The Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), a body that represents composers, musicians and lyricists, has accused Bollywood production house Yash Raj Films of unauthorised collection of over Rs 100 crore in music royalty belonging to IPRS members.
In response to the development, lyricist Sameer Anjaan, who is a member of IPRS has said that YRF has been flouting the copyright law passed in 2012. “Javed sir (Javed Akhtar, chairman of IPRS) called so many times, and they have not agreed to pay royalty so finally, IPRS had to take this stand. This is not an artist, author or composer fight, this is what the copyright act is. The composer or writer are not asking for money from their pocket. We are asking for money from worldwide rights, the money that they are collecting on our behalf,” he says.
“They (YRF Music) are not paying royalty for so many years since the Copyright Act was passed in 2012. From that day till today, they haven’t paid a single rupee to artistes and composers,” he adds.
The FIR, which names YRF’s directors Adtiya Chopra and Uday Chopra, has been registered with the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing under Section 409 (Criminal Breach of Trust) and 34 (Common Indention of the Indian Penal Code) and relevant sections of the Copyright Act. It alleges that the production house has “prevented the body from collecting royalties from telecom companies, radio stations and music streaming platforms by pressuring artists into signing illegal agreements.”
In May 2012, the Copyright Act (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha unanimously. The law declares authors owners of the copyright, which cannot be assigned to producers, as was the practice until then. Under the provision of the amendment, the music director and the lyricist will get 25 percent each in terms of royalty every time their music is sold, and the other 50 percent goes to the publisher/music company.
Sameer also alleges that “T-Series is the other company which hasn’t paid dues” to the artistes.
"“There is a percentage that they have to pay to us because from all the music companies, SaReGaMa, Sony... everyone is paying except these two companies (YRF and T-Series). So we were trying our level best, without any hassle, if they will come and they will rectify the matter. But they are not and finally IPRS has to take this stand.”" - Sameer, Lyricist
The Quint has reached out to Yash Raj Films for their comment, but a response is awaited.
Here’s What Will Happen Next
While the IPRS has claimed the rightful money owed to all its artistes is to the sum of Rs 100 crore, the police will have to ascertain the exact amount that is owed. A source from the Mumbai police has informed us that they will now record statements of IPRS members and then track down transactions by YRF to verify the amount they are claiming. “IPRS has been claiming that YRF has pocketed royalties worth Rs 100 crores but the amount could be much lower or higher,” the source confirmed. The IPRS has been asked to give names of the lyricists who have complained.
What is IPRS?
IPRS is a representative body of owners of music including composers, music directors, lyricists and the publishers of music (film producers and/or music companies/labels) and is also the sole authorised body to issue licences permitting usage of registered music within India. It collects royalties on behalf of its members for commercial use of music at radio stations, television channels, streaming sites and public performances.
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