31. Compulsory licence in works withheld from public.—
If at any time during the term of copyright in any Indian work which has been published or performed in public, a complaint is made to the Copyright Board that the owner of copyright in the work—
has refused to re-publish or allow the re-publication of the work or has refused to allow the performance in public of the work, and by reason of such refusal the work is withheld from the public; or
has refused to allow communication to the public by 1[broadcast], of such work or in the case of a 2[sound recording] the work recorded in such 2[sound recording], on terms which the complainant considers reasonable, 2[broadcast], of such work or in the case of a 3[sound recording] the work recorded in such 3[sound recording], on terms which the complainant considers reasonable," the Copyright Board, after giving to the owner of the copyright in the work a reasonable opportunity of being heard and after holding such inquiry as it may deem necessary, may, if it is satisfied that the grounds for such refusal are not reasonable, direct the Registrar of Copyrights to grant to the complainant a licence to re-publish the work, perform the work in public or communicate the work to the public by 1[broadcast], as the case may be, subject to payment to the owner of the copyright of such compensation and subject to such other terms and conditions as the Copyright Board may determine; and thereupon the Registrar of Copyrights shall grant the licence to the complainant in accordance with the directions of Copyright Board, on payment of such fee as may be prescribed. Explanation.—In this sub-section, the expression “Indian work” includes—
an artistic work, the author of which is a citizen of India; and
a cinematograph film or a 2[sound recording] made or manufactured in India. 3[sound recording] made or manufactured in India."
Where two or more persons have made a complaint under sub-section (1), the licence shall be granted to the complainant who in the opinion of the Copyright Board would best serve the interests of the general public.