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This past week one thing, a small but a very crucial thing was brought to the notice of everyone associated with the film industry in one way or the other, this could be an eye opener for all in the industry especially for the producers. The thing that I am talking about here is a kind of a day light robbery that is happening in the industry, more specifically, the Indian Music Industry.

This has come to light mainly after examining the petition filed with the relevant documents by Saregama, Universal Music, etc from which one could easily figure the business model of those times, especially from 60s to the 80s. So as per the documents, simply put, the producers of those days across India have produced the Sound Track (now known as Sound Recording) wherein they have struck the deal with HMV, Polydor (now Universal), EMI etc to manufacture the Gramophone record by giving the Plate (Sound Negative) with the condition that the Producer is giving the right to manufacture the Gramophone Record within one or two years, as the case may be, from the date of the agreement. This was because during those time only the the above mentioned Music companies had the technology to manufacture Gramophone records. This makes it quite clear that these companies never assigned sound recording work to the above mentioned companies, which they are now claiming unlawfully after all these years.

Further on commercial deals, both the parties (Producer & Music Companies) agreed that from the sale of Gramophone records, the producer will be paid X percentage as Sales commission (termed as Royalty) till the time Copyright exist or in perpetuity. Technically it’s the mechanical right deal on sales. But this doesn’t mean that the music companies are the owners of the sound recording. Continuation to this point, the performance right comes into play when the sound recordings are communicated in Radio AM , FM, TV , Internet etc as communication to public, and the producers, as per The Copyright Act of 1957, should have receive the X percentage of royalty promised to them. That means royalty collected from PPL & IPRS all these years, the said music companies should have shared with the producers. Now, if the producers received that amount or not, no one can comment on except the parties involved.

Now, it comes really surprising to me that none of the producers, be it Hindi film industry or the regional industry, have taken this issue seriously enough to just go to the respectable courts of India or file a criminal complaint or if nothing, at least file the recovery suits to claim the money which the Gramophone producing music companies have collected all these years or the least could have informed these significant occurrences to SEBI as most of these companies are listed companies in various Stock exchanges.

This is a kind of intellectual terrorism and clearly a day light robbery and I honestly hope that we as an industry can come together and tackle this issue and come out with justice for these old film producers and a favourable outcome for all parties involved. Today it is them, tomorrow it could be you. Let’s end it before it drags on even longer than it already has.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan

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