Saturday, Jun 14, 2003
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By Lakshmi Balakrishnan
Having lost nearly Rs. 150 crores to remixes or what the industry terms as "legitimate piracy'', a section of the industry is now demanding the deletion of Section 52(1)(j) of the Copyright Act that has reduced the 60-year-old protection of original works to a mere two years.
This, according to the industry, has led to anyone being able to get a license to produce version recordings or remixes just two years after the release of the original album by paying a minimal royalty of 5 per cent.
So while it may have given "Kanta Laga'' or "Piya Tu'' much time in terms of retaining its original flavour, new blockbuster songs have lost their shelf life, believes the industry. The use of deceptive photographs on the cover -- often duplicates of the original album or film stills -- has also added to the problem, by confusing the public into believing that they are buying original music.
The article also declares remixes as adaptations, which are not allowed. "This curtails the growth of the entertainment industry, as only popular music is often re-recorded. And since people can often collect the hit numbers instead of the entire album, they often don't buy the original album, leading to losses,'' points out Abhik Mitra of Sa Re Ga Ma. The only way to curb version recordings, believes a section of the industry, is deletion of Section 52(1)(j) from the Indian Copyright or the restriction of its use to only cultural and educational purposes.
Section 52(1)(j) of the Copyright Act confers deemed license by merely giving a notice and allows use of literary, musical and underlying works without the owners consent. "Most of these recording are done by new singers, who are in a way exploited too, since they are made to believe that they are being a good break by being allowed to sing the songs of stalwarts,'' points out a member of the Indian Music industry (IMI), a body comprising various music industries.
Made popular during the days of Gulshan Kumar, when T- Series under his guidance made a number of cover versions with new singers like Sonu Nigam, the trend continues. Also, since there is no acquisition cost to make version recordings, it amounts to proliferation of non-original sound-alike works.
Industry insiders point out that version recordings have a negative impact on the music industry as they not only cause extensive dilution of original works, but also cause heavy losses to the owners of the originals by way of loss of sales.
The use of identical labels or photographs on the cover is another issue that the industry believes needs to be tackled. Since it is impossible to keep track of all version recordings, licensees of remix versions produce much more than what they declare.
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