Composers and lyricists to protest against HC ruling that says they’ve no right to royalty from radio channels
Lyricists and composers in the industry are very unhappy with a ruling that Mumbai High Court passed last week.
Composers also reduce fees, as they can’t refuse films with big stars
According to the decree, Indian Performing Rights Society Limited (IPRS), which safeguards their copyright, is not entitled to claim or demand any royalty or license fees from radio channels for the songs and music they broadcast.
Song creators say that this means there is no copyright in musical and literary work incorporated in a sound recording and that the music companies own everything.
According to Music Composers Association of India (MCAI), this verdict extinguishes rights of composers and lyricists, which appears to be contradictory to International Treaty obligations and even the Copyright Act, 1957.
Veteran lyricist Sameer says, “We don’t agree with this ruling. We are waiting for the Intellectual Property Rights Bill that will be passed in the parliament soon.” He further reiterates that the basics need to be cleared at the earliest.
‘The Copyright Act needs to be corrected first, to prove that the ownership belongs to us’ was all he was willing to say, preferring to save his arguments for a press conference scheduled later this afternoon.
Music composer Anu Malik firmly believes that composers and lyricists work very hard to create songs. “Royalty is an important issue for composers and lyric writers,” he states, explaining that if someone signs the rights for perpetuity for a certain amount, there’s a chance that he might get only that much. “The royalty ensures that the family can live off it.”
Pointing out the increase in avenues for music making money, Malik concedes that physical sales don’t contribute much to the revenue. He argues, “Singers also earn money from the shows that composers and lyricists can’t do. So though they have created a song, someone else is making money out of it.”
The veteran musician reveals that composers reduce their fees, as they can’t refuse films with big stars. “Who will refuse films with an Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan?” he wonders, stating that
competition sees the composers and lyricists slash their remunerations.
‘Music Directors Underpay Singers’
Himashu Bhatt General Secretary of Cine Singers Association says, “I agree with Alisha that singers are underpaid. It is a reality.”
“As per rules, the producer is supposed to pay everyone, from chorus singers to musicians, but due to some practical reasons music directors make an all-inclusive contract and pay them. They eventually, underpay singers and musicians,” he says.
“If a new singer gets an opportunity to work with a big banner or a top music director he may even work for free, but if it’s an established singer can even demand up to Rs 3 lakh.”
According to sources, music composers get around R 5 lakh to anything upto R 20 lakh per song, depending on the banner.
Established singers like Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan get around R 50,000 to R 1 lakh per song. Sonu Nigam is said to get the highest amount of R 2 lakh per song.