The Indian entertainment industry has hailed as a historic decision the parliamentary approval accorded to the Copyright Act (Amendment) Bill, 2012, which strengthens the royalty claims of musicians, lyricists and those in similar fields. But at the same time, musicians feel the system to collect and monetise royalties should be put in place soon.
While Shridhar Subramaniam, of Sony Music India, opined that the policy makers should have also given importance to the piracy issue, musician Vishal Dadlani called for laying down a proper system to make the law effective.
"India's historic day in art and music, Copyright bill passed unanimously in both the houses in parliament. It's the beginning of big change in India. So many great musicians, writers, composers will bless this era even from heaven. India will witness great change in creative world," tweeted singer Kailash Kher.
The lok Sabha passed the legislation Tuesday after the Rajya Sabha had approved the measure May 17.
The amended law provides for declaring authors as the owners of the copyright for their creative work and that this right cannot be assigned to producers, as has been the practice till now.
It also makes it mandatory for broadcasters from both the radio and television industry to pay royalty to the owners of copyright each time a work of art is broadcast.
The law also bans cover versions of literary, dramatic or musical work for five years from the first recording of the original creation.
"The amendments will benefit every creative person in India - be it an author, composer, writer, etc, who has hitherto been deprived of his/her due so far. With this bill, the creators' rights are upheld and respected and the amendments are a positive step in the right direction," read a statement from Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF).
Dadlani of popular composer duo Vishal-Shekhar said: "The new copyright law amendment is a very welcome step and will benefit everyone in the music business (including producers and music labels whether or not they realise it yet). Before we get euphoric about it though, I think it's important to figure out and clarify the systems for collection and monetisation of the royalties that this law bestows.
"However, modalities aside, I would like to convey thanks to all the members of parliament who voted to pass this bill especially Mr. Javed Akhtar and Mr. Kapil Sibal for empowering the humble musician and writer with dignity and recognition."
According to Subramaniam, president (India and Middle East), Sony Music India, the bill could have delved deeper into the piracy issue.
"We are delighted that the composers and the lyricists will get a share in royalties. This was long awaited and we believe this will help the overall artist development and align us with global practices. We now need to wait for the law to be signed by the president and then begin the process of interpreting and implementing the new developments in a broad and consensual manner to develop healthy new practices," said Subramaniam.
"The only thing that we are disappointed with is not much has been done about the piracy issue that we all are struggling with and also the issue of statutory licence for broadcasters," he added.
Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya was confident about his personal benefit from the bill, but raised concerns about the distribution of royalty.
"It is a very good move but who will get how much percent of share is still a question. It will take some more time for this. But this new amendment is a very good step for me at least because almost 90 percent of my songs are evergreen. The loophole is that there will be a catfight among the lyricists, singers, music directors and others for the distribution of the share," Bhattacharya told IANS.
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