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Copyright Act: Rational Assumption Of Ownership Of Music Rights?

The baby is being thrown out with the bathwater. While the proposed amendments to the copyright act haven't been made public yet, the HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, after a meeting with a committee of film producers, lyricists, music composers and labels, has stated that the amendments will "ensure that authors (lyricists and music composers) will not be able to assign intellectual rights to the film producer." The reason: the prevailing situation in the film industry does not do justice to the creators of music, specifically lyricists and music composers. Sibal has said that the changes in the Act would be in accordance with the TRIPS Agreement on Intellectual Property Rights. There are two ways of looking at this - the first is that lyricists and music composers will be able to monetize their rights for the entire span of the copyright period, and will be able to also make money from usage other than the film - Caller Ringback Tones, public performances, radio, TV, DTH, IPTV, Mobile TV, Mobile Radio etc. This provides them with an income over a longer period of time, rather than a one-off income. On the flip side, one can argue that composers and lyricists own the copyright, and as owners of that property, they should have the right to sell it. This amendment to the copyright act can also been seen as a disabling provision, preventing artists from perhaps getting a lump-sum amount by selling the rights. Even if they need the money, they will not…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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