has also gained significant amounts of royalties.

The Saregama has two major objections:

The broadcasting rights should be in favour of India based broadcasters only with worldwide broadcasting right

The Select media was required to file the sub-licenses with the licensor being the PPL Pvt. Ltd. to ascertain the terms of the license.

Second Suit: In February, 2012 Saregama has sued Eros International Media Ltd., along with another party whose identity is not quite clear. Saregama has also decided to sue the distributors for the same reason. Eros isan Indian media and entertainment giant, involved in the production, acquisition and distribution of filmed entertainment across the movie theaters, on video and television, and in new media. The subject of the dispute is the use of song “Dum Maaro Dum” from the hit seventies movie ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ for around 11 seconds being incorporated in last year’s hit movie – ‘Rockstar’ and apparently without the permission of Saregama. Since, the movie has already been released last year so an immediate trigger for the present suit was based on the proposed broadcast of the movie on television and also its release on DVD, CD, etc. Saregama wants that the Eros must obtain a suitable license from it, if he wants to continue using “Dum Maaro Dum” in the song.

Third Suit: Before the Calcutta high court, Saregama has filed a law suit on March, 2012 against Dishnet and a host of other ISPs, to block a particular website hosting sound recordings belonging to Saregama without taking a requisite license for broadcasting the same. The website in question is

A couple of weeks ago also Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL), Indian Music Industry (IMI) and Sagarika Music Pvt. Ltd. have filed a suit against various ISPs such as Dishnet Wireless Ltd, Reliance Wimax Ltd, Hathway Cable & Datacom Pvt Ltd, Hughes Communications Ltd India, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, Reliance Communications Infrastructure Ltd, Wipro Ltd, Sify Technologies Ltd, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd, and BG Broadband India Pvt Ltd. in order to block website on the same reason as above. The Calcutta High Court has even ordered to block the same.

Court’s Decision:

First Suit: The court says that Saregama has a statutory right to file the suit which cannot be overridden by agreement and the cause of action could not arise entirely from the agreement containing the forum selection clause (A forum selection clause is present in a contract with a conflict of laws element allowing the parties to agree that any litigation resulting from that contract will be initiated in a specific forum) which should be resolved on affidavits. Court directed the Select media to prepare a detailed statement regarding the consideration received or receivable from the sub-licensees according to the sub-license agreements, relevant clauses relating to consideration and escalation of consideration, advance and so on in the sub-license agreement and breakup of the consideration for the Saregama’s works should also be included. Such statement should be prepared but need not be disclosed.

Second Suit: Court has ordered an in injunction restraining all the defendants from showing the said version of “Dum Maaro Dum” in the film “ROCKSTAR“, by deleting the said portion from the film. The rest of the film may be exhibited. The same exercise is to be followed in case of DVDs, VCDs, MP3s and other electronic version of the film to be sold to the public.

Third Suit: Court has passed an order of injunction directing the respondent ISPs to indicate the address of the website owner/operator to the Saregama. Court also makes it clear that the above order of blocking should be confined to the above website only and should not otherwise interfere with Internet service.


With technology, virtually anything can be copied easily and nearly perfectly. One way to combat potential copyright infringement is to occasionally do Google searches by entering some blocks of text and/or images from your work or you can even block the downloading to prevent unnecessary downloading from net. If the infringers have your work displayed or for sale on the Net, chances are you can find it. Then report the copyright infringement to the infringer’s ISP immediately. Depending on the seriousness of the copyright infringement, you may send a cease-and-desist letter.