The Delhi High Court has put on hold the interim licence granted by the copyright office to an internet broadcasting firm to communicate online the sound recordings of music labels Saregama and T-Series. Justice Vibhu Bakhru stayed the licence granted by the Deputy Registrar of Copyrights on April 10 last year on Saregama and T-Series' pleas challenging the decision on the ground that the Registrar of Copyrights lacked the jurisdiction to pass such orders. Saregama, represented by advocate Saikrishna Rajagopal, claimed that only the Appellate Board under the Copyright Act has the power to issue an interim licence. The central government also told the court that the Registrar of Copyright does not have the power to issue the interim license. "This Court is, prima facie, of the view that such directions had to be complied in accordance with law and thus, if the Registrar of Copyrights did not have the power to issue a statutory licence, no such license could be granted. "In view of the above, the interim statutory license, which is impugned in this petition, is stayed till the next date," the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on February 22. The interim licence was granted to a Punjab-based firm, Kuku and Koyal Internet Pvt Ltd, allowing it to broadcast on the worldwide web the entire repertoire of sound recordings of various music labels, including Saregama and T-Series. The central government said the licence was granted in terms of an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in October 2016. The Delhi High Court, however, noted that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had not directed the Registrar or Deputy Registrar of Copyrights to pass an order contrary to the provisions of the Act. "The Punjab and Haryana High Court had merely directed the respondents (Centre and Copyright office) to decide the representations of the petitioners there," the Delhi High Court has said. The petitioners before the Punjab and Haryana High Court had sought reconstitution of the Copyright Board.
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