''It’s time to give creative talents their due.''
The proposed amendments envisage making a film director ‘joint author’ of a film along with the producers and giving ‘independent rights’ to authors of literary and musical works in films. Any right thinking person would welcome this, since it is the talent of these creative people that gives shape to either a film or a music album. The present lacunae in the Act can be best described by the example of composer A R Rahman. He holds the rights to all his compositions in the Oscar-winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ which means that he would earn royalty whenever a CD of the film’s music is sold anywhere, or a song or a part of it is downloaded legally onto a laptop, a mobile device or an iPod, or played on television or radio. On the other hand, he would not earn a single paisa in royalties for his large body of work in Indian films on sale of DVDs or albums, apart from the one-time fees.
This has resulted in music companies continuing to make money out of classic songs of yesteryears played and replayed on radio and even restaurants, while the families of the singers and composers are forced to live in penury. Understandably, the lyricists and composers are supporting the proposed amendments wholeheartedly. Film producers too should support them, since they will only have to share the earnings and not absolutely forgo it. Clearly, it’s time to give the creative talents their rightful due.