Music industry joyful with new rights
'For many years we all have been taken for a ride'
The Rs.740 crore (Rs.7.4 billion) Indian music industry is cheering the cabinet's decision to amend the Copyright Act of 1957 that will fetch royalty to composers, singers, lyricists et al.
Under the present act, all the royalty goes to the moviemaker. If the proposed amendment comes through, many others will be able to get royalty from the usage of their work in every broadcast medium.
According to the Ficci (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry)-PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) 2008 report on the entertainment sector, Rs.670 crore of the music industry comes from physical music sales. The rest is contributed by digital music.
"The industry feels very positive now and has all the reasons to be optimistic. We hope we will get justice," lyricist Javed Akhtar, who has been spearheading the move for years, told IANS.
A day ahead of Christmas, the central cabinet approved a proposal to introduce a bill to amend the Copyright Act.
Said singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan: "We artistes don't know the technicalities of every act. All we asked for was that what prevails internationally should also apply here. Otherwise we shouldn't be saying that everything is going global in India.
"The very simple fact is that if you have composed a song, if you have written the lyrics, the rights of the song should remain with you. This is what we pray for."
The cabinet move has been hailed by many in the industry including Prasoon Joshi, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pandit Hari Prasad Churasiya and Jagjit Singh.
Many of them had lobbied with Human Resouce Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal after explaining their problems.
Asked why they waited for so long to fight for their rights, Akhtar said: "We didn't know anything. What to do, who to tell, where to go? There was a high level of ignorance."
Echoing him, Mahadevan added: "It is ignorance. So many years you work and don't think about all this. We didn't know about acts, rights. Thus, for many years we all have been taken for a ride.
"Finally, when you get educated about a subject and when you go abroad and you meet people, you get to know about your rights."
Indo Asian News Service