The Screen Writers Association has written to its members, advising its lyricist members that it believes IPRS is now ready to function like a genuine copyright society of lyricists and composers to administer all their rights and to ensure that due royalties are paid to them; also, in the administering of all rights that belong to lyricists and composers.
SWA General Secretary Zaman Habib wrote to SWA members recently:
IPRS conflict has been going on for some years now, ever since music companies seized control of the governance of the organisation, leaving lyricists and music composers out in the cold.
After the Copyright Act was amended in 2012, it gave lyricists, writers and composers clear safeguards to secure and protect their rights. However, unwilling to give up their hold over IPRS, music companies also filed several cases against our leaders.
Now, finally the entire conflict has come to a resolution. We are in receipt of an official letter from IPRS, which confirms the following:
- IPRS’ full compliance with Indian Copyright Law by instituting changes in the Articles of Association (AoA) and MoA to ensure that lyricists and composers get an equal say in the running of the organization, and in framing its rules.
- The withdrawal of all court cases, which were aimed at keeping lyricists and composers out of the governing bodies of IPRS.
- The payment of an equal share of royalty as per Copyright Rules to lyricists and composers. And, equally importantly, all outstanding royalties to be cleared forthwith.
- The administering of all rights that belong to lyricists and composers.
It is our understanding that all these changes in the Articles and in the MoA have been approved by the EGM held for this purpose in February this year.
Given these changes, SWA believes that with its new constitution, IPRS is now ready to function like a genuine copyright society of lyricists and composers, to administer all their rights and ensure that due royalties are paid to them. SWA congratulates those who have fought tirelessly to reform IPRS.
We encourage all our lyricist-members to whole-heartedly participate in the elections in the AGM of March 31, 2017 and participate in the rebuilding of IPRS as their organization. Owing to the very unfortunate developments of the past few years, IPRS was seen as a society of very questionable motives, which did not work for all its members.
It is time for all of you to change that!
Assuring you of our support at all times. (Ends)
IPRS EOGM to appoint Author/ Composer Directors in all regions of India:
The IPRS is holding an EOGM on Friday the 31st of March 2017 at Bhaidas Hall in Vile Parle (West) for, among other things, the appointment of nominee directors of author/composer members, through voting by author/ composer members only.
An addendum to IRPS’ original notice of the EGM mentioned the following: Javed Jannisar Akhtar for the office of Author/Composer Director-Region-West; Aashish Dominic Rego for the office of Author/Composer Director-Region-West; Rajinder Singh Panesar for the office of Author/Composer Director-Region- North; G.V. Prakash Kumar for the office of Author/Composer Director-Region-South; Anupam Roy for the office of Author/Composer Director-Region-East; Sahithi Cherukupalli for the office of Author/Composer Director-Region-South.
Further, resolutions for appointment of nominee directors of owner-publisher members through voting by owner-publisher members only in accordance with article 24(i) of the articles of association of the Company include Mandar Ramesh Thakur for the office of Owner Publisher Director-Region-South; Rajesh S. Dhupad of Symphony Recording Co for the office of Owner Publisher Director-Region-South.
This is a welcome step purely and solely because a lot of lyricists and even music composers of yore are seeing bad days today and new and outstanding royalties will help them financially, the question still remains: Why should a producer, who paid a fair and agreed to price to acquire the creative element created by an author or composer, be forced to keep paying additional amounts as the author/composer share every time his (the producer’s) film or album makes some money due to fresh licensing or playout, across various pipelines, old, new and emerging, of content delivery? A journalist friend who thinks its unfair that authors and composers demand royalties, exaggerated to make a point. “It’s like the builder of an apartment who, once having sold it lock stock and barrel, would want to show up at your doorstep each year to get his ‘share’ of the appreciated value of the apartment.” The debate is as old as the first film song ever created for a movie or other commercial use, and the best thing would be to just include royalties in the standard contracts that authors and composers sign up with producers.
A sad story: This is a sad piece of trivia, but I must share it here: Years ago, I bumped into that golden-voiced and golden-hearted singer, Jagjit Singh, at Mumbai Airport. (Over the process of scripting, directing the packaging of his first ever studio concert on Sony Entertainment Television — in 1996, I think it was — I had grown close to the disarmingly and endearingly simple, beautiful soul, and we had remained friends). Jagjit ji was returning from Pakistan (Karachi, or Lahore) and when he mentioned Pakistan, I straightaway asked him if he had got to meet my favourite ghazal singer, the great Mehdi Hasan. He became sombre, nodded slowly, then told me he had been extremely saddened by the fact that the great Mehdi Hasan, who had been very ill for a long time, had been suffering without good medical treatment as he had been wanting for money. Jagjitji told me he had contributed 50000 rupees – I think he raised it through a performance there or profferred it as a personal mark of respect for the great singer. Being self-effacing and a truly decent soul, Jagjitji had told me then not to write about this, but now that both the great singers have passed on, I remembered this story in the context of how even the best names amongst authors and composers can come upon troubled times, and why it is imperative that society in general and music lovers in particular must work to see that the creators of the music that has resonated with our souls must not want for gratitude and resources.
So as I mentioned above, the best thing would be to just include royalties in the standard contracts that authors and composers sign up with producers. Let the IPRS and SWA co-author templated contracts that protect all parties in a collaborative way.
I must say that the Screen Writers’ Association has performed truly yeoman service for lyricists (and screen writers, of course), and one hopes that the Directors from amongst the author/composer community who get appointed to the IPRS, will keep up their efforts for the SWA members, especially lyricists, who often sometimes get shortchanged by film producers. That isn’t a generalisation, but I am familiar with several stories of lyricist-producers lifting struggler-lyricists’ songs. But let’s look ahead to better times for the author community now. Oh, and better quality of lyrics too, from them.