Ownership and Transfer of ‘Musical Work’ and ‘Sound Recording’– A Case for Service Tax

Sakthivel, M ; Agrawal, Anjali ; Singhal, Shiv


In the music industry, lyricists and composers enter into contracts with the cinematograph film producers for the incorporation of their work into cinematograph films. However, the ownership of such copyrighted works is dependent on the nature of the contract entered into between the parties and may lead to implications under the service tax regime. The Madras High Court is currently deciding the veracity of the order passed by the Commissioner of Goods & Services Tax and Central Excise, holding A.R. Rahman liable for paying service tax on the alleged services rendered by him. This paper analyses the nature of contracts that individuals like A.R. Rahman might enter into with the producers of the cinematograph film producers from the lens of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 and thereafter discusses the possible implications of such contracts from the prism of the service tax regime.


Copyright; Economic Rights; Musical Work; Cinematographic Film; Service Tax; Contract of Service

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